Perhaps it is the French Riviera and some good alcohol that bring the Indian advertising fraternity together. The Indian contingent was out celebrating and it was nice to see friends and colleagues from other countries walk up and raise a toast. Next time, however, I’ll remember to ask them to buy us a round.
The next morning, we were treated to some more good news (reservations at the Gutter Bar have already been made for the whole week). Various shortlists were announced, and India boasts a proud tally of around 75 (ads in the shortlist).
India has already won its first ever Grand Prix and a few Lions in the Direct category and one in Promos. And if rumours are to be believed, the Lion population in India is going to double by the end of the week.
But, while India is cheering its creativity and talent, our neighbour, China, is roaring, and how. Pully Chau (CEO, Saatchi and Saatchi China) and Daniela Riccardi (Greater China president, Procter and Gamble) showed us why China could truly be the country of opportunities for global companies and agencies.
It is quite hard to ignore the facts. China today is a $600 billion (Rs25.74 trillion) market and growing. With the strong use of Chinese culture and imagery, and spurred on by technological innovations and national pride, the Chinese are ready to offer global companies a market that beats other countries not only on scale but also opportunities.
How would you react if you were told that 80% of the luxury brands in the world are already present in China, which accounts for 18% of their sales? Or that China Mobile is the biggest telecom operator in the world with close to 530 million subscribers and 600 million handsets?
It’s not just about the numbers: 90% of the phone users in China use SMS (compared with 49% in the US), 30 million are registered mobile newspaper subscribers and over 50 million use their mobile phone to surf the Internet. In short, the Chinese are connected and marketers can reach this large base of consumers directly and even offer them customized communication.
If China blew my mind away with numbers, the next seminar by Sawa (Screen Advertising World Association), took my breath away. They made the big screen, even bigger—by introducing Digital 3D technology to cinema halls. First on the screen was a game created for Volvo.
A driving-based game, it used motion-tracking technology that allowed viewers in the hall to navigate the car through a track simply by moving their hands in the desired direction. Then came the world’s first digital 3D ad created for Red Bull and, finally, a sneak preview of the world’s first digital 3D action film—Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Apart from sheer amazement, the event was perhaps a peep into how brands could interact and bring new experiences to consumers in the near future.
While on the subject of the big screen, how can the topic of in-film advertising be left behind. But it was interesting to hear how brands instead of placing their products in a film can look at how to place a film in their products. A recent example was how Audi used Iron Man in their ads to promote the car that was also used in the film.
In all, the day was anything but boring. And Indians need not worry too much about China. It’s like this—you could talk at length about a great dish, but nothing is more effective than giving people a taste of it. And India, through its work, has done just that.
The author is national creative director, Leo Burnett India.
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