Role of Advertising Agencies in India

Why is advertising required?

Advertising is essential for any company except for an intermediary in industrial products. FMCG requires it the most and consumer durables slightly lesser than that. Capital Goods require advertisement depending upon where it is being used. But now-a-days any single company or advertising professional cannot complete the task. It requires a team and is normally called an Advertising Agency.

We see advertising of various products in print media, electronic media or as a commercial film. Who is behind all this right from an appealing idea to making a commercial? The answer to that is an advertising agency. They have the where withal which is required for various products’ advertisement.

Talk to the founders of these agencies and they maintain that business has been built on pillars of patience and a lot of persuasion.

For ABC co., it took the advt. agency two years to convince them to make a commercial. And it’s not just making the commercials the agencies extend their services too. So be it creating birthday invitation cards, meeting stockists, discussing margins and even helping the client fight a legal battle, they have done it all. All this comes as a part of the package when working for indigenous business houses. Indian entrepreneurs can be the best and the sharpest. They will give you as much freedom as you want provided you deliver.

The agencies are not very different from each other. They like independence do not want to be dictated by corporates and want to keep creativity alive which is what the world needs. Creative chairman likes the flexibility of walking into the office anytime and being sure that his salary is not cut at the end of the month.
Besides the passion and the unique clientele that independents cater to, there is a flexibility that finds favor with the clients. When BR established Umbrella in 2004, he started as an advertising agency. But soon he realised he was up against the Thompsons and Ogilvys of the world and therefore took a planned decision to change to the arena of design. There was no design agency in India who understood the intricacies of design well. They made presentations of up to 300 slides to a client who wanted to change his corporate identity, just to make him understand what difference design can bring to the brand.

Then there are examples like Cartwheel, which by virtue of its performance has been able to net the bigger fishes in the pond. Reliance Communications which started working with Cartwheel for its VAS and network products has now shifted the entire portfolio of CDMA and GSM services to Cartwheel. Group head – brand found their approach quite refreshing. There is enthusiasm and zeal in the team to meet the client’s brief.

It’s this sense of independence which is the prime driver for ad men to start their own outfit. Most founders of these agencies have worked with network agencies in the past and have had different reasons for quitting, the common one being ‘need for space’.
When Cartwheel Creative Consultancy was founded the founder was clear that it would not be restricted to only advertising. So Cartwheel has also moved into movie-making, a documentary and even launched a cricketing website.

Even as international creative hot shops eye India, the indigenous small agencies have their feet firmly rooted to the ground to capture a larger share of the Indian ad market. Indeed, the so called bottom of the pyramid in ad land is busy and witnessing a lot of activity. It might not be too long before the adage changes to; ‘small is powerful’.

Every marketing person knows this. Creative is what comes out of a ‘Creative’ Department, where creative people sit in a relaxed manner. ‘The Idea’ arrives and the creativity is woven.

Actually, the creative process is nothing like that. It starts with hours of digesting the brief, followed by hours or days of getting ideas out of your system.

The point is rather simple as the saying goes “Good brands have great creative, Iconic brands invent”.
Ad people, particularly the ones who have given up comfortable jobs and positions to venture out on their own are no different. Small creative shops were once thought to be extinct but in fact are very much amidst all the action. And the ones that spoke about Brand Equity are quite satisfied with the progress they have made in competition with giant global holding companies and their agencies.

I am giving a case of an upcoming company called Oxygen. Oxygen has started seeing the returns of expanding beyond advertising. Oxygen has in the past held exhibitions of photos and paintings done by its employees. They have created an online art forum where they upload work done by employees. This could be sold to hotels as they have a need for art on a regular basis.

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