The Power of Advertising

R Jayaraman

Author: R Jayaraman

Date: Wed, 2016-10-12 12:39

I saw the TOI online today and my eyes almost popped out. Netizens, especially those with a funny bone, are seemingly getting naughty and imaginative. How else can you explain this ad in the Mock tail section? A dashing, coldish, cowboy type with a dabba of pan bahar! The moustache is classic Delhiwali, the suit is undoubtedly Raymond’s, the style of holding the dabba is Gabbarish, the face – of Pierce Brosnan. Of the Bond, James Bond infamy. The video, I believe, features Pierce, with a piercing stare at the dabba, followed by a slam dunk of a “Kolkatha Masala“ in his mouth, and spitting out the red stuff through the left end of his mouth, amidst a set of clenched teeth. Lalu could learn something from this stylish, new way to promote not only pan but spitting it out as well.

The way to promote products through advertisements is ages old. The first perhaps was the one featuring Lord Ganesh and Ved Vyasa, with a copy of the Mahabharata displayed in the background, with a blurb, ”Sitting cross legged is cool, you can write one lakh lines and more. Try it out, you will never need yoga”. The main theme of this ad is health (most appropriate for our times, and hence of public interest), the key actors are both giants in their own ways but both needing some help in the health area, and their co-produced product is one of the longest running storylines in any part of the world. And, to cap it all, the focus is on “Health for anyone, anywhere, anytime“. And the reference to yoga is politically correct for the times we live in. So just imagine what impact this ad will have on the Indian public waiting for new ideas. The power of an ad is in its characters, those with whom the public can identify. Ganesha is one such personality who blends himself into any number of scenarios, any landscape. You can see him in the streets of Indonesia, in Singapore, In Malaysia, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in the USA. Anyone can draw him, just like the line sketch of Gandhi. He is unique, the only elephant in the world with a human body.

If the public jells with the character then the ad is a hit. Such favourites are Amitabh Bachhan, Rajnikant, Narendra Modi, Pappu, Kejriwal, Lalu. However the overall character of an ad is not the sum of the charisma of the characters in it, it is the idea that counts. As Boeing  says, quantity, we can count, but  quality we can count on. So one must energise the pep of an ad through a message, subtle imagery, populated by well-known characters with whom the audience can empathise and thus synergise the whole piece. Into this scene we now have Pierce Brosnan, with a pan to boot.

An ad also needs to be current although the characters may be aged, not in the sense of elderly, but in terms of the time period they graced the public. Let me clarify. Mahatma Gandhi may be old in terms of the period that he trod this earth, but his relevance is still very much felt. One more aspect of an ad – it needs to be classy. Which is to say, colours which bounce off light, characters who are loud and crude (Dada Kondke, did you say), messages bad in language (like the dalaali of blood or mauth ka saudagar) do not a great ad make. In fact they actively interfere and also take away from it. So the next time you want to come up with good advertising, do read the Mock tail reports of the TOI and other papers too. That will enrich our ads and also tickle the funny bone; we need this nowadays especially after the aftermath of the surgical strikes.


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In these competitive times, Innovative Advertising, is a big tool for competing Brands to make a difference and leave an impression in the minds of the viewers. With so many Brands, selling similar products at similar prices, how does one get noticed, is a real challenge. We all love humor. And that is what is being used as the base of effective advertising. Few examples of such advertisements can be Make my trip, Happy dent TV Commercials. A good product with poor or un-noticeable advertising is of no use, these days. So I totally agree, that a Brand has to continuously evolve and innovate in it Promotion, be it through humor or celebrity quotient.

If I am not wrong advertisement have 400 year old history, since beginning of trading advertisement is playing a vital role by various ways. Why it is required? And after 400 year still it is vibrant way to market the product. Answer is mind of people, we have tendency to believe and follow what we are seeing. In last 40 decade advertisement change vastly from black & white printed ads to high definition multimedia ads. But this is not only reason, main reason in variety and advancement in theme. We love to see some ads, you must remember Dhara oil add, a cute boy and his expression of saying “Jalebi”. It’s not having anything special or celebrity or humours but touch the heart because we all love children and their cute expression. Now a day companies are playing with people’s emotions, recently Samsung’s blind girl add become very popular. Company it trying to say that we provide best after sales service but they campaign using blind people. It touch our heart and people may go for it. So in my views use of celebrity in ads may increase sales for an instant but people will not remember after some time. But emotional ads people will recall for long time and have an impact on sales for long time. Amul is one brand which cartoon ads are more popular than its product. In moral, advertisement are gone beyond humour and celebrity, new era is to play with emotions of people. Same thing has been highlighted by Renuka Mam in her article “Hard Sell, With Soft Heart” and i agree.

Dear Sir, This is really a nice article on the power of advertising. The way you have explained the Pan Bahar ad really tickled my funny bones. I want to add few lines on how advertisement has impacted our daily lives. Everywhere we go and everywhere we look, there are full of messages indicating how to do things, what to wear, how to live and every aspects of lives is taken care of. Today, we don’t have to look for things, but instead, ads will tell us what we need. That’s the power of advertising. Even we can see celebrities and sport star endorsing for inner wears, shampoo, soaps etc. The ad endorsed by Pierce Brosnan captured everyone’s eye because of the cast and style and the way it was shot. In other counties like Sweden, government have strict regulations to protect young minds from the bad influence of TV commercials. But, in India, government and regulators can’t do much as ads are a major source of revenue. However, thanks to few advertising campaign such as “Jaago re India” of Tata Tea which has a social message of women empowerment. In my opinion, consumer should understand the positive and negative impacts of advertisement in order to lead a healthy life. Advertising not only assists in choosing which product to buy but also makes people consume more. But how does it manipulates consumers to buy? It is pure psychology wherein advertisements creates an emotional response from the consumer and people start associating with the product. Take for example Maggi, a 2 min noodle. When I was in engineering college, I used to consume maggi daily because it’s easy to prepare and it gets ready within 4-5 minutes. Same is in the case of Coca Cola, Dairy Milk, Amul and many other brands which evoked a strong emotional response from consumers.

This very insightful article by Professor Jayaraman talks about brands and the power they hold on the customers. I believe that the 21st century has many choices for marketing communications to offer. Though companies still have access to traditional tools, such as newspapers, radio, and television, but at the same time, they also have a wide range of online tools, including social media. The questions here are how to make an effective advertisement? How to get the attention of the public? The article is presented with some very good examples. Jayaraman sir has rightly said that “power of an ad is in its characters, those with whom the public can identify”. Take for instance any advertisement that you can think of from the back of your mind and the one thing that will stand out is the connect it has been able to establish with its target audience. You are expected to get through to the audience and engage with them. We can take an example of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, he has been a popular choice of brands, which want to build rapport with consumers. His advertisements on the “polio eradication program” have been very successful. But over time I have realized that though the advertisements are sometimes a bit difficult to comprehend, but still, they are the only ones which are required to put a long lasting impression on consumers’ minds. In the end, I would like to say that the advertising trick in question here focuses on the benefit the advertised product is supposed to deliver.

Very relevant topic telling us why advertising is inevitable in today’s context. Advertising Technic is age old phenomenon to promote brands. Advertising helps to keep the consumers informed about whatever new products or services firm offers in the market at their disposal. It helps to spread awareness about products or services that are of some use to consumer and potential buyers. Finally, the endeavor of advertising, many believe is to sell. India is very large country, to attract the consumers toward particular product of service advertising is very effective tool. Now a days variety of medias are available to firms for advertising i.e. social media, TV media, Print media , outdoor media and so on. Now a days certain products, specifically targeting youth – Digital advertising become more effective. When done effectively advertising is an essential part of mix because: Advertising is the only medium you can control – i.e. if you want your message to hit on the particular day / event , this is the only vehicle you control completely. Advertising creates awareness for your content – The force that drives a great deal of conversion and trust building these days is educational content – e books, seminars and blog posts – advertising is a great way to help get that content found and consumed once you’ve gone to the effort to produce it. . Advertising adds credibility to your message –The perception that you can afford advertising is often enough to sell and resell prospects and customers alike and makes it easier to get attention for your entire message. Advertising allows you to target ideal customers only – Customized messages to a very select audience brings far greater connection Advertising amplifies everything else you’re doing – When you are using advertising to create awareness for your message you automatically create more awareness for everything you are doing. Strong & consistent advertising with product performance creates long lasting effect & sustainable impact in consumers’ mind. It block a slot in consumers’ mind. Take an example of Ambuja Cement – Company has occupied the slot of Giant Compresive Strength in consumers mind & become Ambuja become associated with strength. The product performance has enhanced the effect of advertisement & become new way “ word of mouth publicity”. Similar examples are Cavity with Colgate, Engineering with L&T , Home delivery with Domino & so on… Another aspect of advertisement is , with so many Brands, selling similar products at similar prices, how does one get noticed, is a real challenge. Every one love humor. Again Example of Ambuja Cement advertisement of “Bhai Bhai” & Khali’s House was liked & registered among consumers due to humor. Advertising not only assists in choosing which product to buy but also makes people consume more. To summaries advertising is most powerful tool , not only compel people to buy but also to consume more & that’s why advertising industry become most glamorous & one of the highest pay master industry.

I am aligned with the thoughts and examples shared by Mr. R. Jayaraman. I believe Advertising is one of the greatest tool with marketers, to motivate the customers to use their products. On daily basis the customers are bombarded with all sort of ads. The customers will definitely find some or the other ad even in a Public Restroom. The marketers have hardly left any area where the customer does not come across an advertisement. Advertising generates awareness among the customers. Marketers are using various techniques to tap the customer’s subconscious, they use the process of affective conditioning, which makes customers feel good about the product, for example if laundry detergent is to be sold, images of flowers, sunshine, babies are used. They also use celebrities to make an impact in the minds of the customers. I fully agree with Mr. Jayaraman’s views “ the power of an ad in its character, those with whom public can identity”. Celebrities have greater impact on the minds of customers. Advertising makes customers believe that buying stuff will bring them happiness. Few advertisements leave a long lasting impact in the customers mind, like I still remember the ad of Nirma washing powder. Advertising can be used not only to create demand for the products but can also be used to create social awareness among the citizens like on diseases (polio, TB), road safety, education, anti-smoking campaigns etc. Advertising can create a positive as well as negative impact in the society. For example children are the soft targets of marketers, ads of many sugary cereals encourage children to demand these products to parents regardless the products are good for them. Few advertisements may also create unrealistic expectations, for example effectiveness of beauty products, women are spending lot of money to enhance their beauty to look like the one who looks in the advertisement, bald people are using anti hair fall oils to regain lost hairs, people using fairness creams to look fair and smart. Broadly I believe that advertising helps the customers choose the right products from a range of products available and make them happy.

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Advertising is nothing less than Bollywood wherein most of the advertiser are selling the dreams to the customer in the name of their product. Every advertiser want their product to be unique and want to stand out of the clutter even though most of them don’t have any USP compared to the other available competition product. Pan Bahar is a classic example of it wherein market is flooded with branded and non branded pan masalas and every product claims to be the best, moreover from Priyanka Chopra selling pearls, Ajay Devgan selling Vimal and others with most of the best Bollywood celebrities it was a tricky situation for Pan Bahar. I believe that whatever Pan Bahar did gave them all the publicity, PR worth millions and also they took brand one level ahead by getting international star. Today brand recall is high all thanks to crazy and funny idea of taking Pierce Brosan. Best way is to create a USP or create disruptive creative to stand out in the clutter.

When I was 15 years old, I had first learnt about marketing and advertising. In fact I was so infatuated with this idea of creating an ad that I had made up my mind back then that this will be my profession. To me advertising was fascinating because of the amount of power it held. The ability to communicate with masses, to reach out to them and send a positive message that could change/influence someone’s life seemed exhilarating to me. After finishing my schooling I finally started working in an ad agency and I was sure that all my dreams of creating iconic thought changing ads would come true. But sadly what I was confronted with was a world where mediocrity was not just accepted but requested. Brands who did not want to take a point of view and wanted ads that were created based on data and not ideas and emotions. In a conference in Orlando, Florida, Brad Jakeman the head of Pepsi Co called today’s advertisement pollution and I could not agree more. He says “an we stop using the term advertising, which is based on this model of polluting [content] …My particular peeve is pre-roll. I hate it,” he added. “What is even worse is that I know the people who are making it know that I’m going to hate it. Why do I know that? Because they tell me how long I am going to have to endure it — 30 seconds, 20 seconds, 15 seconds. You only have to watch this crap for another 10 seconds and then you are going to get to the content that you really wanted to see. That is a model of polluting content that is not sustainable.” An ad is supposed to be story that is being told to the viewer in which the product plays a key role. Over the years people forgot about the story and only remembered the product. They forgot it was the story and journey that the consumer always related to, the relationship with the product was a by product of the first relationship. Today, advertising is about saying the right thing and mentioning the product and not about forming a bond with consumers. Its about reaching an X number of people by spending only Y dollars. This approach does not work simply because advertising is not a science, one cannot expect to put in a certain amount and get a return on that. Advertising is about creating a bond. One of the most iconic ads of all time is from Avis a car renting service. They were the second most popular car renting service behind Hertz so when they wanted to promote themselves they simply said that “we try harder, because we are number 2”. This was a huge risk, because you were spending money telling people that you aren’t the best. But what they did by doing this was form a bond, and the public responded. People understood what the brand stood for because it was honest and created a relationship. In today’s data and ROI driven safe world no company would do that, and due to their fear they miss out on creating a bond. And that is the sorry state of advertising.

Sir, this is an important article especially for a budding marketing manager like me. Many a times, I feel that companies lack the powerful ability to strike the right chord in consumers’ mind. This can be essentially related to the poor communications strategy of their brands. Today, we are flooded with many messages. Everywhere you go, you are told what to do, what to eat, where to go, how to go and so on and so forth. An advertisement helps us identify things we lack in life and asks us to aspire for an ideal life, ideal body or an ideal world. When this happens, a need takes birth and from there on our brain directs our purchasing behaviour. In India as you said the concept of advertisements has always been there. Paintings or writings on walls and stones indicate a form of advertising. Similarly we have relics of Harrapa, Mohenjo-daro indicating names in the form of some figures which essentially can be considered as a trademark. The earliest forms of advertisements was used for religious purposes. With the advent of foreign rule, we resorted to use the same for propaganda building. British settling and their rule brought certain changes in this industry. They wanted to popularize their products and hence started advertising for commercial purposes in print medium, especially calendars and newspapers. India has come a long way since then and is one of the fastest growing markets for this industry today. But what really forms the crux of advertising? Is it the central character, the story or the message? And I would like to take a different opinion on this. According to me it is the message that is most important in any advertisement. However for a powerful impact, the message has to revolve around a very good story. The characters are the players who may or may not be influential depending upon the product. An ad that has a powerful character like Amitabh Bachhan or Pierce Brosnan will lose relevance if it shows them eating some biscuits or chewing tobacco. So the story has to be apt. At the same time characters should fit that story. We have beautiful ads from Titan which doesn’t showcase any powerful personality but manages to attract the audience only because of its story. According to me an advertisement not only should be current but should also should involve the audience with its authentic content. A brand has to establish its credibility through advertisements. Almost all ads of today carries an emotional as well as moral appeal to further this goal of building credibility. Almost all of Tata products are advertised by using some moral appeal which showcases some relevant issue. They understand that today advertisement is not just about driving consumers’ needs but also is about building connections with the customers. The longer brands realise this mantra, higher are the chances for us to see more of Pierce Brosnans advertising for Kolkata Masaalas  Regards, Vijay Rajendran

Indeed a refreshing and fun to read article Jayaraman Sir. I totally agree with the point that a good advertisement should have relatable characters and should be appealing to the audience. I would also like to add some of the points, which I feel, go into an effective advertisement. If we ask any person to name a few advertisements, the prominent ones to feature in the list will be Nirma detergent, Ambuja cement and Fogg. Although all these products belong to different segments, their ads have some fundamental similarities. The first and foremost is that all of them are memorable. The elements of the ad, choice of words, dialogue delivery, imagery and the overall setting give the audience a rich and refreshing experience. Another vital aspect is the tagline. Be it “Dudh si safedi, Nirma se aayi”, “Tutegi kaise, Ambuja Cement se jo bani hai” or “Fogg chal raha hai”, the taglines ring a chord with the audience. An interesting observation to be noted is that all these famous taglines are extremely simple. They are generally a part of the colloquial language. Another trend which I have observed nowadays is that advertisements have now started focusing more on connecting emotionally with the audience. Snapdeal as a part of its rebranding campaign changed its tagline to “Unbox Zindagi”. They are trying to stand for values above and beyond the product or service which they serve. The process of designing the advertisement must essentially begin with the extensive study of the target audience. This involves identifying the current customer perception and needs. For example, generally, Indians consider foreign products to be superior in quality as compared to the Indian products. Keeping this in mind, the Aditya Birla Group launched and marketed one of its menswear clothing brand as “Peter England”. The important point to be noted is that Peter England is an Indian brand. But the marketers were smart enough to understand the customer perception regarding clothes of Indian brand and hence they branded their product with a foreign name. The result: Peter England is considered as one of the premium brands of formal menswear clothing in India. Suddenly I realised that the Suit which I had brought for my MBA interviews was of Peter England. I wanted to ensure that I leave no stone unturned in my interview preparation and unknowingly, Peter England was among the first names which came to my mind for buying a suit. Another vital aspect is humour. Imperial blue scores more than some other brands due to their humorous take on the male psychology. Their tagline “Men will be men” rings perfectly with the audience and is extremely relatable. Also, they have a lot of creativity in their advertisements. According to me, the most successful advertisements are the ones which have changed the name of the commodity with their product name. Colgate has become synonymous with Toothpaste and Fevicol has become synonymous with adhesives. These are amazing illustrations of the power of advertisement. In Toto, I believe advertising to be one of the most powerful ways of communication and unforced persuasion.

Looking at the title of the blog, I had anticipated seeing the components and examples of a well-presented advertisement but what caught my attention was the name – Pierce Brosnan. It was indeed a fun and insightful to read such an important point of an advertisement industry in simple yet powerful words by Jayaraman Sir. What I liked most about the blog is the contradiction seen in the usage of powerful characters within advertisements in older times versus legendary companies in modern world. As rightly mentioned in the blog, the characters are at the core in delivering any messages through an ad but the untapped arena that marketers are exploring is the disruption of thought process. I agree that a foreigner chewing pan masala and spitting it off through corner of his mouth indeed tickles our funny bones and people may find it out of the context to bring “James Bond” to promote Pan Bahar, but is there any chance to look through a different angle and to say that the component of “unexpectedness” or “surprise” of seeing Pierce Brosnan in such advertisements was the sole purpose of signing him? Nowadays market has become consumer centric in terms of developing products. The promotional campaigns make people realize about the need of these products or services in their life. Each firm competes in the market by leveraging the perks of human emotion through their advertisements and if a company can build a mystery, add some twists and carve out the surprise element with a meaningful message then your product is a hit. As we have seen in advertisements of traffic safety rules or virtual reality products which attracts people not only from the message that they want to convey but ‘how’ they build a story around it and let people anticipate ‘why’ and ‘what will happen next’. Nowadays this has become a trend upon which many companies have succeeded to expand their market shares. But does this surprise element always work? Do these characters always leave an impactful impression in viewers’ mind? We must say that it works with some caveats. While making an ad, two of the most important things to consider are – context and culture. Surprise and content does not work alone if it is being conveyed without grasping the nerves of your viewers. This also works in business and social presentations. If we look at the Pan Bahar advertisement again, we can see what might have gone wrong and what could have been done in order to be more effective marketer. The idea of selling pan masala in an Indian culture to people of urban and rural India does not go well by someone like Peirce Brosnan coming out as a brand ambassador. So to summarize, in today’s world, companies have digital media at their leverage to reach their consumers but to do so, the effectiveness of a marketing strategies should be re-considered as people are getting smart and can easily differentiate between a powerful idea that creates a need versus a hoax that leaves a person frustrated.

Interesting article sir about what an advertisement should do and that glamour do not always count. Advertisements have been around since the time of Egyptians when they used to promote sales messages and wall posters using papyrus. Since that time as technology has progressed, we have moved from writing to print, TV and now digital which has overtaken all other formats in terms of spending by companies. The consumer is becoming smarter day-by-day hence advertisements that used to show men applying deo to attract women, or fairness cream to become fairer are fading away. The advertisements that are holding significance today are those that make an instant connect with the target audience. All these promotions aim to talk about the insight or the problem the customer is facing hence it becomes imperative for companies to promote, address and show how your product deals with that problem in the 30-second ad slot. Another important aspect is the perception of the customer about your brand. Your point about advertisements having relatable characters holds true. Sometimes having celebrities tend to have a negative effect on the brand. They take away the focus of the product or the message it is trying to deliver. In pan bahar’s case, Pierce Brosnan has been associated with premium brands like Smirnoff and Omega watches hence his association with an Indian Mouth Freshener did not gel well because of his endorsement history. As a result, all the flak that the campaign received was for the ambassador and the brand lost relevance. An example of an ad campaign that comes to my mind that is relatable and has a simple message will be the Dove Real Women Campaign. They feature non-actors in their advertisements trying out their products that establish a connection with the audience instantly. The Flipkart ad campaign featuring kids is also an interesting example that takes a jab at how our elders become conscious of buying online. It directly targets the family value we Indians so cherish hence it makes the advertisement so effective and serves the message of promoting e-commerce in the country. Advertisements today now also aim to build customer relationships and also have a social appeal to them as well. The TATA tea “Jago Re” campaign is a good example in this aspect. It doesn’t feature any popular actors but targets an emotion and issues plaguing our society. Consumers now want to be associated with such initiatives because they want to contribute to it. The character and the message both go hand-in-hand for a successful ad campaign. The brand has to understand the consumer's expectations, their problems and who can be a representative of their brand that can be related to solving that problem. The better brands understand their target audience, the more relevant and successful will be their advertisement campaigns.

Thank you Jayaraman sir, for succinctly explaining the power and importance of advertisements in today’s world. Intense competition in the marketplace today has pushed the limits of creativity of the people who make advertisements. We have seen a multitude of ads some of which induce a sense of humour, some which subtly criticise their competitors and others which appeal to the logic and emotion of the viewers. A potpourri of the above mentioned factors is often required to grab the attention of the customers. The area of marketing and advertising has been studied rigorously by many experts and effective advertising is often seen as boon. Establishing the connect with the audience and understanding their mentality is the main area which one must focus on. Virat Kohli , has featured in a number of Manyavar( a men’s ethnic wear brand) ads in the recent times. Manyavar has identified that the urban class today will not buy ethnic clothes for daily use and hence they felt the need to position themselves differently. Virat says that every Indian deserves to wear rich, ethnic clothes for the different festivals and occasions we celebrate in India. In my opinion this advertisement has been successful in achieving the purpose it sets out for itself. Firstly, because it has Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador and more importantly it instantly connects with the Indian audience as we celebrate our festivals with great pomp and show. Sometimes advertisements beautifully capture the essence of the product which the consumer is being offered. Royal Enfield advertises its bikes as ‘Made like a gun’ and rightly so because an Enfield is known for rawness and its gun like sound. Advertisements can also act as a bane if not utilized effectively. Sometimes, as advertisers we assume that our consumers are docile and bereft of any intelligence. Advertisements should not be too ‘pushy’, instead it should lead the consumer to your product. An advertisement which is too ‘in your face’, can actually act as a deterrent for the consumer. If an educational institution repeatedly harps about the fact that it is the number one, an aspirant would actually start wondering if applying to the that institute is a good choice. In the days to come, we shall see that advertisements are going to see a world of change. With most of the things going digital, the days are not far when all the advertisements move to that space. In the days of yore, the sellers did not have too many insights about the customer and hence the advertisements were more or less generic. With the explosion in the field of data and analytics, sellers now have the data pertaining to each customer. They have a deep understanding about what a consumer is looking out for and what are the parameters he or she uses to gauge a product. Advertisements in the digital space today are becoming more and more personalised and truly the power of advertising is going to grow in leaps and bounds in the times to come.

There is a saying, “A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to it.” Prof. Jayaraman had justified it very well. I would like to call it more as an ‘observation’ rather than ‘article’. In today’s world, you can only judge the advertised product after completion of its 75% of the ad. The advertisement today has nothing to with the product. As the author talked about ‘Pan Bahar’, the focus was definitely on Mr Bond and what he is consuming, rather than what is Pan Bahar? The question is, did he really consume Pan Bahar? That’s why I would call advertising ‘A Legalized Lying’. As the author said, ‘ad must be classy’, ‘Marlboro’ is the epitome of this. In the days when other cigarette brands showed that their cigarette is harmless, it had extra filters, high-quality paper and other endless things, ‘Marlboro’ went out of the box. It just showed an old cowboy with a classic hat & beautiful girl, smoking Marlboro. That’s it. This ad after releasing raised its market share 65% more. The only reason being is people inferred smoking Marlboro as ‘Classic & Swag’. This shows us ‘The power of advertising’. Advertising is inevitable and to make it successful you need to keep experimenting. In today’s world the main source of earning is an advertisement and what an irony, no one wants to see the ad. The advertisement has reached another level than it was a decade ago. Even the 5 seconds ad can be made impactful (Swiggy, Uber’s ad on youtube). In the Flipkart’s Billion Day Sale ad where they portray kids as adults, it too had a great impact. It registered those kids as a notification of ‘Sale’ in people’s mind. When we get to see a few seconds of those kids, ‘Sale’ pop-ups in our minds and that too of Flipkart’s. And as the author said advertisement is more of humour these days, stands correct.

This is 2018 where perceptions become thoughts, thoughts become ideas, ideas become words which In-turn leads to actions. In today’s world, the advertisement has become a weapon which is even more lethal than any nuclear weapon that can exist. The major reason is that wrong choice of words, incorrect interpretation can affect and harm far greater population than any bomb can have. The type of advertisement a company chooses ultimately decides which segment of people will eventually be affected by that product. Not necessarily, the advertisement needs to be talking about the product advantages or the services offered but sometimes the product can be totally different from the ad. shown on the TV. As long as, the customer is able to associate himself/ herself with the TV advertisement, he/ she will buy the product. A type of positioning through such advertisement can be based on the product user. A common example can be the ad of Thums Up “Aaj kuch toofani krte hai”. The ads of Thums up targets the youth and majorly talks about the courage which has nothing to do with the product they are selling. Not just in the commercial market, but also the politicians have started capitalizing the power of advertisement to manipulate the general public. As said above, the customers which associate themselves with the statement tend to believe it, without actually looking at the true facts The power of advertisement over the year has grown and have now become so evident that various govt. have now started taking stringent actions against the privacy breaches which are one of the prime sources of fake news (incorrect advertisement). Various organizations are using this data to their advantage in manipulating the thoughts of the general public. General population has become the prime targets of such advertisements and they knowingly or unknowingly develop certain ideas leading to surprising results. Few famous instances are Brexit (withdrawal of UK from the European Union) and the election of Donald Trump in the US.

Advertisements are a like beautifully cooked dish, however in the Indian context what is the dish without the masala? This blog by R Jayaraman sir tries to find the masala of advertisements. Who would have thought that Pierce Bronson would one day end up selling Pan Masala, that too thinking that it was a health product! The world of advertising thrives on ideas that stick, in this case it was the idea of Pierce Bronson selling Pan Masala that got everyone talking. The ideas may vary, and so may the focus in each advertisement. But what remains constant in this tussle for eyeballs is the relatability of the context with the consumer. We may call on all the big names as much as we want but if the idea and context aren’t relatable with the consumer then the ad won’t work. These days’ advertisements in India have taken the form of a short story, this is being done as an attempt to emotionally connect the consumer to the product. Emotions serve as yet another ingredient for our dish. Who can forget the iconic Google Partition advertisement that had everyone in tears? It was a moving ad in which two friends were reunited by their grandchildren using Google. The use of emotions by Indian ad makers compliment your narrative that being loud and crude does not guarantee, that you get your message across. In fact it may end up being counterproductive most of the time. Being classy and subtle is the way forward when it comes to showcasing your idea and narrative. This masala however is to be used with caution, because at times it may end up creating a false impression of the product which is undesirable. Ethics in advertising, just like everything else in life matters a lot. While short and naughty ads continue to tingle our funny bone, it’s the ads with substance that seem to be making waves in India. The masala of advertising consists of various spices that I have discussed, but I do believe there are some that are yet to be discovered. These discoveries sure will help enhance the taste of the dish, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of ethics.

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Bhavan's Campus
Munshi Nagar | Dadabhai Road,
Andheri West | Mumbai - 400 058, India Reception: +91 22 61454200
Delhi Centre
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Campus, 
3rd Floor Gate No. 4, Copernicus Lane
Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi-110001
Telephone: 011-23073121, 011-23006871
Direct Line: 011- 23383563

Link to SPJIMR Location Google Map