A Societal Journey Weaved in Ads

A Societal Journey Weaved in Ads

This is an engaging book about how advertising has been a reflection of changing times and the evolving societal outlook. By K.V. Sridhar

We humans and our ecosystem feed and breed on stories, our interactions, our choices, our lifestyle, our values, and often provide inspiration and fi nd inspiration in stories.

In my view, the modern and most palatable form of stories is ads! Sit through and binge-watch the last 50 years of advertising and what you will end up with is a societal graph of who we were and what we have grown to become; a mirror that refl ects our yesterday, paints our today and moves towards our future; this mirror has now found itself a new avatar, it has been inked with insights and undersigned by the renowned brand strategist and marketing Guru Ambi Parameswaran. Nawabs, Nudes, Noodles, the alliterative title of his new book takes us through the varied fl avours, slices and phases of not just advertising but also our society.

The formula is potent, he picks up iconic campaigns from the past 40-odd years, campaigns that decorate the ad world, traces their societal imprints, adds his experiential insights and what we have in our hand is a comprehensive account of 'Us and Ads'. He keeps the approach and language simple, thus making the book an ideal read for students and newbies who have just entered the realms of advertising. I pick out these two sects of audiences specifi cally because the book isn't just historic, but also very contemporary in its make. It tells readers about the blueprint of the iconic campaigns and then drives them to the roots, where lies the small changes and huge paradigm shifts of our society.

For instance, the chapter 'The Tingling Freshness of Teens' particularly caught my imagination because it starts with the Close Up ad from 1986 and ends with ICICI Bank's mobile banking ads, which depict an over critical father who is stumped by his lazy son's effi ciency all because he owns a phone and an attitude! From the Gen X, which was about adventure and machismo, to the Gen Y, which is witty and unapologetic, and in between you read through bit by bit, campaign by campaign and insight by insight, the changes that have happened among the teens of our country.

This chapter takes us through ads such as Liril, Thums Up 'The Thunder Times', Pepsi India launch and its 'Nothing Offi cial About It' series, Coca-Cola 'Thanda Matlab' ads, Happy Dent, Tata Tea 'Jaago Re', Airtel's 'Har Ek Friend', and others. In this chapter, all kinds of teenagers that our country has seen - the rebel, the adventurer, the macho, the witty, the friendly and the lazy - are tracked through ads.

Similarly, he traces the growth of women, men, children, youth, and the parallel growth of products and services by starting from the yesteryears up until today! He also writes about special jingles and the musical touch in our ads and how we as Indians love music. Ambi's i n d i g e n o u s insights make this book a rich read. The k n o w l e d g e quotient in this book is gripping.

The reader, whether an ad-man or not, ends up with a holistic perspective and stands on a common platform of insights and stories that weave the reality of who we are as Indians and where we are heading.

must also mention that for us seasoned ad men this book is a nostalgic ride. Ambi takes us back to the start of our careers as he puts forth the campaigns from where it all started!

As for the quirkiness, I love the way he begins the book reminiscing his encounter with a rather uptight man from Air India, explaining to him the importance of us ad men. He clears up the mythical notion of us being reckless drunk men and doles out the truth as to how we carry out a sensitive job of telling stories rather r e s p o n s i b l y , how we paint the likes of him and the likes of us for who they are, and how he and his family at the end of the day enjoy the small nuggets of anecdotes and stories in the form of ads because they fi nd a little bit of 'me in them'.

While he dedicates the book to 'The Clients', he writes for all, inspired from all; the all being society. Nawabs, Nudes, Noodles is engaging, insightful, exciting and comprehensive.

The reviewer is Chief Creative Officer at SapientNitro