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D Shivakumar: Advertising cannot sell a bad product

D Shivakumar: Advertising cannot sell a bad product
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First Published: Sun, Jun 22 2008. 11 48 PM IST

D Shivakumar, Vice-president and managing director, Nokia India Pvt. Ltd (Photo by: Harikrishna Katragadda / Mint)
D Shivakumar, Vice-president and managing director, Nokia India Pvt. Ltd (Photo by: Harikrishna Katragadda / Mint)
Updated: Sun, Jun 22 2008. 11 48 PM IST
On advertising as a strategic management tool
Advertising is as much about business as any other function—be it finance, distribution or strategy.
D Shivakumar, Vice-president and managing director, Nokia India Pvt. Ltd (Photo by: Harikrishna Katragadda / Mint)
Advertising, especially for consumer product companies, is a fundamental need for the business to grow. More so, in a market that is extremely competitive, cluttered, and where everyone is looking to scale up and to push their top and bottom lines, advertising becomes a business imperative. It opens a direct channel with consumers, familiarizes them with the brand, attempts at building a connect with them.
Advertising can help achieve business goals, but it can’t help sell a bad product.
On current trends in advertising
The overall quality of creativity has improved tremendously in the past five years.
Geniuses such as Piyush Pandey (Ogilvy and Mather), Prasoon Joshi (McCann Erickson) and Agnello Dias (JWT), among others, have raised the bar, and Indian creativity today is being recognized globally.
The rise of creative CEOs has brought in thought leadership in the way the business of advertising is run. This is certainly a positive change for the industry.
There are, however, trends that I find a trifle disturbing. For instance, the overuse of celebrities in ads. Celebrities have become a sort of bad habit for most advertisers. They think getting a celebrity is the sure shot way of breaking clutter and being noticed. This is not a healthy trend. Unless one has a strong saleable creative idea, no celebrity will be able to see you through. A lot of the celebrity advertising that I see on TV today is not creative or well thought through.
On Nokia’s advertising mantra
All our ads are youthful and relevant to the target audience’s lifestyle and usage needs. Some of our campaigns such as the Made for India, Jeevan ki dor, and the Indian Premier League Kolkata Knight Riders advertisement created something new for the market and for Nokia as well. The first one spoke of innovation for India; the second spoke of the security needs that Nokia fulfils; the third, of the digital radio era; while the fourth was about building a united idea for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
On diverse media platforms
I think television cuts across socio-economic, gender and all such diverse consumer groups. Television is a mass medium but, at the same time, it is quite effective, too. Besides, it is also a cheaper medium for building a brand at a mass level. If you can come up with a good advertising idea, you can strike an immediate connect with consumers riding television.
My favourite ads
I like the campaigns of Vodafone, Airtel, Paras and Fevicol.
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First Published: Sun, Jun 22 2008. 11 48 PM IST