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Title: Indian Advertising

Subtitle: Laughter & Tears

Publisher: Niyogi Books

ISBN: 9789383098477

Pages: 388 pp

My review:

Advertising – the term needs no introduction at all. Today, every single person is exposed to numerous advertisements using multiple formats but this form of art Indian Advertisinghas its own share of smiles and sorrows and hence the sub-title – Laughter & Tears.

Indian advertising is a detailed subject of study within itself. In this version of the story, the author chose the era of 1950s to 2000s – starting right after the independence (and changing laws) and continuing till date (still in dynamic phase); The Indian advertising has a lot to share and teach us. As is evident the situations were not conducive enough to market and generate sales in those tough times but the concept was not alien at all. The radio and newspaper were the pivotal channels to drive sales and the advertisers were the change drivers. Here is a sneak peek of what all the author has to offer and my take on his attempt.

The author – Arun Chauduri, himself has witnessed the change in the industry vis-à-vis the changing economies. The advertisers and the marketers have always put their best foot forward in introducing new products and services in the market and this is author’s trial to share their efforts with the current game changers! They are a perfect proof of how they analyze and target the psyche of the end users / consumers and direct them towards a sale. Success is not a sure shot fruit, even advertisers do fail in harnessing the best of the options and the author attends such issues as well, in the book.

The content and illustrations used in the advertorial were the players and the format followed in presenting the information was the real game changer with time. The author details every minute detail starting from then prevailing trends to gauging the efficacy of the collaterals. He himself is a well-known and well respected name in the industry and this work comes as a reflection of his immense expertise in the industry.

In his trial of six decades of scanning the industry, he has meticulously divided the content into six chapters – overview, transition, growth, learning, new age and the present times. It touches upon varied technicalities of the trade including: print ads, broadcast ads (radio and TV), changing political and economic scenarios, life cycles of big advertising names, etc.

He has taken a simplistic style of writing and supported it with helpful illustrations and real adverts as well. Sighting the art work of the times gone was an eye – refresher. In addition to refresh the basics it brought the memories live. This book works fine as a reference book for students studying marketing / advertising and mass comm . In addition to these, marketers who are interested in expanding their knowledge base would find this work of immense help.

Though, in my personal opinion, a bit of play with formatting of the content would have done wonders for the book. At a point, an insertion is missing but with so many inclusions, I understand the missing link.

No doubt, this is an interesting, enriching, educating and information rich resource.


About the Book

Indian Advertising: Laughter and Tears captures the evolution of the advertising profession from 1950 till the present times.

Advertising is often regarded as a glamorous profession that thrives upon personalities. This book draws pen portraits of people who have given shape to the profession. Leaders of advertising have one common trait – none can be disregarded. Almost all of them seem to thrive in being different in their attitude to life from their neighbours, friends or ordinary women and men they meet every day.

Advertising has been a profession that has at times seemed suspect in the eyes of leaders of governments that have ruled in Delhi after Independence. Indian Advertising covers the socio-economic aspects that influence the profession since governments in India wield enormous clout upon all business activity. The book also showcases advertising – the good and not-so-good-through each decade covered.

The views of men and women who have given shape to the profession find expression through their own words from excerpts of speeches delivered long ago. The book begins at a time when companies looked for full-service ad agencies that presented creative, media and PR services. It ends at a time when companies are no longer interested in full-service agencies. The business has disintegrated into Creative, Media and PR; each area now offers companies with their respective specializations. Indeed, advertising has come a long way.

About the Author

Arun Chaudhuri began his career in advertising in the mid-1970s in Clarion McCann Advertising Services. He went on to work in other leading agencies such as OBM and RK Swamy before setting up Campaign, a Calcutta-based agency. He divested his stake in the company in 1977 to start BRAND, an organization that specializes in Marketing Research, Rural Marketing and Creative Services.

He has been associated with a number of universities, where he has taught Advertising and Public Relations since early 1990s. His other works include Eleven New Plays (2013), Indian Advertising 1780 to 1950 (2007), ITC versus BAT (1997) and Revaluation (1992).