Monday, May 26, 2008

The wrong road home

90 kmph on a burning yellow night. You can hear your heartbeat within your helmet. The roar of the engine has faded into oblivion somewhere at the back of your mind. You hear it no more. Only the halogen lamps that tower like old wise men with lamps above the road ahead of you and the occassional whizz of the cars you speed past meet your mind.

You speed ahead of yourself. Your mind reaching for further limits than your machine. Stopping dosent even occur. The road ahead seems calling. Maybe a turn or two here and you shall be home. Turning, out of the question. You've missed that turn a few kilometres ago.

Blink. The yellow is gone. A darkness fills the road. Only the beam of your machine is what leads the road ahead. Crusing the highway. A few metres at a time. A cold rush now meets your skin. The moonlight soothes you in a way that makes you decelerate. But you don't feel the need for speed no more.

There are trees here. Like old men guarding what's left to be swallowed by the encroaching concrete jungles. The moonlight silhouttes them. They whisper onto the road. You crise on slowly trying to hear them speak maybe. You hear nothing but maybe that what feels like peace.
It's pitch dark. But for the few lonely lights that share the same road.

You are on the wrong way. You keep going on. Quite a few miles away from your destinatation. But this darkness feels like home.

Maybe i've known this feeling before. The crossing of boundaries between the wrong and the right. Like losing yourself is really finding yourself. Like what's wrong is truly right.

Like taking the wrong road... home.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Oh! That's Advertising! - Part 1

When people ask me what do i do - I say 'I help great services sell great'. That's me. Im a copywriter/advertiser. A creative thinker. But more than anything else, if i had to speak for myself, i'd say im a MARKETER.

Im not the advertising guy who believes great creativity is the same as great advertising. Im the kind of creative idiot who dosent hold 'creativity' awards in great regard. Im the kind of buffoon who is more concerned about using creativity as a TOOL to garner business rather than vice versa.
Im the creative dumb who loathes scam ads - the ones they release just to bag awards, im the fool who'd rather win over a client or a business award than win an award that displays my skill at convincing my client to dump his money into releasing shit that would never attain any of his business objectives.
That's me. And that's MY world of advertising. The kind i've learnt from my idol - the late great Albert Lasker. And quite a bit from the man i consider my godfather in this Industry - Mr. Rajesh Makhija.

But then hello. Welcome to the real world. Im but one guy.

Thanks to a gazillion awards shows and the great media rape (don't get me started on that one unless there's time) advertising has evolved - just the way we humans have - its 'evolved' into something more complicated, more refined AND MORE SHALLOW than ever before.

A million new avenues have opened up. Almost every part of people's lives is now touched by the persuaive charms woven by advertising creatives. TV, radio, billboards, paper cups, buses, bus tickets, door handles, mail, more mail, events, dishes, railways, airways, freebies, pay-bies - and what not and what so ever! Almost every thing that now touches your consciousness is likely to have a BRAND behind it.
There are a million brands. A million brand wannabes. And a million agencies promising them their exclusive BRAND status in the minds of the people who are almost zombiefied by the inflow of BRANDED stimuli on their half dizzy conciousness.

What aspect of a creative makes the difference between finding and maintaining that space in the consumers conciousness and just flickering away into oblivion is just one thing - the perception of 'CREATIVITY'.
There are three ways to go about it:
1. Creativity is everything.
Creativity is god. All we do should be creative creative. Wow! whoa! Great etc etc.

2. Business communication is everything.
Stats. Facts. Explanations. Convincing. Profit - loss. This that. I'm better so buy me. Creativity can go take a hike. And so on.

3. Creativity is the Tool.
Business is the objective. Creativity is the lever to set the displacement in the right direction. Garner your business with a spoon called creativity. Creative - Business. Business - Creative.

The first perspective is what often bags some brilliant cannes, one shows and great ad awards et al. It stands out. It amuses. It creates an impact and How! Unfortunately, often many of them take the business nowhere. Look back at history and you shall find some brilliant campaigns. Look a little ahead and you shall find how badly they failed. (some of the companies that released them probably got erased out of existence over time.)

The second perspective is what gets and ad lost like a needle in the haystack. Like just another ad. Like just another hawker screaming to sell his wares. In a world where its proven that men are looking for heuristics (mental shortcuts) to reach decisions, this perspective provides just the opposite! What do you expect?

The third perspective is that what makes advertising a true art. It's the perfect balance. It's the yin and yang. It's what results in the kind of advertising that allures and seduces you with such finesse, it almost seems effortless.
It stands out. It connects. It convinces. And it's trust worthy.
This is the perspective that often wins an award called the EFFIES. (damn i love it!)
And this is the perspective that advertising is truly about.
This is the perspective that has the potential to win a CANNES GOLD as well as an EFFIE GOLD. (just for the record - only 2 campaigns have ever done that, and rightfully so - 1. 1984 and 2. Dove 'Evolution')
Simply speaking, 'creativity as a tool' is the perspective that got Tom Sawyer an Apple in exchange for the 'fun' experience of painting a fence.

Aint it?

for now, shall leave it here... shall discuss a little more in the next segment. Do keep your comments flowing in if there's anything you'd like to discuss.

- Pushkaraj Shirke

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