On day one of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Swati Bhattacharya, creative chairperson, FCB India, stated how she believes more in destiny than numbers and how she has a healthy disrespect for it.
“For me, it’s all about the feel factor. I don’t know the numerical aspect of (my work getting loved), but I feel that love before the data tells me whether the campaign worked or not. That’s a very sacred thing,” she said.
Bhattacharya was joined by Bas Korsten, global CCO, Wunderman Thompson and Nadja Lossgott, CCO, AMV BBDO, in a session moderated by Lucy Aitken, head – content, Lions Intelligence. The panel discussed challenges chief creative officers were facing globally.
Aitken asked Bhattacharya if a brand’s conscience should take them towards initiatives like DE&I and sustainability, or should profit margins be the reason for the same.
Bhattacharya said, “While trying to nudge society in the right direction and creating intimacy with our consumers, by talking about something authentic and sustainable, you can’t just be clever about it. Great creative is an economic multiplier but you can’t create your thoughts depending on your profit margin.”
Lossgott recently worked on a campaign for Rexona that took the brand to the Metaverse.
Giving her view about the much-talked-about marketing buzzword, Lossgott said, “What’s amazing about the Metaverse is that we are at the forefront of entering something brand new and one can be whatever they wish to. You can be anything but yourself.”
Responding to a question about ‘inclusive design’, Korsten explained when brands should be leaning towards it.
“You have to go back to the core of what your company does and you have to see how inclusive it is. It’s about making the process inclusive by getting the communities on board. My advice is that get people part of it and learn from them. There’s nothing worse than non-disabled people talking about challenges for disabled people,” he said.
Lossgott and Korsten then discussed a couple of briefs that they got from clients about sustainability and how they tackled it.
Lossgott stated, “As an industry, we have the amazing responsibility to influence long-term goals. We have worked with different companies for the same. One brand, we worked with wanted to showcase air pollution levels in London. So, we put that alongside the property prices and now it’s become law and you have to declare the air pollution data for any address. A change like this demands action.”
Korsten spoke about the agency’s work for Hellman’s during the Super Bowl earlier this year.
The brand approached the serious topic of waste by creating a campaign based on humour.
“The product tastes good. But they also have a purpose at the heart of the brand. The tagline is 'make taste not waste'. So, for the Super Bowl, we wanted to make it come to life. After the pandemic, we didn’t want to push the gloom. And it proved that, even if the problem is quite serious, humour is a good way to tackle things and get people engaged.”
Bhattacharya had a suggestion on how the advertising industry can get a diverse stream of talent together to keep it interesting:
“The agency should give your voice amplification. It should be the Dolby effect for you. We need to keep in mind that we are all consumers. This is why authenticity is important. Don’t just believe in the brand we work on, but the place that we work as well. That gives us strength. The consumer becomes an activist after seeing our work. All this needs a beautiful collaboration where everybody comes together,” she said before mentioning how she moved to FCB.
“I was in my first job for 22 years. I was about to call it a day. I thought I was a hard-working person. But, I was seen as a ‘softy’ because I spoke about feelings, love and desire. Susan Credle had a value for this and that fuzzy logic gave me something to hold onto. My brands and I are now an offering for people that will join FCB,” she added.
The talk ended with two minutes of quick-fire questions posed by Aitken to the panellists:
Creativity is: Everything
The sharpest skill you bring to the table: Relentlessness
How do you relax: I don’t
One trait you value most in colleagues: Honesty
Best thing back in Cannes: People
What inspires you: My kids
Three words to describe being a creative leader: Empathetic, strict and forward
The buzzword you want to banish forever: Leaning in
Challenge facing the industry: MS Teams
Skills you look for while hiring: Passion
What have you learnt over the last two years: MS Teams suck
A helpful tip for aspiring CCOs in the audience: Your teams are everything
Faster, better or cheaper – what’s best: Can’t pick one.
A new piece of tech or platform excites you: Midjourney
Where in the world is the most interesting creative coming from: South Africa
Tip you would share for effective remote working: Constant attention and communication
Your superpower: Turning any clean room into a mess
How do you describe your role to friends and family: Allowing creativity to thrive
What excites you about the next generation of creative talent: How clear they are about likes and dislikes and that they can’t be fooled.
How do you get the most from your team in three words: Love always wins
Three biggest challenges in the day job: Managing home and work, and (struggling with) technology would be two. Thirdly, for the work that I really like to do, there’s never any budget for it. So if there’s a brand that’s in it, they expect me to do it on my own. That hustle makes it a little hard.
What inspired you to become a creative: I love telling stories
A work day in three words: Euphoria, tiredness and nervousness
The one thing you could change in the world: People’s minds
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