Saturday September 8, 2012
How advertising can find its place in the sun
WHEN one talks about the advertising industry, the same question pops up: “Who are you guys?” This is partly because people take advertising for granted most of the time and rarely do they find out who the people behind it are.
It has become, I dare say, a part of the national consciousness. A pop culture with a commercial intent to inform and persuade. A critical engine of commerce, if I may add.
So I ask you: do you know the creators, the writers, the designers, art directors, film experts, musicians, animators, and the list of geniuses who have made being creative their pride and profession?
These people are part of a vibrant RM12bil industry that has staked its claim to creative fame on many global stages. Yes, I am talking about our shining country Malaysia.
Our creative professionals toil through the night to find that singular and simple idea or thought that can transform a cumbersome message into an instant communication idea and capture the imagination of millions. It may seem straightforward to many, but creative thinkers are a rare breed indeed. You have to work at it.
“What about us?” cried Michael Jackson in his immortal Earth Song. I don't mean to sound like an alarmist but creative people and artists should be celebrated and their talents nourished.
Ideas are fragile and it is the strong-willed among the advertising fraternity who fight for its survival and success.
Legends like John Machado and Yasmin Ahmad come to mind. Creative geniuses who left their indelible mark on the consciousness of the Malaysian consumer out there. Just look at how Apple defended its iPhone and iPad ideas recently.
Which brings me to the point I am trying to make in this week's column. Remember the early days when Pearl & Dean, which was an advertising company, was the only name people could associate with when it came to advertising?
Because Pearl & Dean graphics graced every cinema hall before the commercials began and ended.
I seriously feel that advertisements that appear in print, or television (the main advertising media in the country) today should state somewhere the advertising agency which created the ad.
Every print ad, worthy of print that is, should have a little side mark that names the advertising agency which created it... like a badge of pride. Yes, it may look like a little caption, but wasn't it ad pioneer David Ogilvy who said people almost always read captions?
This idea is not new; there was a time when this was a regular practice by ad agencies. A time when if it was your idea, you stood by it.
The same “signature” can be applied in the ending seconds of every television commercial. It may be insignificant to many out there but trust me, every creative professional worth his salt will be encouraged to strive for more, not to mention the word of mouth it can generate for the industry.
People will start to look out for familiar marks and relate to the name behind the ad. And everyone can celebrate or if necessary desecrate them.
In this age of consumer collaboration I feel advertising can afford to be transparent in this manner. The growth of our creative economy demands it. Otherwise, a grave injustice will befall the incredible creative talent this country has.
Don't think about it, Just do it!
>Harmandar Singh is president of the Malaysian chapter of the International Advertising Association, which has 4,000 members across 76 countries. He can be reached at email@example.com