Monday, 11 January 2010

Not a very good idea

There’s a fundamental flaw with electric/electronic appliances being seen as eco-friendly. Batteries need power. And that energy doesn’t come cheap. Or easy. For every charge, there’s a fossil fuel being combusted somewhere. Nuclear energy isn’t yet feasible. Neither are windmills. Hydro has a problem, plus our rivers aren’t exactly swell. That leaves us with gas turbines that gobble up natural resources, emit exhausts, and basically be not on friendly terms with the environment. It’s a necessary evil, yes. It certainly isn’t the rosy, green, tree-lined, winding-road landscape that the electric car promises to ensure. No. Those batteries need even more charging. And they emit fumes too, invisible ones, but toxic nonetheless. So, for the desired consumer, it’s just a self-gratifying perception that what you can’t see, doesn’t pollute. Some thermodynamics engineer in a sweaty power plant is paying for those sins, not you.

Coming back to battery-operated mobiles saving the planet, now we have this.

Though it doesn't beat Walk & Talk in farfetchedness, it comes pretty close. The campaign started off pretty well, with surreal cheekiness (casteism) and believable CSR (literacy). But then the law of diminishing intelligence set in. And we got Walk & Talk, the 26/11, and so on. To the current one. Use mobiles. Save trees. This is clearly beyond plain overpromise-underdeliver.

Now, I'm a big fan of Balki's work. I like the fact that he snubs at snooty award-friendly creative, instead pushing for old-fashioned effectiveness. For me, his work for ICICI Prudential is still the archetype for insight-driven creative. In one word, brilliant. It's a school of thought that ought to be encouraged more vehemently than succumbing to cute/smart executions that mask the lack of story or research. (You know what I’m talking about, mr. moustached guy).

But here, with the ‘save-trees’ story, you’re just underwhelming your own strategy. All situations depicted can easily and efficiently replace the bloody phone for a laptop (except maybe the boarding pass thing). And these are all high-end phones. And for gastro’s sake, which darshini serves both Utthapam and Chicken Puff? Unless Thom’s buys over Adiga’s.

Bottom line. It’s ok to push your brand message. And ok-er to have a strategy with centipede-worthy legs. But the logic has to fall in place somewhere. If it’s not, then maybe it’s time to say good bye to both the positioning as well as AB Jr. The Sirjee has run his course; hire the big-headed cretins now, but give ‘em some screenplay this time.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Anal Logic

At a briefing session

Client: I need a ‘good looking’ ad.

Account Exec: Erm... I’ll need a more detailed brief than that.

Client: GOOD LOOKING. How hard is that to understand? You know what my product is. Now make an ad that... looks good.

AE: No. Doesn’t help...

Client (Flipping open an Archive mag on his desk): See, look here, I’ll show you what a good ad looks like...

AE (murmuring to himself): Oh dear!

Client: This book’s full of ‘em.

AE: But, looking for a good ad in Archive is like looking for a wife in Playboy.

Long silence.

Client (after pondering over the thought for a few minutes): That’s not an accurate analogy.

AE: Why not?

Client: Because...because... my ad is not the same as my wife...and...

AE: ...and you’d never let us screw up your ad?

Longer silence.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Getting life on line

Created by Randall Munroe at xkcd