D-Code 2022: 'The correct phrase is one that describes an equal relationship, where agencies brief the brand back'

Here’s what P G Aditiya, co-founder, Talented and Sidharth Shakdher, executive VP and CMO, Disney+ Hotstar, had to say at The Advertising Club's event

Aug 28, 2022 02:18:00 PM | Article | Eularie Saldanha

The Advertising Club hosted the third edition of D-Code on 26 August in Mumbai. 
 
P G Aditiya, co-founder, Talented, who was one of the speakers at the event, started off by citing a poem ‘The White Man’s Burden’, by English novelist Kipling. 
 
He used this example to set context for the most liked campaign that his agency worked on. Aditiya named Vice News’ ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’, which was created by Dentsu Webchutney (at the time he was still at the agency).
 
 
The British Museum is allegedly the world’s largest receiver of stolen goods. The campaign featured narration from people who came from the countries that the goods were stolen from. “The white man indeed has a burden in the 21st century, which is, he’s carrying the sins of the actions of his ancestors,” said Aditiya. 
 
After playing the campaign which won India several awards at various festivals, he explained how the idea for the campaign came about, its challenges and the impact it had. 
 
“Zing Tsjeng had a show called Empire of Dirt, which highlighted the intergenerational trauma caused by colonialism. While watching one of the episodes, the idea of teleporting objects away from the British Museum dawned. Instead of doing a regular presentation, we decided to do an entire scratch film to pitch to the Vice team. They liked the idea, but we needed a cultural historian to make sure that every single thing in the filters was accurate. None of the teams had ever stepped into the British Museum before and so they had to study the entire layout of the museum, including where a certain piece was placed." 
 
Sharing why the campaign achieved the success it did, he said, “This was possible because we were not chasing a deadline and weren’t looking at taking this live on any particular day. In fact, we pushed the deadline four times. This is simply what happens if you give your work time.” 
 
Picking another piece of work from an agency he did not belong to, he named Ogilvy’s campaign ‘Not Just a Cadbury Ad’, for Cadbury Celebrations. This ad used machine learning to recreate actor Shah Rukh Khan’s face and voice, to take the names of the local stores in their ads. Small store owners too, could promote their own business using social media. 
 
 
"All of us as an industry should be really proud of the Cadbury pieces. Ogilvy and Mondelez have shown us what happens if you have a long-term client-agency relationship. It gets better and better. They’ve given time to their whole relationship and see the work they’ve produced,” Aditiya added. 
 
Cracking the digital code, he believed that what ends up on social is social. “When was the last time you saw a fantastic newspaper ad on the newspaper, and not on your twitter timeline or other social media?, he asked. 
 
According to him, a TVC is not just for TV, but a TV-led viral opportunity. Whereas, a print ad is a print-led viral opportunity. 
 
Tips to crack the digital code:
  • The sooner we start to reframe our thinking, the broader it gets.
  • Stop using the phrase proactive ideas. The correct phrase that we should begin using is one that describes an equal relationship, with ideas where we brief the brand back. The more we do that, the more the proactive ideas would actually be respected and a lot of good stuff comes out of it.
  • Credit generously. All pieces of digital work never happen through one partner alone. The better we credit the partners we work with, the better the work is. It’s not just a good thing to do, but the only way to make work more effective. 
Sidharth Shakdher
 
The executive VP and CMO, Disney+ Hotstar, stated that what excited him the most about the event, was the fact that everything he was thinking about, was building self-maximising marketing loops. 
 
Shakdher shared how his team was up against a task, since people preferred watching cricket on the big screen and not the small one. “We realised that one of the benefits of watching on a big screen, was that you get a lot of people to watch it with you. It’s got that human element. What people are looking for is a human connection. Using that, we wanted to do away with the narrative that digital drives people apart.”
 
His favourite campaign from Disney+ Hotstar was Vivo IPL’s #KoiYaarNahiFar (no friend is far), which was based on Indian superheroes who couldn't get their friends to watch the match with them.  
 
 
Naming a campaign from outside of his workplace, like Aditiya, Shakdher also picked Ogilvy’s campaign ‘Not Just a Cadbury Ad’, for Cadbury Celebrations. “You seldom see an ad campaign that can actually talk to the end consumer, as well as your supply side. This campaign sets up a virtuous cycle with your partner, who’s able to create his own customised ad for his input, and that drives demand. It’s helping the brand, partner, and inspiring other people to become Cadbury partners, and that’s really powerful,” he added. 
 
According to Shakder, digital marketing campaigns have to be able to pivot objectives. He believed that if one was looking at a conversion-based campaign, they should also always have an action based campaign. He surmised, “Your conversion could be a purchase, but your action could be an add to cart, reading a product retail page, or anything. Always know what works better for you, for conversion.”