Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A maiden journey to the advertising world

Session by Mr. Mohan Menon, Former Executive Director, Ogilvy & Mather, Governing Council Member and Chairman – Marketing & Marketing Communications Varsity, Chennai Business School

I used to sit before the television for NDTV‘s nine ‘o’ clock news, as a religious routine, which perhaps gives me a deep sleep with the smug that I am conscious of the world around me (Some times the news stories give sleepless nights, which is another issue!!) !!!! Some months back, Just before the end of the 30-minute news, a simple news item grabbed my attention. A young school boy from Delhi mourning over his loss after his recent encounter with a thief. I was curious in knowing what could have annoyed this little kid; His pug was taken away by two unknown bikers when he was playing with the it outside his home!!!!! … I was amazed to know that lot of pug thefts has been registered since the previous month due to an increasingly huge demand for that dog!!!! …I was frozen for a moment with the fact that it’s because of the HUTCH commercial which is featuring pug!!!

“Wow!!!! How much powerful the ad must have been to create a tremendous awareness, not only for the brand being advertised, but also a craze for a not so beautiful breed of dogs!!! . How it’s been possible to hook the attention of the common man within 15 seconds and register the brand before 60 seconds … How it is possible for some one to bring the metaphor of a dog to a telecommunication network and clip that in the mind of a consumer successfully? ….

To get it from the horse’s mouth, I was waiting for our first session on Marcom, especially advertising, from one of the best creative minds of the Indian advertising industry, Mr. Mohan Menon, Former Executive Director, O&M, who is also the Chairman of Marketing & Marketing Communications Varsity at CBS

Straight away telling us that he is from a world of Out-of-the-Box thinking, he started the session with a question “What are the different teams of an ad agency that are involved in a Television commercial “, starting with our opinions and preliminary knowledge rather than a classic style ‘take-it-from-me” gyan. At once came a shouting reply “Creative team” from all the students in unison … he smiled and questioned us “Then what?..., “client servicing”, a voice from the back desk received the appreciation from him … Again one more smile from him followed by “what else?...”, there was a moment of silence, then we were introduced with Account planning and its significance in creating an ad with consummate knowledge of consumer behavior.

As the session was flowing with various aspects of advertising industry and its work, a question on “celebrity endorsement “ was raised by a student and the next immediate moment the class room become a battle ground and students got polarized into two heavy artillery units firing at each other regarding the pro’s & con’s of celebrity endorsement

Mr. Menon made himself as an unperturbed moderator during the tug of war between the students .After seeing the boundless enthusiasm from students, he intervened and explained the nuance of success and failure of celebrity endorsement, which paved us to understand, what are the phenomenal attributes that needs to be considered when choosing a brand ambassador for a product/service and what are all it’s after-effects on the brand in the market.

After his views on celebrity endorsement and just before his departure, he stunned us with a question “How many of you think you are a brand”… he continued, “We all are projecting ourselves as a brand in life many a times but unknowingly!!!! We brand ourselves with our earnest virtues like sincerity, honesty, diligence, intelligence, creativity etc ...” He left us with the message “we too are brands in this world” … yes, the onus is now on us to brand ourselves, build the positive attributes and manage it well to shine better in the business market ! The whole agency business and the concept of branding was astonishingly given to us in a capsule and that too in a matter of 3 hours… what an incredible afternoon it turned out to be. In the meanwhile, Hutch has become Vodafone and whatever happened to the brand, the pug still follows!!!! Power of creative advertising as they say ….we had a brilliant glimpse of it with the help of Mr. Menon.

Contributed by Arun Saravanakumar, Marcom Varsity

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