Anil Thakraney: Adland blues – where the ‘uncles’ don’t understand digital & ‘dudes’ don’t know Real India

02 Dec,2011

By Anil Thakraney


One subject that keeps popping up when I meet senior creative directors from the ad world is the challenge posed by new media. And it’s a bit of a worry for everyone because India, unlike developed nations, is placed on a very interesting media matrix.


On the one hand, we have the so-called old-world creative directors (most of them also chairmen of agencies) who have been weaned on TV commercials. Their entire focus and creativity is concentrated on the tube, they can only think TV (not even print!). And they will continue to thrive for many more years because unlike in the western nations, TV isn’t about to die in a hurry in this country. However, these TV hero ‘uncles’ are zeroes when it comes to using the digital media for their clients, and that’s obviously a big weakness. Their understanding of the opportunities offered by the social media space, for example, is very poor. In fact, both Balki and Piyush haven’t even registered for either Twitter or Facebook, that should give you an idea of their disinterest.


Which is why they rely on the ‘young geeks’ in their offices to figure out the use of the digital media for their clients. The twenty-somethings who live their lives purely in the virtual world. The problem with these nerds, on the other hand, is that they don’t understand the traditional media at all. In fact, drowned in their comps/pads/mobiles 24X7, these techno-wizards are disconnected from reality. Therefore incapable of coming up with ideas that are born out of the nation’s culture and beliefs.


For a Kolaveri sort of viral magic to happen for brands, this twain shall have to meet. Either the senior CDs make sure they spend energies to understand and bond with the digital space. Or, they ensure the bachchas in their agencies spend at least half their waking hours getting to know Real India. There is no third way out.


This chasm is no good for the health of the brands they handle.




PS: A review of Suhel Seth’s book has got the author all worked up. And the feisty man has been busy dissing the article writer, calling him a ‘loser’, ‘unemployed economist’, ‘a lowdown’, etc. Apparently, Seth later deleted the sweet tweets. Here’s the link to the said review. Must-read stuff.

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One response to “Anil Thakraney: Adland blues – where the ‘uncles’ don’t understand digital & ‘dudes’ don’t know Real India”

  1. AS Raghunath says:

    Good one. Hope the uncles & Dudes sit together by leaving their baggage and work out Kolavari type brand hype.