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‘Time to humanise our communication & engagement,’ says actor Padmavati Rao at OAC 2022

By N Jayalakshmi - August 23, 2022

The talk on the theme ‘Thinking out of the box: How creativity broadens one’s horizons’ on Day 2 of Outdoor Advertising Convention (OAC) by Actor & Director, Poet and Natural Farmer, Padmavati Rao, built a persuasive case for the need to stop the ‘dehumanising’ of marketing communications and instead create experiences that genuinely strike a human connect and are also environmentally responsible.

Businesses end of the day are about people, and the business of out-of-home advertising is as much about people as any other - and perhaps more so - given that it essentially taps into the human need for engagement and sensory appeal. Actor & Director, Poet and Natural Farmer Padmavati Rao, made a persuasive presentation on the theme ‘Thinking out of the box: How creativity broadens one’s horizons’ on Day 2 of Outdoor Advertising Convention (OAC) 2022, held at the Westin Mumbai Powai Lake  on August 17th and 18th.  Padmavati essentially directed the focus of her talk on the need to humanise our interactions and engagements and tap into our core self to unleash creativity.

Her session added a fresh dose of perspectives and gave the audience something new to think about - connecting with their end customers at a human level.  Padmavati in fact set a larger context to the OOH business by reinforcing some fundamental principles of creativity. Indeed at a time when the whole industry is caught in buzzwords like ‘ecosystem’, ‘audience engagement’  and ‘experiential marketing’, Padmavati struck the clarion call to get back to the basics of what these phrases essential mean at a deeper and primal level.

She began by first defining creativity. “Creativity forms part of the self that is immeasurable and it combines the physical, the intellectual, the spiritual, emotional and other selves within us.  Each of this self can be associated with one of the five elements. And the fact is that every human being is creative,” Padmavati explained, setting a broad, philosophical angle to the construct of creativity. 

To drive home her point, she drew on the example of poor, illiterate women in rural India who are part of  grassroot organisations,  and who use their native intelligence and innate creativity to empower themselves and earn their livelihood. 

Padmavati’s essential point was clear - new business marketing concepts and spectacular technology driven engagements are all fine, but we could also do well to look into our own roots and our individual core to connect better with our end customers/audiences in order to arrive at truly creative, human communication narratives.

She also minced no words when she called on the audience to take a pause from the clutter of our immediate world, to take a break from the “dehumanisation” of communication processes,  the visual crowding that inevitably happens in the midst of our business imperatives, and engage with the audience in a manner that is responsible, environmentally conscious, life embracing and sustainable.

“We talk of eyeballs, footfalls, etc., but the most important question to ask is: how do we humanise the process of building connects. We need to make choices that are long term. Creativity is linked to the element of space, which is linked to the ecological or cosmic aspect of the self. We are all children of the Universe, and we have a larger role to play, we can do wonderful things,” she said summing up her thoughts. 

She concluded by quoting the famous lines of American Physicist Robert Oppenheimer, uttered after the atomic bomb he helped build was dropped during World War II, “What have I done”?

“We need to question ourselves and our self appointed freedom and ask ourselves these questions: Who am I? What do I stand for? We need to move from human ‘doings’, to human beings,” she said, leaving the audience with a lot to mull over. 


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