Masters give advertising tips

Ad gurus on effective communication, ways to explore consumer minds

By Debraj Mitra
  • Published 14.01.18
Participants listen to ad gurus Subhabrata Ghosh (top right) and Sumanto Chattopadhyay 
(below right) during a session titled, What Makes Consumers Buy, at the 
Calcutta Media Institute on Saturday. Pictures by Pradip Sanyal

How to sell a product?

How to separate one product from another when, in reality, there are hundreds of similar products in the same segment?

Are celebrity endorsements needed if there is a strong content in the advertisement?

Bhowanipore: A session helmed by two ad gurus spoke on these and more such questions at the Calcutta Media Institute on Saturday.

Subhabrata Ghosh, founder and CEO of Celsius100 Consulting, and Sumanto Chattopadhyay, chairman and chief creative officer of Soho Square India (part of the Ogilvy Group), spoke on effective communication strategies and ways to explore the minds of the consumer in front of some 80 people, most of whom were young advertising and marketing professionals.

The session, titled, "What Makes Consumers Buy", was the first "Masterclass" of 2018 presented by the Advertising Club Calcutta, in association with The Telegraph.

"The most essential part of a good advertisement is telling a good story because people will buy your product if they buy your story," Chattopadhyay, who had started his career in Calcutta in the early 90s and went on to become the executive creative director of Ogilvy & Mather, South Asia, said.

"People don't buy what you make, they buy why do you make it," he said. Chattopadhyay's case in point was the biggest company in the world - Apple.

If Apple marketed their products like everyone else, their pitch would be something like this: We make great computers. They're beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. Want to buy one?

But here's how Apple actually communicates: Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?

Chattopadhyay, who has handled several big brands like Star Plus and Lakme and relaunched UTI Bank as Axis Bank, gave examples from his own kitty.

Like that of Indian cricketers wearing the names of their mothers in the ODI series against New Zealand as part of the Nayi Soch campaign of Star Plus. The CEO of a rival channel tweeted praising the campaign, Chattopadhyay said. The viewership of the channel went up substantially after the Nayi Soch campaign, he said.

Chattopadhyay said a good content can do without celebrity endorsements but stars often deliver a message effectively. "After Amitabh Bachchan started doing the polio eradication campaign, there were villagers who came to camps because they thought if they didn't, Bachchan might turn up at their homes to scold them," Chattopadhyay, whose other passion is films and has starred most recently in Piku, said.

"Pleasure and pain are the only emotions felt by the brain and effective communication should address them," Ghosh, a former executive director of Ogilvy and Mather, said.

The reptilian or primal brain that controls our instincts of survival and receives the signals of pain and pleasure also influences the decision making, Ghosh said.

Selling the avoidance of pain or harping on the intensity of the pain without the product is a better option than selling the pleasure that comes with using it, Ghosh said. The reason: our brain is obsessed with avoiding pain, he said.