advertising, campaigns, insight

The Power Of (Working On) An Ad Campaign

During my transition from mainline to digital, I was working on a brief for a brand of premium writing instruments we handle.

Cracking the idea involved getting deep into the consumer’s mind to understand today’s perceptions of writing by hand.

The more I studied, the more I got hooked to the idea of great handwritten penmanship.

I began to remember the beauty of “gleaming wet words flowing on paper” (sorry, I can’t remember who originally came up with this quote I’ve just mangled). My memory flashed back – yes, (H)(B)ollywood movie-style – to Tony Brignull’s classic long-copy ad in The Copy Book headlined, “Rediscover the lost art of the insult.”

I looked at the cheap, plastic, utterly tasteless and pathetically common ball-point pen clutched in my hand. My hand, almost of its own accord, recoiled – it opened, and that sad instrument fell to the marble-tiled floor, bouncing and clattering, rolling to a standstill. And at almost the same moment, a voice in the inner recesses of my mind whispered, “You must buy a fountain pen.”

Naturally, I approached Marble’s (that’s the name I’ve given to this inner voice) idea with some trepidation. What if I spent hundreds of rupees on a fancy pen and decided that I wasn’t enjoying writing with it? That would mean several beers’ worth of money down the drain.

So I went out and bought a cheap fountain pen, for all of Rs. 36.

Yes, it was a little rough, a little scratchy.

But it was beautiful.

So today, I went out and bought another fountain pen – this one for Rs. 125 (plus Rs. 30 for the cartridges). Which happens to be the same brand I was working on.

Much smoother, classier to look at, a delight to write. (Free brand plug.)

The moral of the story is, dear children, that advertising obviously affects more people than just the ones who consume it.

Now imagine if the brands I’d worked on had influenced me to this extent in the past. (To see which brands I’ve worked on, click here.)

Firstly, I’d have thrown out all my wardrobes. I’d be living out of suitcases, being addicted to buying one every month.

Secondly, I’d be drinking tea only. No coffee, no beer, no gin-lime cordial-bitters-ice. Only tea. And not the tapri chai I like. Regular tea.

Thirdly, I’d be saving a lot more money in my bank account. Not a bad thing, actually.

Fourthly, I’d be riding a bike. Not driving a car. I’d also be falling off a lot more often, and taking a lot longer to reach work, due to sheer lack of confidence and hence speed.

And lastly, most terrifyingly, I’d be fathering babies faster than the wife can say, “Shopping!”


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