Advertising guru in townView(s):
Chris Thomas, Chairman and CEO, BBDO Asia, Middle East and Africa and Chairman, Proximity Worldwide was in Colombo to celebrate the completion of the first year of BBDO in Sri Lanka and to plan out the strategies for the future.One of the world renowned advertising maestros, Mr Thomas was hosted at a series of events held in Colombo and as a part of it a press briefing was held last week in Colombo alongside Santhosh Menon, Managing Director, BBDO Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.
Mr Thomas said that BBDO Sri Lanka has been recognized as a force for good in Sri Lanka by their worldwide body, particularly on the field of environmental conservation. Mr Menon said that they have demonstrated their work by not only delivering effective communication material for their clients, but by also contributing to the environment. Their efforts included becoming South Asia’s first advertising agency to be certified Carbon Neutral and the launch of Asia’s first air cleaning mechanical hoarding.
In the context of unethical and imbalance advertising in the public eye, the Business Times asked Mr Thomas such issues like, some advertising criticising other rival products; some products claiming to be superior to their rival products, offering huge cash rewards in promoting products which sounds like bribery, rather than basing the products on its superior and best quality.
In response, Mr Thomas said that all advertising should be based on truth and if they are not true, then those products thus advertised would tend to lose their markets in the long run. He said that in the case of unethical advertising, most markets are self regulated and in some cases there are very straight guidelines like in terms of alcohol and tobacco advertising. Yet they vary from market to market.
About the superiority of products again, he said in some markets that type of advertising is allowed and there are many famous examples based on tests where they could show themselves to be superior. But he noted that then they have to check specifically on the Sri Lankan rules as mostly it varies from market to market and check whether comparative advertising is allowed.
He said globally there are government-owned enterprises using advertising as a tool to promote government services. He said that the consumer understands the message of the advertisement about government-owned business. He said that the private sector advertisements are more severe.
He said that there should be a level playing field whether it is private or public sector advertising. He said that creativity is the key word in advertising, creativity that influences and persuades people of their products and as long as the people are happy it does not matter whether it is government or private sector. (QP)
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