Sucheta Dalal :Essar: Please do begin!!!
Sucheta Dalal

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Essar: Please do begin!!!  

February 16, 2010

Corporate advertising is probably the toughest, the most challenging of all forms of advertising. How does one distil an entire organisation’s core philosophy and encapsulate it in one single piece of communication, and even more trickily, in one single slogan? Especially when it comes to a giant, multi-business, multi-brand, multi-layered, complex organisation. Plus, you have various operating heads to please, each with demands and expectations of their own. In contrast, for a brand communication, life is a lot simpler. Once the key benefit and insight is in place, half the battle is won. But to communicate an organisation’s core competence in thirty seconds is another ball game. And yet, it needs to be done.


Essar Group, the giant desi organisation, which deals in various businesses across the continents, in core sectors such as energy, steel, power, communications, shipping… the list goes on, has released a new corporate campaign called ‘Let’s begin’. The objective of undertaking a corporate exercise is understandable for this particular group. So far, Essar has been a silent giant, going about its business in essentially a low-key manner. But as the group undertakes to expand and grow, it becomes important to establish a distinct identity in the consumers’ minds. The core message of their campaign is this: "Every achievement is not the end of a journey. It's the beginning of a new journey. So let’s begin.”  


Although it’s not in the league of a Nike’s ‘Let’s do it’, I actually quite like the ‘Let’s begin’ slogan. The phrase is mildly self-deprecating (and therefore classy, coming from a successful organisation that has been around for a long time). And the concept is pregnant with many possibilities. One can visualise stunning creatives being born out of the thought.


However, their execution of the idea is pretty lacklustre, dull and entirely boring. Funnily enough, for a thought that’s self-deprecatory, they’ve released a TV commercial that’s totally self-obsessed! The commercial features a casually-dressed dude drawing complicated charts on a black-board, which criss-cross the organisation’s various disciplines (power, steel, telecom, etc). Guess the underlying message is: constant innovation. And to pep things up, so to speak, they have added zippy graphics and a shaky editing pattern, but it doesn’t work. The commercial, not helped much by a languid music track, appears like a corporate department head making some yawny internal presentation to his assorted bosses. In fact, the commercial is so irritating to watch, I am amazed the big bosses at Essar even allowed it to be aired!


Net-net: ‘Let’s begin’ isn’t a bad thought. Go back to the drawing board, people. Ask the ad agency chaps to leave the pub ASAP, and get back into their brainstorm rooms. ‘Let’s really begin’ should be your own internal slogan. We kinda don’t care much to watch your boardroom presentations in our living rooms.   
Anil Thakraney


-- Sucheta Dalal