Democratization of Advertising

Democratization of Advertising


Advertising as an industry has always seen changes, sometimes it’s been the change. A change in medium isn’t new to advertising, Newspapers to radio to TV and now the digital era. But this time Advertising communication faces a new animal. We’ve been talking to consumers. Influencing, manipulating, coaxing, bullying them into buying brands we sell. This has been a one-way communication. Today it’s different, today the very people we advertise to have become the brands’ spokespersons and custodians. They can talk back to a brand.

This shift in medium has changed advertising at many levels. Firstly, the clients can now reach out to more people with lesser money. The digital medium as of now is sort of democratizing advertising. Secondly, the client can see the metrics of how a particular piece of communication is doing, the number of people it reaches, the ones who react, the ones who convert etc. This makes the client skeptical about putting big money into the older costlier mediums. Budgets are being cut. Agencies are adapting. Fewer people working on more brands to make ends meet.

As we try to explain the concept of a “brand” which is built through a combination of all mediums and holistic thinking, the marketing and the sales machinery think otherwise. Immediate and visible results trump invisible projected magnitudes and scales. But the one thing we all agree on is the changes visible in the audience. Their attention spans hop, skip and jump to near extinction. How do we talk to someone who isn’t listening after the first three seconds?

These are real problems. They will have real solutions. Right now, advertising is doing what it has always done. It is experimenting. Once the dynamism of the digital medium is absorbed by everyone dealing with it, we’ll have more answers. But from the little I understand I believe the core of advertising still remains the same. An Idea that can adapt itself across mediums to communicate the same message, is the key.The same story interestingly told to make the audience curious, make him aspire, or to inspire. Whether an ad is aired on primetime television or is at the mercy of the audience’s scrolling thumb shouldn’t really affect the core. Creating stories for brands that engage people.

Saikat Sarkar | Associate Creative Director at Hakuhodo, Bangalore, India