The Ad Effect


“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” –  Steuart Henderson Britt

Here is a look into the how, what, why of advertising and the impact it has on our lives.

A – Appellation

“The secret of all effective originality in advertising is not creation of new tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.” – Leo Burnett

It’s all in the name. Advertising is not only aimed at building brand recognition but differentiating the product by creating a distinct identity for the product. I feel this commercial very innovatively personifies wind energy and just not portrays it as a mere service.

D – Determination

“I do not read advertisements – I would spend all my time wanting things.” – Franz Kafka

Advertising is directed to achieve a firm purpose, which is to create a want…a desire. It’s based on a conviction to drive people towards things that they sometimes don’t need, but most times towards things that they never imagined could exist. It is a definitive attempt at making people believe the impossible.

V – Variation

“In advertising not to be different is virtually suicidal.” – William Bernbach

It’s not about good or bad in advertising, it’s about being different. In advertising, it’s easy to be predictable; it’s only when you put something different on the plate that gets you noticed.  The ad by Guardian is brilliantly crafted, by re-imagining a popular fairy tale to demonstrate the concept of open journalism. It’s a known story that has been delivered differently.

E – Emotion

“Sometimes there is simply no need to be either clever or original.” – Ivan Chermayeff

It’s not what you say; it’s the way you say that matters. Advertising is not merely aimed at circulating information but in creating a relationship. Strong advertising is one that has a lasting impression on its viewers. Choosing an emotional route as part of the ad strategy has become a widespread approach, the ultimate, unfailing emotional stratagem being that of a bond between a mother and child as chosen by Procter and Gamble in this ad.

R – Recognition

“Many small things have been made large with the right kind of advertising.” – Mark Twain

Brand perception is important for brand reception, which can be achieved only through the right kind of advertising. ‘I am Mumbai’ is a powerful campaign representing the daily tabloid by the Times Group, Mumbai Mirror, as a platform for the voice of the people.

T – Temptation

“The best advertising should make you nervous about what you’re not buying.” – Mary Wells Lawrence

Clearly, the main motive of advertising is to create a temptation for the product. Its aim is make you long for something that you don’t have and make you believe that there is nothing better than that product. Temptations are derived from the weaknesses of the target group. Such as in the case of Axe, which portrays its product as a chick magnet with an intention to tempt men; by making the men feel irresistible to buxom beauties once they have used the product.

I – Innovation

“Fear is the mortal enemy of creativity.” – Alex Bogusky

Innovation is the father of mankind. The world is constantly changing and so are the expectations. Conquering fear and taking a risk is the biggest step taken by a creative mind. It’s difficult to continuously think out-of-the-box or come up with innovative ideas each time, but the continuous effort to achieve it is the key to innovation. An intersting ad made by David Fincher by not showing the product at all in the entire ad. Brilliance is always said to lie in simplicity.

S – Satisfaction

” Advertising is found in societies which have passed the point of satisfying the basic needs of advertising.” – Marion Harper Jr.

The ultimate aim of a product/service is to attain satisfaction after using it. Advertising is a futuristic system of portraying this end result and not just the means to it. It simulates the feeling and not just the substance.

I – Inspiration

“Advertising doesn’t create a product advantage. it can only convey it.” – William Bernbach

Advertising is not just about want and desires but also a stimulus to achieve something better for oneself. It is a reminder of the good things that prevail in this world by depicting a positive outlook towards life. Sometimes when you see other people trying or able to achieve things, you feel inspired and more confident to do the same.

N – Notion

“Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don’t have for something they don’t need.” – Will Rogers

Advertising is an idea put on a beautifully decorated platter and presented to the not so hungry people. An idea is only as good as its crafting, advertising aims to craft in a way to make something ordinary seem extra-ordinary into seeming like a necessity. No one needs a multi-function steering wheel with bluetooth, but the ad by Volkswagon leads one to believe that one can’t drive without it and feel more convenient with it.

G – Glamorization

“Advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” – Jerry Della Femina

Advertising is nothing without a tinge of glamour added to it. People like to see things that are beautiful and perfect, it makes it easier to endorse anything. Ads are always depicted to be larger than life. They create an aspiration and at the same time a greed to live life king size. But many a times the main object of the ad is lost in glamorization.

Although, as said by Leo Burnett, ” It is far easier to write a speech about good advertising than it is to write a good ad.”


It’s easier said than done.


In an advertising agency, every department feels their job is the toughest and hence the most important part of the organisation. The client service department feels without them, we would have no business. They rant about how difficult it is to deal with clients, convince them and face them while presenting a shoddy job. Whereas the creatives counter-act saying, if client service is the body, they are the soul of the organisation; without them there would be no business happening.

Definitely it’s easier said than done. It is easy to say someone else’s job is less stressful and easier compared to the other. The truth is each person is meant to do a certain task he/she is trained to do. One can’t replace the other, at least one cannot be the best replacement for another’s job. The production team cannot design an ad, a graphic designer may not be the right candidate for media planning, the media planners cannot replace the copywriters. Hence each one is allocated to the task they are truly good at and each department is crucial and challenging in it’s own way.

Technically it’s easier said than done. As a copywriter, I feel my job is strenuous. It’s not easy to come up with ideas for the same product every week or think of innovative ideas for a run down product. But, for a change today I put myself in the shoes of a graphic designer to see what it’s like, trust me I was thanking my stars I was a copywriter and not the one actually executing it. As a copywriter you tend to fantasize, think beyond the obvious, have surreal ideas which are definitely easy to visualize but often impossible to depict or materialize. We say, we want the building to look grandeur, with nice…bright…eye-catching background…maybe  like the meadows of Europe, plus highlighting all the facilities so that the viewer of the ad is transported to another world yet knows the reality or nature of the apartment. And even though the designer comes almost close to your visualization, you say, it’s nice but could we have the building highlighted a tinge more…it is the selling product in the end. I don’t blame the designer for giving me a look saying, ‘are you kidding me?? you want all this…in a 3×15 black & white ad…right! It’s not happening!’ That’s when I begin to realize, that maybe I was being a little too demanding and dreaming a little too much.

Obviously it’s easier said than done. When the client service department comes to us with  a brief, we expect some amount of detail and clarity to hit the right target, while they say no more than 3 words…serene and peaceful location. So you’re telling me, out of  hours of meeting the client; you could decipher and conclude with only “3 words???” Obviously it’s not easy dealing with clients, especially when they are stubborn and don’t know jack shit about advertising, as they are worse than us copywriters in terms of being surreal and bizarre.

So, clearly it’s easier said than done. No one has the right to point fingers at another and definitely no right to degrade another without experiencing what it’s like to be in the other’s shoes. We feel the grass is always greener on the other side, but only when you take a step towards it you realize it’s the reflection of the sky on yellow that makes it look likewise.

Enjoy the ad 🙂

Back to Basics


Keep it simple silly, just like Tata Docomo’s advertising campaign; advertisers today believe in making ads with a simple thought to promote the products. A basic idea executed in a thoughtful manner is more powerful than an extra-ordinary idea with no connection to the product. With the average consumer accessing content through hi-tech digital media, the advertisers believe in keeping the message simple and effective. In my two years of experience in this industry I have learnt that if you want to sell a diet you cannot leave out the calories. It is all about vanilla advertising today!

Recently, I was thinking of a television commercial idea for a premium tea brand. I began brainstorming and ideating, trying to think out of the box. In the end, the idea that eventually got selected was a conventional concept blending an emotional element into it. It was an ordinary everyday moment of a lady making tea for herself and her husband whilst enjoying the finer moments of life, such as the rain playing games with nature, serenity in the air with thoughts pouring like poetry, complemented with a perfect cup of tea for a refreshing experience.

For some reason even though I am a writer from the new era, I like the traditional outlook more. I like using pen over laptop, I like print over digital media, I like simple over complex. Although I know it is important to keep abreast with the changing world, but the challenge lies in using the digital platform to communicate a traditional concept.

Some of the brands that I feel have used vanilla advertising effectively are:

A personal favourite of mine, is the ad campaign run by Flipkart which is definitely praiseworthy. A simple concept executed in an excellent manner. The idea of using children, to imply that using Flipkart is a child’s play couldn’t get more honest, funny and straight-forward.

Raymond is one the few brands that have retained their original theme since the beginning, just recreating it in different ways. The emotions and relations have remained the same which is why the brand connects well with the people.

Moreover, using minimum characters in the ad has maximum impact on the viewer, for instance in the Tanishq commercials. It is a usual conversation between a husband and wife or mother and daughter while tweaking the moment with an unusual touch; endorsing the product in a palpable yet cogent manner.

Do share your favourite ad below.