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The magic of simple ads

August 22, 2003

What I liked: Rahul Doodh Pilo -- there's an endearing commercial on air right now for Cadbury's Delite.

I call it endearing because I see my daughter and grandson going through this routine day in and out. My wife went through the same exercise with my daughters.

And I am pretty sure this little drama is played out in countless homes all over the place.

I guess that is what makes this commercial sparkle among the mundane and the trite -- despite the scenario being every home's breakfast trauma, the commercial has actually managed to make the situation look humorous!

Try stepping into the shoes of either of the two players and you will see exactly how stressful this little episode actually is.

Apart from it being so identifiable and relatable, this TVC is yet another triumph of simplicity. Really, it couldn't get any simpler. Pared down to the bone (even the mom is cut out) the action focuses only on the little boy.

Skillful casting, thoughtful production  and a delightful script is what makes me increase the volume on my remote, rather than switch channels when the commercial comes on air.

And that's what makes me wonder when I see such simple solutions -- why is there such an abundance of laboured work? Looks like it is difficult to be simple and a whole lot easier to be complex!

What I've learned: Insight -- it is advertising's toughest challenge. Once you have it, your advertising is made, your client is happy, his product sells and everybody is satisfied.

Customer insight, key insight, product insight -- we, in advertising, spend all our lives trying to get a hold on this ephemeral quality.

While some of us strike gold, others fall very badly in the process of 'search.'

My earliest memory of stumbling onto an 'insight' happened with Rasna. We got the advertising account in December 1982 and our campaign broke in February.

Our launch campaign was a pretty simple one -- a headline which stated 'Home Magic' and a visual (an illustration) of 32 glasses of Rasna. We thought that we had the customer insight that is needed, but fortunately we decided to run the ad by our target audience --  housewives.

Everything seemed to be going well, till one lady in the group piped up -- she had a problem.

She felt that the glass we had used in the picture was very similar to the liquor glass her husband used. Well, there were two ways to go about the point she made -- ignore her remark or figure out a way to resolve the issue.

We chose to do the latter and our creative team put a straw into the glass. The solution was so simple that it received instant acceptance and this visual has been the brand icon all these 23 years.

Now that is perfect consumer insight as we marketers like to call it. It came straight from the mouth of our target audience.

The point is -- insight is all around us. The people we are trying to sell to often give it to us, some of them even articulate the problem vividly like our Rasna housewife did.

All that is required of us advertisers, is to listen. Once this insight is in your hand, then there is very little gloss required to sell it. And that is the endearing magic of simple ads.

A G Krishnamurthy, founder of Mudra Communications, is currently chairman of AGK Brand Consulting. The views expressed in the article are personal.

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