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The 4 steps to ensure a successful advertisement

Congratulations! you have cleared one of the toughest exams on the planet and now are on your way to clear interviews for the B-school of your choice.

Or congratulations because you have finally secured yourself a place in your dream organisation and you can start working on behind the scenes of the marketing advertisements that you always dreamt of

Be whatever your situation, your curiosity and hunger to know more about the marketing concepts and how are they used in daily life have brought you here. So congratulations because you have taken your first step to a fruitful marketing career.

Although, I hope that you're not starting it with the thought that now you get to work with top-notch celebrities, explaining to them, the script of an advertisement because you think that's what marketing and advertisements are all about

Your enthusiasm and nostalgia of watching the 90's Cadbury ad getting recreated in a 2021 form or how you recall growing up to watching ads from your favourite brands that inspired you to have a career in marketing. You will get to do all those, but there's a lot of thought process and background work that goes behind it.

What is that background work?

We have Saurabh Bajaj, marketing head of Dairy business and Britannia Pvt Ltd to explain that to us. With over 20 years of experience in the field of Marketing, let's look at the various stages of how advertising is made from his experience of working with amazing brands throughout the 2 decades

Advertising is not just storytelling or convincing you to buy a product or service. It's so much more including a blend of art more than science & something that the wizards at the agency, pull out of their magic hat!

However, there is a definite speck of science behind how it’s all done! So do enjoy reading this article on the art & science behind winning advertising!

Making an advertisement really follows a few basic steps:

- Figure out your core issue

- Understanding your consumer

- Uncovering the Insight

- Making the creative

Figure out the core issue

The most critical thing to do before kicking off the creative process is to get pristine clarity on the task that you are trying to solve.

So, when I was working on Cadbury Gems “Raho Umarless” (remain ageless) Campaign, our Brand Task was to make Gems the ‘Brand for me’ for Kids and Teens, as our kiddy advertising always made Gems as ‘the Brand for my younger sibling’.

Again, in the case of Cadbury Celebrations “Toh Iss Diwali Aap Kise Khush Karangay?”, (Who will you choose to make happy this Diwali) we wanted to convert “Aware Non Purchasers”, who were Aware of the Brand but just didn’t think about it, during their purchase occasions.

So, getting precise clarity on what you are solving for is the first step.

Understanding the Consumer

The next steps are perhaps the most exciting step for any Marketer, and this is best done through a workshop.

Here you get everyone into the room – Brand Manager, Consumer Insight Manager, R&D Manager, Sales Manager, Agency Planner, Agency Client Servicing, Design Teams etc.

Then you divide yourselves into teams of 2-3 people each and go out there and meet consumers, read about your consumer, do expert interviews.

Through the journey, you keep making small notes of what you are observing. At this stage, it's critical to only write the “Pure Observations”, only what you are seeing/ hearing or reading and not your guesses on why the consumer is behaving in that manner.

Finally, each team member brings 50 observations & you paste them inside the walls of a large conference room which makeover 500 observations on the walls. This is called the Mind Map of your consumer. Everything that you know about the consumer is on those walls.

Next, you group observations into similar-sounding observations to get large behaviour patterns of what you observed as a group.

After you have uncovered the “What” of the consumer, you start debating the “Why”, what’s really at the heart of what you are observing. You ask “Why?” at least 5 times to reach an Insight.

Uncovering the Insight

The whole process is really intriguing and it’s amazing, that when I did this process in India, Nepal & Dubai, I observed completely different behaviours.

I realized that the consumers in India are so caught up in our passion for progress that our societies are becoming insular, which is the insight that led us to the “Toh Iss Diwali App Kise Khush Karangay” (Who will you choose to make happy this Diwali) TVC. It’s the same Insight that led to Good Day creating the Smiles TVC with Deepika Padukone. The fact behind the ad showcases, that as Indians we rarely smile at our neighbours.

However, when I met consumers in Nepal, I realized that the Nepalese really believe in everyday goodness, of contributing towards charity, helping out at old age homes, because the country has seen so much trauma, especially post the earthquake.

While in Dubai, the Insight was similar but so different. The Expat communities of Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Filipinos are lonely in an alien world and want to celebrate the togetherness of their cohorts!

Such basis human truth but slightly coloured by our individual contexts and hence lead to very different communications & activations.

Making the Creative

Once you have arrived at the clear consumer understanding and have an Insight that is powerful enough to base your communication on, there are 3 important questions that you need to answer before the Creative team can start showing scripts!

The first question is “Who am I?”, or what is the way you wish to position your product.

Examples of a few brilliant campaigns that did this extremely were:

1. Cadbury Dairy Milk which positions Chocolates into a Modern Meetha(sweet) and hence where ever Mithai was relevant, Cadbury Dairy Milk is too.

2. Coca Cola did this with “Thanda Matlab Coca Cola”( Cold means Coca-Cola), where they simply told the consumer that Coke is not a fancy American beverage, it’s your local roadside thanda (cold beverage)! So why have nimbu pain (lemon water) when you can reach out for a Coke.

The next important question is “Why should you buy me?”, and again some Brands that have done a fabulous job of creatively expressing this are Domino's, cause what other tasty and delightful meal can you get under 30 minutes? Again, AXE does it very well by saying that it can make you smell like Candy for the opposite sex!

Finally, the third question is “How do I make you feel!” The real currency of advertising are the emotions they evoke and hence this is perhaps the most important question of all!

Does that Advertising make you feel elevated & joyful like a Coke does and hence do you buy into happiness, or does it reassure you like an Insurance player or does it just make you nostalgic as Paper Boat does!


So while most advertising does indeed feel magical and has the power to impact people & often society, the process of creating advertising is a clear science and starts with pristine clarity of what your core issue is.

You next meet consumers and uncover winning insights. These insights then form the bedrock of your concept or creative briefing. Next, the magicians at the creative agency help you de-clutter and break down what you want to say to these 3 simple questions:

What am I”,

“Why should you buy me” &

“How do I make you feel!”

And this process results in the creation of award-winning & more importantly advertising that delivers business results!

Hope you liked this article, drop in your thoughts of your favourite advertisement campaign and let us know what insights you think inspired the brand manager and other stakeholders to make it a successful one!

About the Author

Saurabh Bajaj is the Marketing Head for the Dairy Business at Britannia Industries Limited since September 2019. He is an alumnus of Delhi College of Engineering and completed his PGDM (MBA) from the Indian Institute of Management Indore in 2004. He has since, spent over 16 years in the field of Sales & Marketing having worked for a decade with Mondelez from 2005 to 2015, then as the Innovation Head for Premium & Luxury Spirits with Diageo for 2 years, before joining Britannia.

Saurabh joined Britannia in Sep’17 as the Marketing Head for the International Business which has offices in Bangalore, Dubai & Kathmandu where he worked on several exciting Innovations & Activations across the Middle East and South Asia. Now, he is working on an exciting mandate to scale-up Britannia’s Dairy play across India & Bhutan. Recognized as 50 Best Marketing & Communication Professionals by White Page International in 2020 & as a DMA Trailblazer Rising Star CMO in 2001.

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