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Goafest 2012: ‘Pops’ on responsible advertising

The Leo Burnett NCD and ad guru talks about the need for sensitivity and social responsibility for advertising professionals to avoid backlash

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Goa | April 23, 2012

The by-invitation only Advertising Conclave on April 19, 2012, that kick-started the Goafest 2012, was rounded off by an excellent presentation by KV ‘Pops’ Sridhar, National Creative Director of Leo Burnett. The presentation by Pops on ‘How ads will look in a world of censorship’ was made on behalf of ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India).

The eminent ad guru mentioned that there is censorship in media, whether it is TV or Print. “However, if one puts rules on entertainment, the audience will not enjoy the content. The key here is to tastefully put your message across without upsetting the audiences,” he said.

Pops however was quick to add that one has to have a purpose in one’s communication and the creative community needs to be sensitive towards animals, women, religion and children, and be more aware of people’s sentiments. He cautioned, “For the sake of creativity, advertisers can fall into a situation where NGOs take notice of the harsh communication, which in turn would agitate the government to stand up and take action. Such a scenario would be cumbersome for the future of advertising. To combat this, every communication professional must rise up to the concept of self-regulation.”

Pops brought up the case of how the use of a pug in a campaign, despite all the care taken to ensure the welfare of the pug, failed to foresee a problem. Pugs became a rage and everybody wanted a pug as a pet. “But what people did not keep in mind is that pugs have a painful delivery process and need the presence of vets to see through the delivery. As a result, a large number of pugs ended up dead.” Therefore, he said, advertising professionals need to keep many factors in mind that go beyond mere communication of a message.

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