Judging Communication Differently

26 Aug,2020


By Sanjeev Kotnala


A TVC or DVC or any other video needs to be judged in its totality. We all have our own palate for judging them and brand them as good or bad. We must realise, there will be frames you did not like and could have been done better. The casting, editing, script, dialogues, direction- there are multiple possibilities of areas to excel and go down.

If communication is achieving its objective and is strategically sound for the brand, then everything is fine, and critics can go take a walk. However, we are in an industry where we value judgment and get affected by the buzz around the communication. We forget that the real test is in the market.

Every communication cannot be award-winning, but it should be an award-winning output for the time, money and media weights deployed behind it. Hence always maintained that one must invest more in creative product to ensure the best production even at the cost of losing some media investment. A good product exposed fewer times will give a better result than a Bad product exposed many times. No argument there, yet we all end up making the same mistakes.


What if the audience does not watch it completely?

That is the area where the creative and the planning must take the blame. If the audience doesn’t watch long communication as a habit, then the communication should be trailered to their acceptable length. And suppose the audience watches longer versions but is partial to you in not watching your creative completely. In that case, you know where the finger must point. This should not make you go after the myth called perfection because at some stage the input of time and efforts will start hitting the law of marginal returns.


But audience will judge

Oh, despite whatever we all may want, the reality is that the audience is bound to generalise and slot a communication. Brand it, likeable and enjoyable, good or bad and the desired message may reach them, or it could be lost forever. Brands that do multiple communication in a process divide their risk.

In recent times, I have watched a few communications which caught my attention. It may be their concept, art, execution or even edit that first clicked with me. And honestly, with almost all of them, I found some issue. In cases where I did not really know the answers, I used one of the two favourite client comments. ‘Kahi Kuch Kami reh gayi’ and ‘Maza Nahi Aaya’.

So here I share a few of them.


Colloquial Communication:

This is one of the better pieces of communication. It is simple and speaks in a language and a tone that is so universal. It is iterative, but it is not dull. KAANO PAR ZIMMEDARI  is such a subtle take and summarisation of request to wear the mask.


Skin in the Game:

Motilal Oswal Mutual Funds new communication is about building trust within the investing public. Here, the traditional wisdom is amplified; ‘Trust the owners who Trust Their Business’. It is a logic that no one can counter. The brand claims that the company and the promoters are the largest investors in their AMCs equity funds.


Pride in Local Talent & Quality:

Pepperfry promotes ‘Swadeshi Sale’ while celebrating Indian artisans and adding the assurance of superior quality. The films promise edgy style and design, traditional expertise passed through generations and International quality from Ratangarh. Again simple communication which is loveable and trust inspiring. Time to check out some furniture from Pepperfry.



There been too much Positivity and Immunity. Brands talk motivational when the audience is fighting to keep the head above the water. Positivity now sounds repetitive and irritating. The PHONE PE commercial is too late in the day talking of possible normalisation of the situation. Stating that we will get comfortable with the new normal as we did with the old. Montage shots tick up all the right situations and do make you feel better. Love the two-generation interacting over PhoePe. Definitely, the brand could have done better.


The Answer Changes Everything:

What do you want to do when you grow up? A question we all have answered in childhood ( when we knew nothing), professional studies interview, job interview, marriage meeting and many more times. The question did not change, the answer does. What about what you want to do post-retirement? That’s HDFC INSURANCE asking the question, #Whenyougrowup. The idea does not tease as the story is out quite early. It misses the feeling of freedom and at my own terms.


Side Track:

The two brands which have expertly experimented within their zone are Snicker and Mountain Dew, yet their communication always had a freshness. However now SNICKERS  is confused and MOUNTAIN DEW turning Patriotic. Somehow I liked the International ad of snickers better. What is your opinion?



Opportunity Hunting:

A viral hit. Shared on WhatsApp with regularity. You would have seen it. Roger Federer Surprised two school-going fans Vittoria Oliveri and Carola Pessina in Italy by playing a  match on rooftops. The brand Pasta brand Barilla made it happen and rightly contextualised the message, “pasta brings people together.”



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