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BW Businessworld

It’s A Mad Ad World

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David Ogilvy said: "the best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible." That is the cue for Indu Balachandran's new book, Don't Go Away, We'll Be Right Back: The Oops And Downs of Advertising (Westland, Tranquebar Press) is one of the best books written so far in the genre. It is funny and serves as a pithy beginner's guide to advertising, which even veterans can enjoy. The author's long stint in advertising comes handy when she explains the structure, style and substance of advertising agencies in India. Equally fascinating are illustrations by cartoonist Paul Fernandes. His jocose strokes capture the essence of the book.

Balachandran's prose is quirky, simple and packs many punches. For instance, she says, a copy writer's worst nightmare is a typo. Sample this: "Our restaurant has a bra attached." Here is a bite of what she calls "Proactive Work" of copywriters: "Sign over a gynaecologist's clinic – Dr Jacob, at your cervix." But the book is more than just fun. It presents a vivid portrait of the industry, and those who have been following the industry will vouch that her character sketches are spot on. For her, the client servicing person in an ad agency belongs to the species of humans that does the brave act of putting one's hand into the mouth of a lion for a living! Finally, Balachandran asks the proverbial question: do only crazy people join advertising? Or does advertising drive its people crazy? Read the book to find out.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 27-06-2011)