It’s tough being a client!

Around 2004, we won the advertising business of a new ready-made apparel brand to be launched by a very large Indian company. Our agency had suggested a space around ‘confidence’. The client very rightly asked us to come back with a sharper, more compelling narrative on confidence. As the planner, I started engaging with the target audience to understand possibilities around confidence and saw a pattern. Everyone spoke about confidence in the context of a big moment when they had been nervous.

The most memorable confidence moments were around overcoming nervousness! The more I thought about it, the more it felt powerful and authentic. A brand acknowledging lack of confidence and glorifying people overcoming it. I presented this with much passion, and the client said – are today’s youth nervous? I don’t think so. Look around, I see, youngsters who are cocky and full of attitude, they don’t get nervous anymore! Nearly 4 years later, Mountain Dew’s campaign – Darr ke aagey jeet hai hit the media. For me, it was a validation of the point I had made and believed in. For some time I brooded over the client’s failure to see beyond the obvious ‘today’s youth are confident’ story. However, I now also realise, it’s tough being a client, judging ideas for which you do not have a reference point.

You want to do something powerful but may not be in a position to see the possibilities on what has not been done by others. If it is your responsibility to judge ideas developed by others on your brand, maybe you need to ask the question – what makes me qualified to see the possibilities in a new idea? What do I need to do to build that capability? It’s a good question!