Saturday, March 17, 2007

Santosh Desai brilliant, but who cares?

Last evening, Santosh Desai presented the Advertising Review for the year 2006 under the auspices of the Bombay Advertising Club.
When Desai accepts an invitation to speak, be on a panel, write or review, he does so with a commitment that is uncommon. He has viewed — literally — 1500 commercials that were aired in 2006, during the course of which he looked for trends that he thought noteworthy enough to share with the advertising community. I won’t “report” those brilliant, and sometimes provocative and debatable observations – I’m sure the media and advertising supplements, magazines and websites will, as will CNBC’s Storyboard.

What surprised me was the quality of the audience. No one from O&M, no one from JWT, no one from Grey, and so on. Hardly any clients. And hardly anyone from newspapers or television channels.
Have we become incapable of learning from a peer? Or was the event not glamorous enough?

To the Bombay Advertising Club, reeling as they are in the tug-of-war between them and the AAAI, there’s an opportunity staring them in the face. The review was brilliant, even if the attendance was not. The entire proceedings have been videotaped – digitize it and sell it. With brand building, not profit, as the objective.
An objective, as Desai pointed out, that seems to have been somewhat lost in last year’s advertising.

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