Media and advertising professionals give their light-hearted take on how this year’s budget could impact them individually and also the industry as a whole in ‘CNBC Awaaz-Campaign India BUDGET Fun-DAS’. Read the full feature here and catch bytes on CNBC Awaaz
Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman, McCann Erickson India and regional CD, Asia Pacific
The budget will be good for the advertising industry when it is good for everyone. Because if prices for things that we sell and make ads on increase, people would stop going to the shops and you can well imagine what will happen to us. Thus, it is very important that the budget is good for consumers. Only then it will be good for us.
I believe that advertising makes people happy. Children sing along with the ads. Parents are happy. We create a happy atmosphere all around which is a relief for the kind of boring and mundane lives that we generally lead. Now if computer prices are up how will we write good scripts and in turn create good advertising. This will be a loss for the consumers.
Suman Srivastava, CEO, Euro RSCG India
I am a bit of a techie. So I am hoping that some way the price of all the gadgets can come down. Currently $1 is translated to Rs 65 and it makes no sense. I have become a smuggler bringing these gadgets from abroad. I hope the finance minister can bring the prices down and make me a law abiding citizen. With all this confusion about fringe benefit tax, it is complicated to decide whether to send people for Goafest or not. I wish the government could sort its mind out and make it convenient for all of us to send a whole lot of people to Goafest. It is good for the celebration of advertising industry and it is good for our agency morale and finally it is good for the economy. May be that’s the way to sell it to the finance minister. Reduce FBT and get a boost for Indian economy.
Aniruddha Bannerji, chairman, Publicis Ambience
There will be crisis on personal level if petrol prices increase as I have just bought a new big car. I guess I would have to sell it and travel by cycle. For that, I would need strength and would need to consume dal but even dal prices would have increased. I don’t know how I will come to office!
Last year, we did so much cost cutting. I don’t know what more to do this year. I might have to bar phone outgoing for everyone, employees will get less sugar in tea, AC would be off for two hours!
On a good note, if prices for alcohol increase, creative people will consume less alcohol and work more.
We might have to do Goafest in Juhu beach. Also, if other ad agencies spend less money on entries this year, my chances of winning can increase a bit, that’s good.
Bobby Pawar, chief creative officer, Mudra Group
Thanks to the budget, I am happy that I quit smoking sometime back. Now, I can laugh on my friends who still smoke. It would be satisfying to watch them shift from Kings imported cigarettes to bidis. On a sadder note I’ll have to move from drinking single malt whiskey to single malt tharra. I hope they make that because I would like to keep the ‘single’ part in my drink. As far as Goafest is concerned, I think we will have to change the name because I don’t think there will either be Goa or Fest. Ad industry will be able to afford neither. I guess we will see it in Panvel somewhere. Instead of John Hegarty, we could have the head of Panvel Ad Club giving us the seminar. My daughter will be miffed because lollypops will get more expensive and my diet stuff , which I don’t eat anyways, will get more expensive. I will have to eat vada paos and get fatter which does not bore too well for my wardrobe because I’ll have to change it. Moreover, my fellow creatives can kiss goodbye to shoots in Prague and fancy lunches.
T Gangadhar, MD, Mediaedge:cia
One thing I am most excited about in this budget is tax reform which we have been talking about for a long time now. Finally, I will have some money in my hand after all that taxation. That is right on top of my wish list. What I am referring to here is change in the direct income slabs. If that happens it will be big thumbs up for 2010 budget.
From a work point of view, I would hope that this budget would take care of the whole goods and services tax (GST) issue for FMCG products so that our clients start spending more money.
I would like the budget to take care of my spine because my travelling from Bandra to my work place every year is a series of unfortunate encounters with potholes. I really hope that FM has allocated enough money to develop infrastructure.
I hope that excise duties on cigarettes are doubled and tripled which would mean that I would not have smoke all over me.
Rajeev Berry, GM, GroupM ESP
Budget for me is reducing the cost of living. Which means reducing the cost of groceries, my maid, my driver, my cigarette bill, my liquor bill. So, there is a direct impact of budget on me as a normal citizen of India. Infrastructure is pathetic. I spend two hours travelling everyday. Therefore, I am looking at better bridges, better roads, better metros, better bus connectivity which can lead to less stress.
Hans Mathew, partner, Mindshare
Dear Finance minister, please help us with some standard reductions so that I can also get the same benefits as my colleagues who work as consultants and not employees so that it doesn’t increase my burden as far as taxes are concerned and increases my disposable income.Please keep the service tax on media same as compared to what it was last year. Because if you increase service tax, there will be less money spent by the clients as far as advertising is concerned and this would reduce our commissions as media agencies.
My Chivas Regal costs Rs 2000. Can we make it Rs 1500 so that I can have more fun on the weekends? Also, please don’t increase petrol prices as cant afford them. If you do, then I’ll have to depend on good old BEST buses.
Amod Dani, creative director, Leo Burnett
There are a lot of expectations with this budget. Creating a 60 seconder commercial just gets too expensive. It would be great if this year’s budget could bring that cost down.
Awards are really important for us in advertising and Goafest is an important forum to get awards nationally. However, a lot of people are unable to attend Goafest because of the expensive airline tickets. So I hope that there is a reduction in airline tickets prices this year so that more people can go to Goafest.
To get good creative ideas, you need creative juice. Creative juice is of course the alcohol at Madira (the bar next door). I hope there is no tax increase on alcohol, so that we keep getting good ideas and keep our clients happy.
Mayoori S H, account supervisor, O&M
I hope that the taxes on travel are curtailed this time because I take vacations very often. My native place is Bangalore and therefore I travel there very often to see my folks. It would really affect my life if airline tickets prices go up. I would want taxes on luxury items like Louis Vuitton and other branded cosmetics to remain the same. I also hope laptops get cheaper. Also property rates should not go up because I am planning to invest in a flat soon. I wish there was a part in tax where increments for all the employees could be doubled.
Pratap Bose, COO, Mudra Group and CEO, Mudra Max
I think the bill on excise of cigarettes is definitely going to go up and then I would have to move to filter-less cigarettes or start smoking bidis. FM might increase duties on alcohol also and I am only going to have beer then. Less alcohol would also be a good thing for the country as the crime rate would go down.
I think the FM is going to increase the price of petrol, so I might have to buy an auto to travel to office everyday.
Goafest will have to be cancelled as we can’t afford to go to Goa and afford luxury hotels. We can set it up in Matunga and call it the Matunga fest.
There is some indication that service tax will go up from 12 and a half to 20 % so ad budgets would be cut. So, we will have to say bye-bye to making films anymore. We will make small documentary edits as films. TV will suffer and digital and outdoor will become cost effective mediums.
Arundhati Mishra, senior copywriter, Grey
If the clients cut down on the advertising budgets this year, then the bar next door Madira will always be flooded with people as they would have no jobs. Also, the social networking sites would make more money as jobless people would spend maximum time on them. If prices for alcohol and cigarettes increase, our parents would be very happy, doctors would be out of job and creative people will be disappointed because according to them they get ideas with cigarettes and alcohol. Also, brainstorming sessions would get boring without alcohol and cigarettes. If prices for consumer goods increase, then we would stop getting gifts on our birthdays and anniversaries and people would always have the excuse “love is the best gift”.
Vinit Kumar, media group head, LMG
I am wishful about three things from this year’s budget. Interest rate should be low, inflation should be less and tax slabs should go high so that I have more money in my pocket to spend. Lastly, the duties should be less, so that items like cellphones and laptops are cheaper. I am planning to buy a laptop for myself this year.
Sanjay Thapar, group president-north and east, O&M
Hopefully, this year our pockets will get less emptied. I think, because of the younger politicians, the budget will be more progressive this year. Things like luxury items are not looked as luxury anymore and I hope the government drops more duties on them and make them more affordable. Especially things like automobiles and air conditioners. I want the price of alcohol, especially foreign alcohol, to drop. With all this stress about budget, I would need to consume more alcohol. Last year, one of the good things was not removing the surcharge and I hope it remains that way.
Satyajit Sen, CEO, ZenithOptimedia
I don’t think I am getting any benefit out of the budget. My wife might get some tax benefit. That’s good news. My advice is that if tomatoes are getting expensive, eat bhuna masala. The life is going to be how it used to be.
Sudha Natrajan, president and COO, LMG
Somewhere down the line, I have stopped getting bothered about the budget and its implications. The hole in my pocket is becoming larger and larger year on year. So I think even this year, the hole is going to become even larger. Everything I want to spend money on is getting dearer to me.
I have an 8 year old boy, and the kind of things he wants on a daily basis are far bigger than the salary increments I have been getting year on year. I have to pick up a laptop for him and I am wondering if to pick it up before or after the budget. I have reached nirvana as far as budget is concerned. What I have seen is that the budget has only had adverse effects as far as my take home salary is concerned and on the cost of everything that I want to indulge in.
Rahul Lobo, executive-The Exchange, Mindshare
The budget, for someone like me, would entail reduction in entertainment tax. What is the deal about going out, having a drink and the having to pay for entertainment tax, service tax. I don’t want these taxes. What I want to do is, go out, have fun and come back. There should especially be no tax on liquor as with all the taxes at other places, we need liquor to calm down. Why should we have to pay so much tax in India for luxury goods. They don’t have to pay so much tax on those items in the US. I like to travel and so would other people of my age then why so much fuel surcharge! I feel I am paying more than I am earning.
Advitiya Sachdev, creative, Lowe
Basically, I want the budget to cut down on my expenses. I travel a lot to get to work, so I would be really happy if petrol was cheaper. Then a lot of money would be spared for all my other activities-alcohol, parties, cigarettes. Please don’t charge more surcharge on cigarettes.
Neha Bajaj, account manager, BBDO India
I will tell you a brief history about what happened last year. Thanks to the recession last year, most of us didn’t get increments. At the end of the year, I realised that my operation cost had gone up by almost 150% which leaves me with lesser money to party, lesser money to have fun over the weekends. So what I would expect the budget to do for me this year is leave more money for myself. Taxable income has to go low. What government ends up doing is have multiple layers of taxation which I don’t even understand. Fuel prices should either stay the way they are because we are kind of managing to cope up with it or the hike should be completely called off. Most of us, especially those who are working in Gurgaon, travel a long way off and thus, end up spending a lot on travelling.
Ajai Jhala, CEO, BBDO India
Being a regular income tax payer, I have stopped expecting anything from the budget over the years.
This year, I am looking for a new perspective. This year, for me FM standing for my Fitness Minister. I want him to improve my health. I hope he raises price on butter so that I consume less butter chicken.
I also want him to increase the price on alcohol so that I consume less alcohol. Increase the price on petrol, so I will walk more. These are the increases I am looking for to improve my fitness.
I am looking for parity. Instead of spending all money on roads, if he could spend equal money on footpath, it will encourage me to walk better.
Also, there should be deep discounts and holidays for anyone who is in the laughter industry. This will lead to a healthier nation.
Sonali Khanna, AVP, Lowe
One of the things I hope would not happen with this budget is increase in fuel prices. I already spend a lot of packet in travelling everyday from Greater Kailash to Gurgaon which is almost 30kms one way.
For advertising people, this is going to beone of the things that would hit us in terms of travelling to work and also client meetings.
The other side to this would be that people will start carpooling which would be exciting as a whole lot of people would start travelling together.
Also, we love to go out. I hope drinking doesn’t get more expensive. We already end up paying a bomb.
So after a good day’s work, I hope we don’t end up paying so much.
Sumit Jaiswal, media group head, ZenithOptimedia
Just tell me the new tax slabs as I need to know how much the government is going to take away from me this year.