‘Creativity on backburner’

Research is in but it never works, says veteran ad film-maker Prahlad Kakkar

p-kakkarHow do you think the advertising industry has changed over the last 25 years both in terms of creative and non-creative aspects?
The advertising industry in the last 25 years has become more structured. But the creative element has gone down. It has become more research-oriented, which has never worked for advertising. The research, most of the times, is flawed and the methodology adopted inadequate.
How has the advertising landscape changed with the coming of multi-nationals?
With the coming of multi-nationals, advertisers have started relying on research. Vernacular advertisement is gaining traction. And these are successful. More than 90 per cent of advertising is in vernacular languages.
Some people think the industry is not producing iconic stuff anymore. What do you think?
Most of the advertisements conceived in vernaculars are iconic. Take for example the Fevicol advertisements which were very successful. Even for a multi-national brand like Cadbury, the advertisement like “Pappu pas ho gaya” has been successful because it had an Indian touch to it.
Please list some of the significant campaigns over the last 25 years. Why do you consider them so?
Some of the famous advertisement campaigns in the last 25 years are those of Pepsi, Fevicol, the ‘Paanch’ campaign of Coke.
The reason for their success is that they are essentially Indian in thought. The ideas were rooted in Indian culture.
Do you think regulations are stringent in India?
I think the regulations in India are not stringent.
What’s your take on commodification of women in advertising?
This is a hackneyed question. The issue of commodification of women is raised by activists only.
What about advertisements like JK Lakshmi cement which feature a bikini-clad woman?
But it never worked.
When the Tata Nano was launched, there was an element of patriotism attached to it. Was the branding and positioning of the product responsible for its dismal fate? What could be done to revive its image?
By focussing more on the cheap price tag rather than on features, the agency messed up the campaign. It was wrong from the word ‘go’.