I was assigned to a very high-profile print project commissioned by a well-known hotel brand to promote their new wedding venue, specifically targeting Indian couples.
Our client represented the marketing department of this hotel and was based in Singapore.
Client: We want to expand our market in India, so we need an ad campaign that understands Indian culture.
Me: Well, I’m Indian, our company is based in India, and we’ve done a lot of research into Indian advertising demographics, so you’ve come to the right place!
Client: Excellent. Here is what we want…
The client briefed us, and it quickly became clear that they had little knowledge of Indian design motifs, popular color schemes, and culturally-significant characters that should be used when targeting an Indian audience. Everything they were insisting on was very Chinese, and wouldn’t have appealed to the audience they were trying to court.
We tried to guide them away from their initial requests, offering multiple drafts that reflected our research and cultural experience. They were all rejected.
Client: You keep turning in this work which is unacceptable. We’re not going to pay you for these drafts. It is clear to use that you have failed to understand Indian culture.
My boss, a 30-year veteran, then decided to drop this client in what was her studio’s first ever failed project.