MAM

Looking for the missing creativity in print ads

As a society, we are more about width rather than depth today

https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2021/02/10/looking-ads.jpg?itok=7QEttWH3

NEW DELHI: Who says print is dead? It is certainly not for the advertisers, and many media planners will vouch for the medium. If you count yourself among those believein numbers rather than words, the latest dentsu report points out that despite the Covid-imposed shrinkage, print advertising amounted for 25 per cent of overall media spends by advertisers in India, earning a total of Rs 13,970 crore. TAM data shows that the Unlock period witnessed a spike of 4.8X in average ad volumes per publication per day. 

However, while print is not down and out when it comes to the matrix of reach, revenues, and media mixes, it is slowly atrophying in terms of creativity; lacking the brilliance of print ads of the past. And this isn’t just our nostalgia talking – the advertising industry agrees with this notion. 

Brands like WhatsApp are still purchasing jacket spaces, the BMWs of the world are putting their monies in the mastheads of national dailies, and two leading e-commerce colossuses are waging wars against each other on the “front” pages of leading newspapers, but most of them fail to evoke the good old feel of advertising that sparked emotions. Leela Chitni no longershares her beauty secrets in thoughtfully-crafted long-form ads (Lux), no one is looking for nude models (Johnson & Johnson), and no brand’s trying to make its white stand out (Tide).

While there are sporadic stabs at creativity, like the #ItsNotOk campaign by Truecaller, most brand communications have become transactional in nature. There are absolutely no attempts made to evokefeelings that earlier print ads managed to do, opines NihilentHypercollectiveglobal CCO KV Sridhar (Pops). 

“Today, print ads are more about gimmicks; buying a jacket or one of the many front pages of a paper. They are restricted to buying eyeballs and not inflicting emotions. The print ads of today cannot make a person laugh or cry, or angry for that matter,” he shares ruefully. 

DDB Mudra Group CCO Rahul Mathew concurs. “I do feel, as an industry, we’re losing our command over the word and interest in print as a medium. Today, print ads, either, scream like the point of purchase material or bore like pages out of a technical manual. Though the irony is that the print category, at most award shows, often leave me dragging my jaw across the room. Which also shows that creativity can flourish in print, but somehow we aren’t allowing it to,” he notes.

But what are the factors contributing to this step-motherly treatment of print medium?Experts believe that the key problems are lack of intent, good creative talents, heightened focus on alternate media at the expense of print, and the general structure that modern-day agencies are working on. 

“I think one of the biggest reasons for the creativity in print ads getting neglected these days is the disconnect between the creative and media sides of modern agencies,” says Pops.“Back in our time, we used to sit with the media team. I have worked closely with the likes of Sashi Sinha, wherein we could explain to the planner that a half-page ad will make better sense for the sort of creative we have envisioned and not a ten by two. They proceeded with the planning based on that and vice versa. Now, these two teams do not communicate at all. All of this eventually impacts the quality of work they are producing.” 

dentsu creative chairperson India and Taproot Dentsu co-founder & CCO Agnello Dias remarks that neither a lack of creativity nor a lack of investment in talent is to blame for this state of affairs – rather it’s about priority. “All hiring and rewarding seems to be focused on film creative talent which is not a problem but often it is at the expense of print writing. Why can’t we judge and reward creative talent for print AS WELL AS film rather than instead of it? Till a few years ago, most creatives were good at print and film, not one or the other,” he points out.

Dias also feels that as a society we are more about width rather than depth today, which has eventually resulted in creatives and brands ditching the old form of print advertising. “We want to see more and feel more rather than see deeper and feel deeper. Brands have always tended to find the shortest route between what they say and what sells. So it has a snowball effect and over time, one fuels the other.” 

In such a scenario, is there any hope left for the medium to retain its old glory? Certainly! 

Pops commends the efforts made by brands like Nestle and Croma who are making efforts to keep the true spirit of creative advertising in print alive. The latter is a partner with Times Of India’s “Power of Print” initiative, which seeks great print ads from agencies and takes the winners to the Cannes awards. 

For Dias, more efforts are required in honing new talent. “Read more. Ads. Books. Articles. The more one consumes, the more it will seep into your creative expressions,” he advises.

Pops suggests that the creative maestros of the past like Mohammad Khan and Christopher D'Rosario should be asked to lead the younger generation and teach them the craft of curating perfect, emotionally riveting print ads. And the agencies will have to take the lead in calling them on board as mentors. 

Mathew quotes his agency’s founder and creative powerhouse Bill Bernbach – “An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it” – to state that the need of the hour is to replace the idea with the medium and that will help every young copywriter or art director dejectedly looking at a print brief. 
 

Latest Reads

https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/shams-jasani.jpg?itok=vIroGOWP
Isobar's Shamsuddin Jasani joins Wunderman Thompson South Asia as CEO

Wunderman Thompson has appointed Shamsuddin Jasani as chief executive officer for South Asia, effective 1 November.

MAM Marketing MAM
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/img_21102021_162445_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=qSGhQQUx
Web Werks appoints Durgesh Pandey as chief finance officer

Mumbai: Data center provider Web Werks has announced the appointment of Durgesh Pandey as chief finance officer (CFO). In his new role, Pandey will be responsible for the management of all financial processes in India for all the legal entities, partnering in the formulation of the overall...

MAM Media and Advertising People
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/rahul.jpg?itok=kxcAPL1o
realme ropes in KL Rahul as brand ambassador

Mumbai: Smartphone brand realme has roped in Indian cricketer KL Rahul as brand ambassador to endorse its smartphone category.  Rahul will work with realme to help grow the smartphones category under the broad umbrella of product offerings, said the brand in a statement on Thursday.

MAM Marketing Brands
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/img_21102021_144519_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=hsqlOSny
Lintas Live wins social media & PR mandate for Bayer India’s Saridon & Supradyn

Mumbai: Digital-first creative PR agency Lintas Live has bagged PR and social media mandate for Bayer India’s consumer brands Saridon and Supradyn, after a multi-agency pitch. This comes on the back of Lowe Lintas’ win for the creative mandate of these brands earlier this year.

MAM Media and Advertising Account
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/img_21102021_143049_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=bjbQzys4
Wunderman Thompson South Asia elevates Tarun Rai to ED, strategic initiatives, APAC

Mumbai: After an illustrious 25 years in advertising in India, Wunderman Thompson South Asia chairman and group CEO Tarun Rai will move into a new role as executive director (ED) - strategic initiatives, APAC, effective 1 January 2022. Rai will report directly to Wunderman Thompson international...

MAM Media and Advertising People
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/img_21102021_131402_800_x_800_pixel_0.jpg?itok=m9Uoe6-4
Navnit Nakra to spearhead OnePlus India operations

Mumbai: Global technology brand OnePlus has elevated its vice president, chief strategy officer, and head of sales in India, Navnit Nakra, to the role of OnePlus India CEO and head of the brand for India region. As part of this new senior leadership role, Nakra will spearhead the company’s business...

MAM Media and Advertising People
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/img_21102021_131232_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=0zzHIthp
Good Glamm Group acquires ScoopWhoop, signals foray into men's grooming space

Mumbai: GoodGlamm Group, the parent company of direct-to-consumer (D2C) beauty and personal care brand MyGlamm, has acquired the new-age digital media platform ScoopWhoop Media. This is the second acquisition by the company in less than a month and the fourth big buyout for the group after The Moms...

MAM Marketing MAM
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/img_21102021_122748_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=8ED3Sqxs
Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal joins Unacademy's board of directors

Mumbai: Homegrown learning platform Unacademy on Thursday announced the appointment of Zomato founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal on the company’s board of directors. “Deepinder has been an advisor for several years and it was only a matter of time before that association transformed into a formal...

MAM Media and Advertising People
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2021/10/21/img_21102021_120452_800_x_800_pixel.jpg?itok=HktWm4uD
WayCool Foods appoints dentsuMB as lead communications partner

Mumbai: dentsuMB, the integrated creative agency from dentsu India, has won the mandate for the branded portfolio of the homegrown agri-commerce company, WayCool Foods. The account will be serviced from the agency’s Chennai office.

MAM Media and Advertising Account

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required