REAMS of newsprint have already been expended on how the globe is now merely a village, how we carry our world in shaving blade-thin mobile phones, how the moon is just a flight away and how we will soon have our very own private soap-bubbles for personal transport.
However, in this now-you-blink-and-the-world-changes scenario, one thing that does not change is “ the problem solution format” in advertising. Time and again we run into grave-looking clients who sagely listen to scripts before getting into pregnant pauses and declaring “ummm…interesting thought…but could we also look at a problem-solution route?” What this means is that problems exist everywhere. Pimples are stalling dates, falling hair is coming in the way of promotions, and dark skin is a speed-breaker to getting married. Only the “Product” can save us from the pain that permeates our lives.
And so, I was most pleased to see the latest Tata Sky ad, where Aamir Khan is as usual in delectable form, raving and ranting about a problem he is facing. Only in this case, life is not a problem, to which the product is a magical solution. The product is the problem and getting rid of it is the solution.
The product differentiator here (picture clarity) is presented as the biggest problem in the poor old Sardar’s life. It is this amazing picture kwaaality that is distracting his son from performing his duties and instead forcing the elder Sardar to do ungainly things like stand in long, sweaty queues to pay an electricity bill. The solution to this gross neglect of duty is simple. Just dump the Tata Sky box into the hands of the first available passer-by.
Most of us watching the film will find the idea simple, beautiful and powerfully making the point. And that includes clients too. (Yes, clients are most charitable and display an amazing sense of humour when it is not their product that is in question.) But present a similar idea to them and more often than not, the response will be “do we really need to be negative?” “Should we part with our recession-reduced budgets to make fun of our product?”
The fact of the matter is that consumers are far, far more intelligent than we imagine them to be. They will any which way understand the benefit, irrespective of the ad showing the product in a ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ light. However, they usually display greater affinity towards an ad that respects their intelligence.
Not really rocket-science, considering that even kids have greater respect for people who don’t treat them like babies. Consumers love a product or service which, on the face of it, does not take itself too seriously. It radiates tremendous confidence and self-belief. Consumers pick that up very quickly. And respect and love you for it.
Coming back to the Tata Sky ad, I believe it is a brilliant job! I loved watching it again and again. It’s one of the few ads that do not make me itch for the remote. It refreshes me, humbles me and makes me glad I’m in this business. It offers a wonderful solution to the problem of boring advertising.
The author is the National Creative Director at Dentsu Marcom