`Creating black & white ads for a colourful retail brand was risky`

'Creating black & white ads for a colourful retail brand was risky'

Last Updated: Sun, Dec 30, 2012 20:21 hrs

Why it is my best campaign
It’s not always easy to talk about favourite campaigns but yes, I agree that there are some projects that remain very close to your heart, even after you have moved on to doing different work. For me, one such campaign will be the one I worked on fairly early on in my career: a well-thought out, researched print campaign for Shoppers Stop, one of the biggest retail brands in our country.

This was back in 1993 when even Shoppers Stop was charting out its journey into the market. So, in a sense while I was charting out my professional graph, the brand, too, was at a point where it needed a well-rounded campaign to reach out to its consumers.

Early on in my career, I had learnt that one should create something so unique that readers/consumers should be forced to read what one writes as a copywriter. The brand campaign allowed me to put the theoretical knowledge into practice and even helped me see positive results. The response to the ad campaign was positive and it really gave us the confidence that we had done the right thing.

What made the campaign an interesting one was the freedom that we got from the client. Imagine creating a black and white campaign for a colourful retail brand! That was a huge risk but the client always egged us on, had the faith that we could pull it off.

Don’t forget that back in those days, only for print campaign, the brand, which was anyway beginning its innings, was spending in lakhs. So, we knew that we had to create something that would be disruptive, get the attention of the target community and yes, given that this was the first ever campaign of Shoppers Stop, it was challenging. What we would end up creating was to have a lasting impact on the brand – and it did.

Client’s brief to the agency
Our brief was simple: to walk into the Shoppers Stop store, observe and soak in just what we understood of the brand and its philosophy. Something about the store stood out and that’s exactly what we decided to create: a campaign that would help the brand stand out and break the clutter.

My colleague and I literally worked on the campaign just a day before we were scheduled to meet our client. Days of visiting the store, talking to the client to understand the brand helped us soak in a lot and that’s why in less than a day, we created a campaign that was approved in the first go.

Route chosen & why
We knew that the campaign had to be in black and white with telling, very classic lines that would just force the reader to read the print ad and think of it over and over again. Also, we didn’t have room for second or third chance, given that Shoppers Stop was spending roughly Rs 22 lakh only on print campaign.

To be sure, no budget was allocated for any television ad campaign and to the best of my knowledge, Shoppers Stop, for a very long time, only concentrated on print campaigns. We picked up interesting lines, They took my children away from me’; seven uniformed men came to me’ for the target consumers to sit back and take notice of the ads. Readers, though confused while reading the ads, did wonder just what it really meant. The ads were carefully placed in lots of lifestyle magazines and not just newspapers.

Will it work today?
When you shop at Shoppers Stop, have you noticed the bags are in black and white? The logo of the brand is also in black and white. Somehow, when you think of the brand, automatically you start thinking of the colour combination of black and white.

Simply put, the campaign continues to be in the same combination even today, 20 years after we had created it consciously keeping the black and white combination in mind. So, yes, it continues to work even today. I only worked on the first campaign but till date the brand carries the same feel in its advertising. That really is a very humbling, very inspiring feeling.

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