former CEO, Lowe Lintas, and current regional MD, South East Asia & Australasia, McCann Worldgroup
"To wit, some questions that might be keeping industry leaders awake at night: How are we preparing our agencies for Procurement and industry consultants who will soon start interrogating our costs using global benchmarks? How seriously are we investing in our analytics to measure ourselves against the results of our work versus dubious creative accolades? How ready are we for that digital explosion we know is coming? How are we revamping our production systems in preparation for clients that will shortly demonstrate its commoditisation and rip it out of the creative agencies(along with the nice margin it brings)? And most critical of all, how are we managing and building our people?"
worldwide chairman and CEO, JWT
"What happens with a lot of client relationships is that strong relationships tend to be organic and iterative so that as you are developing work, sometimes you end up going down a road that isn’t anticipated and that can result in an idea that adds value in a way that wasn’t originally conceived. A perfect example is De Beers. We did more than create advertising for De Beers. We created product ideas that generated billings as well as retail value. In hindsight, we never really monetised that with our client because it was a natural evolution of how we were working with them. It was great for us, because it became a great case study for us so we leveraged it in other areas."
CEO, Starcom MediaVest Group
"Our top priorities are three-fold. We really want to make sure we have a strong local base of clients and we combine that with a strong group of multinationals. We’ve got an amazing group of technology clients that we handle here in India and we want to add more to our portfolio there. We really want to continue to take advantage of our diversified services companies here - we have a formidable group of companies that do everything from sports marketing to events to in-store. Lastly, it’s really about talent and getting ready for the digital future. India’s still very much an analog market but we do believe the digitisation of content is happening here, maybe a little more slowly, and we want to get our talent ready for that, maybe with new tools, training, programme development and systems they can employ."
CEO, EMEA & India, Saatchi & Saatchi X
"If you talked to me 5 years ago about Saatchi X in London, I would have talked to you about shopping, shopper campaigns, how to get the most out of Diwali, category reinvention, change the experience in the store etc. Now, I’ll talk to you a lot about searching. 20 per cent of my business now worldwide is in digital, in search optimisation and how you build tools that take a shopper from the web to the site and back again in most situations. When we did research about how people go about their shopping lists in India, so many of them do it on their mobile phone. People talk about the future of in-store communication being the screen; that’s definitely the case but it’s not the 48- inch plasma screen, it’s going to be that mobile screen in your hand."
chairman and CEO, Leo Burnett Worldwide
"‘HumanKind’ is a book about putting people at the center of everything that we do, understanding people’s behaviour and our client’s purpose as it relates to people’s behaviour and then using that to inspire creativity. The real thrill of it all is that creativity has the power to transform human behaviour and that’s what this book is all about. It’s about what is possible today, all facilitated by technology."
chief creative officer, Leo Burnett Worldwide
"People live their lives in real time. They get things instantly. They want things that are far more responsive to the world that they live in. So, to really keep pace with people and with society, agencies have to change the way they create and develop communication in today’s landscape. Both Tom and I passionately believe in the power of creativity and imagination; that’s our currency."
president, JWT International
"[At Contract next year] First is a continuous push behind product excellence. I just want to have it more visible, and a higher award tally than that of the past would be good. Second, we would love one new big piece of business. Three, like any other agency, we have to see how we best manage the transformation into the digital space. We will see very strong acceleration in the digital space even from last year’s "It’s a nice thing to have" to "It’s a playing field". We have now increasingly moved to "20 per cent of my total communication is digital. No discussion." From a "nice-to-have", it’s a "must-have". It’s not just to get in one digital savvy creative leader or planner because it really affects the whole composition and the talent mix in the agency. You have to have people who are skilled in data analytics, digital strategists, and people who will understand media. To get that mix, you have to attract people who will believe in our efforts to get there."
chairman and CEO, Grey Worldwide
"But the thing that we need to see and I want to see and Tim (Mellors) is very focused on is consistency of work across markets.We need to have our major countries in Asia, India being for us the best example, winning or getting recognition in the big international award shows. So, last year in Cannes, for example, Grey globally doubled its Cannes Lions tally and for the first time Grey went into the top 10 at Cannes.This is a major shift and it’s indicative of what we have been talking about in terms of our strategic mission.
India has got to begin to contribute to that. It has the talent, certainly. And now the will to do so. And I think now we created the focus, the clear objective to see India competing in and contributing on a global scale. So, that’s one important way I would like to measure."
editorial controller, BBC Global News
"Inspiration comes from the unlikely places. One such moment came when I was reviewing a report from one of the BBC’s best journalists, Lyse Doucet, in Afghanistan. From a remote and hostile location, she told the story of an expectant mother and the desperate attempts by pitifully resourced medical staff to save her unborn child. "This", she said with no exaggeration, "is the worst place in the world to give birth." It was an intensely moving piece, but it also got me thinking: if parts of Afghanistan are the worst places in the world to have a child, where would be the best? And where does my family’s own experience fit onto that scale?
This was the starting point for a new editorial initiative at BBC World Service, BBC World News and BBC.com – Extreme World. It is not a season of programmes, but a themed approach to a selection of editorial content."
president and CEO, CNBC
"Well, we have one subscription product on the web right now at a nominal sum of $10 per month, where CNBC US, CNBC Europe and CNBC Asia can be streamed. Our internet business is ad-supported. We’re watching with interest as some of the others have decided to go for subscription or ad-based revenue models. So we’re studying that. At this point, we think we have the right mix for us."
Sir Martin Sorrell
"But we’re not in the widget business or in the cardboard box business and I don’t think you can buy what we sell in that way. But I think that’s partly because we don’t articulate the case for our industry in an effective way. In the long term, people see that in packaged goods, those companies that invest in advertising and promotion have grown their sales by about 30% more and profits by about 50% more than any of their peers who cut their media profit advantage. We don’t make that case as violently and as strongly as we should. Essentially in that environment, the big battalions do better than the small ones. The smaller independents get a lot of ink, but that’s what makes the business. If you look at the statistics, it tells you one thing: the bigger are getting bigger. The big ones restructure themselves in different ways to accommodate the small ones. If you look at the map of WPP, it’s not one monolithic brand, it’s about a 100 brands."
president & COO, Cheil Worldwide
"The sub-continent cannot be looked at as one country and one market. As far as India is concerned, we’ve got our office in New Delhi, but we really have to start looking at the other parts of India. It’s such a vast and fast-growing market, and it’s growing exponentially. . We haven’t taken a conventional route to solving our issue there. What we wanted was something that would bring a real Indian understanding of the marketing context. Again, so many groups export what they have from headquarters and say, "Do this." My philosophy is absolutely the reverse. You need to appreciate the fact that the local talent understands the market. Very often, if you don’t have your methods and business philosophy aligned, then it just won’t work. Someone in Mumbai can’t tell someone in Paris or London how to run their business. So you find people you trust, find people who buy into your business and hope for the best."
"Clients have different needs in different places. There was a time when a full service agency did everything that the advertiser wanted. Generalists still exist. But increasingly in new areas like digital and social media, clients are outsourcing work from the main agencies to sub contractors. They are opting to go directly to the subcontractor by paying half the cost of doing it through the agency. You may not get the agency’s strategic contribution, but the client may not actually need that. Actually what they might need is execution, so there is no real need for them to pay twice the price to do it through somebody else. It’s a trend that will happen elsewhere too."
TBWA Worldwide’s chief marketing officer
"We (in the advertising industry) are great marketers for our client’s brands but we work on the task of trying to build our own brands in our spare time, or in between pitches. We have to be better marketers because that’s how we will build the right solutions for our clients and understand what they need."
CEO, Lowe Worldwide
"Don’t get us wrong, we will always be restless and ambitious about getting the lion’s share in markets like Mumbai, Delhi etc. The rationale of going to Tier II cities is very much a robust business strategy. Is there a basis for clients who want that level of thinking, and professionalism that we can bring? We definitely believe there is a market there to go after."
Kim St Clair Bodden
vice president and executive director, Hearst Magazine International
"There is so much talk about electronic readers like the Kindle or the Skiff, and yet, I believe there is still a wonderful space for magazines. They are so tactile, especially when it comes to women. I do believe that women have a certain sensibility with magazines. They want to curl up on a couch and read through a magazine."
worldwide director – digital practice, Hill & Knowlton
"My belief is that social media in terms of marketing communications is moving really quickly. In India, the biggest demand from clients as well as colleagues is for best practise and case studies. That means that everything that markets like USA have struggled with, over the last few years, India can leapfrog over those issues and move ahead very swiftly."
global CEO, Group M
"Print’ has a brilliant life ahead, but not on paper. We have to stop thinking of print in terms of the delivery mechanism and begin to think about it in terms of the content. In fact, digital delivery of print provides a much richer experience than the paper experience does. Those businesses that define themselves in the business of content distribution will have a bright future ahead; those who focus on the method of distribution, i.e., newsprint will not do well."
author, web visionary, TED speaker
"I think one of the sources of innovation is going to be the non-profit model where getting users to donate in one way or another will keep the business alive. In the US, it works for public radio, which is funded on that model. It seems like an edge-case as most businesses are for profit. But working with such special cases will become more normal and more central to the environment."
group chairman, BBH
"We enter a lot of effectiveness awards around the world, and we talk a lot about effectiveness as an agency. There is no point in our existing if we don’t make our clients’ brands more successful and valuable. There has been a malaise in our industry with an over-concern with recognition by our peers and under-concern with recognition in the marketplace."
COO, Publicis Worldwide
"The concept of creativity is back on the boardroom agenda; even Singapore wants to be a creative country and is actually delivering it. A lot of places where the concept of creativity was rejected 5 or 10 years ago, in the boardroom with finance directors even in big countries, now have it back on the agenda. And it falls upon the shoulders of all those of us in advertising to not throw that away and make the most of this newfound interest in creativity, to show that our industry can grab it and run with it. Which means not doing scam ads for local restaurants, because that is not what I call creativity. What it is about is designing ideas that people want to spend time with and share with each other – what I will call contagious ideas, that will change conversations both now and in the future about brands."
chairman, Cannes Lions Festival
"More than 10% of delegates at Cannes this year are clients. We got around 400 registrations from marketing organizations and will go up to 15-16% of delegates. They add a certain richness to the festival. They are here because they want to understand creativity and how powerful it is. They attend seminars, they see their agency and engage with them away from their offices - all this is enjoyable for all kinds of delegates because we are all in the same business."
president, Leo Burnett Asia Pacific
"Telecommunication is one of the most progressive businesses in the world, and in Asia especially. The speed of growth and development and the need for telecom presents unbelievable opportunities in Asia. If you really go and study the biggest advertisers across many countries in Asia-Pacific, among the top five you’ll find one telecom company. For a fast-moving, modern agency, you need to have one telecom client. That was part of my growth strategy – because through telecom, you can understand people better."
chairman and CEO, Wunderman
"We have the same issue in most markets, of choosing expats versus locals. Most international companies have a hard time retaining talent in India as the market is vibrant and active. So here, the debate is not about expat or local, but retention of talent. What is an expat in India, someone with white skin? It could even be an Indian who has worked in US for 10 years. It is someone who knows the business and can set the ball rolling."
director of digital strategy – Asia, SapientNitro
"The funny thing is- when this problem began to crop up, it’s because awards shows didn’t have enough slots on the form to accommodate more names. That’s a hilarious reason for agencies not to be credited. When we first started submitting digital work at a time when it was very much a traditional media and marketing world, they were used to having only about six people on a team. I would say, ‘Look man, I have about 14 flash guys sit on this thing.’ The simplest thing that awards shows can do- and this is a technology fix for them- they can make a difference and absolve themselves of any guilt by making a little investment in their platform and their submission process."
chairman, CEO & global CCO, R/GA
"The commercials that win here at Cannes are 95% metaphorical. That’s fine, except that I think it’s the wrong structure. You’ve got the agencies, like in India and the US, that are entering and they’re working with these metaphorical constructs. Instead, they should be working with demos of products and services because no one today, anywhere in the world, really cares about the metaphor that connects to some idea around a brand; they’re interested in understanding how does the brand differ? I fundamentally disagree with the structure that goes back to the 1960s and continues with clients spending money with things that I don’t think is effective."
CEO, Cannes Lions Festival
"The biggest observation for anybody looking at the work will be the impact of technology created by working with engineers, inventors and technologists. A huge amount of the work that has won is very sophisticated. The Cyber Grand Prix was a truck driving down the street, and people could tweet their questions to it. That’s a piece of engineering."
chairman & CEO, Publicis Groupe
"The area in which we will be early is clearly digital, and in digital we will explore many operations, and many areas. We will not limit ourselves to web agencies, or mobile communications agencies. We are exploring a lot of possibilities. But one of the consequences of the fact that the market is relatively low compared with the sheer size of India is that there are few operations to be acquired. The second aspect is that it’s relatively funny to say that you have huge resources in technology but most of these resources are devoted to serve export and not inland. The day you will derive some of these resources to serve the inland market, it will be booming."
CEO, Omnicom Media Group, Asia-Pacific
"So we are a full 18 months ahead of where we expected. Jasmin and I have a very stringent plan to manage growth, which we plan to revisit because we have grown so quickly. The job for 2010-2011 is to consolidate, and not to take the foot off the pedal as far as new business and growth is concerned."
vice president & head for APAC & emerging markets, Facebook
"The top three things for brands to think about on Facebook are one, commitment versus a campaign. You have to be prepared to have an ongoing dialogue with users over time. The real value of the community is not a 12-week cycle, it’s an ongoing communication for years. Two, is to ask questions and listen, and be prepared to respond, or you’ll disappoint the audience. Three, you just have to try and iterate. Brands are going to make mistakes because it’s that kind of environment but it’s okay to make mistakes. When you admit, and you’re open and authentic with consumers, they appreciate it."
Mainardo de Nardis,
CEO, OMD Worldwide
"The more the world goes global, the more a number of big countries like India cannot be excluded. So not having a strong Indian presence would create a problem in any global pitch. On the other side, now we’ve got huge help by having possibly the fastest growing agency in India."