A few weeks back, Adani Wilmar and its ad agency Ogilvy & Mather came up with an ad for Fortune cooking oil. I saw it on Day 1 of its digital release and practically showed it to everyone I know as a master piece of an ad. Honestly at 4.43 secs, it was less of an ad and more of a short film- and there will be very few occasions you will actually see this ad in full on-air. In case anyone missed it; this is the link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFzTl3NZtsQ
So, I guess we will all agree that this ad has a super emotional connect with Indian audiences- we can go out to any lengths at times to get home cooked food and food cooked by our mother possibly has a mix of divinity in it. It can be safe to say that we can skip a gourmet/ 5-star chef/ Michelin star rated restaurant for a morsel of home cooked food by our mother.
While the ad has caught the imaginations of people (especially from the ad world), can it boost the fortunes for Fortune Oil is yet to be ascertained. Never the less, the ad is most likely to win awards for the agency for sure.
Which brought me to a question that often intrigues me- How did this happen? The whole ad is just one statement; ‘Home cooked food is the best’. Saying it aloud didn’t even take me 4 secs and here we have an ad which has put across these 6 words in possibly the most interesting manner. How has an idea, with no mention of the brand name till the end slate, germinated from possible aim to boost sales? What would have been the discussions and thoughts while all this was possibly just- an idea. I actually talked about this to a few friends trying to understand how this might have got sold to the client (who might have invested an 8 digit budget in the production alone).
Being someone who has sat across on both sides of the table in a Client-Agency briefing; this is how I believe it went. The client offered the most clichéd of statements- “we need more sales and better recognition for our brand; make an ad.” The agency guys must have spent a few days exploring the world and came back saying: “Your brand is just a cooking oil and it needs a character. Everyone else is talking health, less of this and that. It is no longer fun to say we care for your heart… let us rather connect with the heart. We all eat food, let us take food as the platform and make some connection”.
A few more weeks may have gone in choosing the right connect. Healthy food, tasty food, non-greasy food, hotel like food, home-like food… and the ‘Eureka’ moment- the food no amount of money can buy- Homemade food. So why are you not getting homemade food? Away from family and single, in a hostel, on a border post, travelling job… there can be so many reasons; but they are all mostly physical limitations.
What is a scenario where you have you family around but still no homemade food? Are you on a diet? No- you are on an enforced diet, you are in a hospital.
So now we have the premise and a real life setting- a hospital where outside food is not allowed and a scenario where persistent relatives want to steal in food. This cycle is like a routine and we all might have seen it. So now how do you break the status quo? Let the person in-charge also succumbs to the homemade food and the iron hand melts into a mellow human heart. Homemade food wins hearts and Fortune gets a new place in consumer minds.
I don’t think anyone will not agree with the flow of thought as it is almost logical. The idea by itself is not entirely unique; which is another way of me saying that ‘Ideas are no single person’s domain.’ The lesson here is selling the idea across to the client. In my opinion, Ogilvy & Mather has done a fantastic job in this area- a simple idea laid down in an interesting manner. That is the difference between anyone who might have an idea viz-a-viz an ad agency selling an idea or a concept.
The closest anything or anyone can come to what an ad agency does is an artist painting a motif. Every creation is expected to be different and better than the earlier one. Both are termed to be only as good as their last work. The only differences are that for an agency, it has to appeal to his clients who commission their services and the spending is astronomical. There is a fixed budget, an end objective and time frame to complete the job. Creativity is confined within these limits.
Imagine the levels of rejection an agency might face. What would have happened if the client had refused to choose an emotional path and asked for a more rational sales linked ad? Or it had expressed concerns on how can someone talk of breaching hospital regulations; possibly face a backlash for it? Even after the concept is agreed, the execution, actors or the end result- anything can fail; and sadly the agency has its own reputation at stake if an ad fails to be noticed by the audience.
I believe this is the space where a big agency with a mix of its reputation and experience scores. Much like a consultant or expert in its domain, agencies can handhold clients through their fears. Showing rough sketches, stills, a complete virtual run before shoot; everything just to ensure that the client has complete faith on how the idea is shaping up. Unless the agency and the client both live and breathe the idea; it cannot transform into reality.
My final take- an idea needs wings to fly, this is true for any idea, concept or possible even a new approach that you wish to sell. Conviction on part of the thinker is not enough. It has to be substantiated with a mix of proven track record along with a constant reassurance. It is only then that both parties will have complete confidence on each other to deliver the good so perfectly. Maintaining this balance is the only way to sell ideas- an idea which otherwise is just a thought in our minds.