Brands and their advertising should be ‘never finishing’, according to Rohit Ohri, group chairman and CEO of FCB India.
Speaking at Adfest in Thailand this week, Ohri joked that it didn’t mean that agencies didn’t have to finish work, it meant that brands and their marketing needed to emit an energy that never stood still and have a willingness to change.
The concept, according to him, ties into the well practiced concept of brand purpose, and likened the power of purpose to people in battle.
“It is about truly unpacking the power of purpose. People with purpose are hard to kill and brands with purpose are hard to kill. Brand death is a real danger, with more innovation and newcomers coming in to change things again. Finding purpose is truly important for brands to be never finished over time,” Ohri explained.
He gave an example of ‘never finished’ creative by FCB, showing FCB Health #BloodEquality campaign that aims to end the ban on gay men giving blood. He said that it used simplicity, via its strong purpose, to articulate something that could be complicated.
“Never finished fits big complexity into little brains, very often it drives projects that have a large social implication,” he said, also referencing the agency’s work on the UK’s female sports drive campaign This Girl Can.
For more commercial work, he says, applying this mantra can help brands move away from being product focused and be aligned with something bigger.
“It helps consumers move from ‘we bought the same thing’ and helps them to think ‘we believe in the same thing’ and it’s a fundamental thing that never finished ideas does,” he argued.
From India, he gave two examples of work that followed the ‘never finished’ mantra. The first was Amul dairy which released a campaign that positioned the brand a network of mothers, for mothers. The brand realised that it had 36 lakh (hundred thousand) giving milk to 200 lakh city mothers and that provided the basis of the campaign, or as Ohri explained, “the company became a surrogate for mother's love, a mother-to-mother network.”
Secondly, he discussed another client, Aashirvaad salt, which noticed that the media was labelling female success in the Indian Olympics team incorrectly.
“The stars of the show at the Olympics were women for India, it was very much celebrated in India but what was said was ‘this is a sweet victory’. We saw this as an opportunity to say ‘as a salt brand, we work with in India and we say it’s salty, it’s not sweet’. For women to come up and perform well, it takes blood, sweat and tears and that’s all salt. That’s what brand is celebrating, the sweet victories that were actually salty because women struggled to make a mark in the world,” he explained.
The three things that a brand’s marketing needs to do now is “raise issues, resolve tensions and transcend product functionality”, he summarised.