Chennai: Ramesh Narayan, founder of Canco Advertising and VP on the global board of IAA, delivered his keynote on ‘Communication as a Force for Good’ at Madras Ad Club’s Maddy’s 2019.
“An agency is as good as the last piece of work it produces. An industry is as good as the lasting change it can bring to the world. Let’s do advertising proud,” he surmised, appealing to use the power of creative communication to make a difference to society, and earn back respect for the profession.
He reiterated the need for change in industry’s approach to earn the lost respect and also attract top-rung talent to choose advertising as their career option. The industry today fails to fascinate the likes of grads from talent factories like IIM, owing to many factors, a key factor being how it is perceived.
Narayan reminisced the appeal made by Unilever’s Paul Polman at Kochi IAA World Congress held last month in which he emphasized the need for brands to move from CSR to RSC: ‘Responsible Social Corporates’.
Narayan also quoted P&G’s Marc Pritchard from the same conference in the context of Gillette’s campaign “The Best a Man Can Be”. While the brand received a lot of criticism online, it stated its ground and continued with the campaign about educating boys to do right, early, to make them better men.
He quoted Pritchard as saying, “We will listen to all voices, including those of dissent. Even if they don’t agree, there will be constructive conversation. Despite the heat, Gillette will keep having it (the conversation).”
Narayan appealed to advertising industry associations across India to come forward and involve themselves in addressing societal issues and demonstrate that communication can be a tool to bring about change.