Campaign India Team
Nov 03, 2010

Double Standards: Is being in Delhi a disadvantage in adland?

We asked two Delhi hands- JWT's Babita Baruah and W+K's Mohit Jayal the question; one of them is a recent ‘migrant’ and the other a true-blue, Delhiite. And their answers? Well, it’s, Er, Yes and No.

Double Standards: Is being in Delhi a disadvantage in adland?

Do you believe that Delhi agencies and media agencies get less attention than they deserve from various stakeholders (media, clients, agency heads and owners, etc)?

BB: I have been in Delhi for just three and a half months and am therefore too new to justify a “correct” answer. Or talk on behalf of all my colleagues in the industry in Delhi. So am sharing my personal views on this subject.

In today’s convergence, connections and wired up age, location cannot and definitely should not be a factor for getting more or less attention. The question of getting less attention from clients, agency heads and owners does not arise. When it comes to media, I am aware of a general feel of the “Mumbai Circuit” and the advantages.

I do not believe in it. Finally it is all about the work, and the achievements that make us newsmakers and gives us all the attention we deserve.

MJ: I don’t think the proposition holds true any longer, at least not in our category. The conversation is now about quality of thinking, rather than geography. We work with clients and various associates from everywhere - Mumbai, Chennai, Europe, the US, etc., so our teams are always up in the air or online. Where we’re based is not a discussion anymore. Also, many of our clients happen to be based in Delhi - a senior marketer told me that over 50% of India’s marketing spend is now controlled out of Gurgaon, so even if thatʼs roughly accurate, it indicates a big shift in the centre of gravity. Delhi also happens to be home to India’s most successful entrepreneurial brands, which adds to the energy. Having said all that, many members of the the creative community still see Mumbai as the epicenter - but this perception is changing, and fast.

If you do agree with the proposition, what do you think is (are) the main reason(s) for this?

BB: I do not agree

MJ: I respectfully disagree

Do you think that professionals in Delhi agencies do enough to project themselves/the companies that they work for?

BB: Again, it is hard to speak for all professionals in agencies here. But I can speak for myself when I say that if we have the intent, we can definitely find ways to project ourselves, and the work we do in the right forums. If India can sweep awards at Cannes and Spikes , if our professionals get written and talked about overseas, then the question of geography does not arise. Delhi has some of the biggest brands and businesses in the country. Along with this comes opportunities. If there isn’t enough projection, maybe the problem starts with us first. Maybe. Having been here for such a short time, I am not aware of hurdles if they do exist.

MJ: Probably not. The Delhi gang are not as established or organized as their Mumbai counterparts, which may be a function of the old Mumbai dominance. Again, this is changing.

Do you think Mumbai automatically deserves more attention than Delhi does?

BB: I think it does have the advantage of being the hub of most advertising get togethers, associations, awards, head office honchos and newsmaking personalities and therefore being in the spotlight. But like I have said before, I do not feel that being out of Mumbai should handicap or be an impediment for anyone if we have the intent and the output. Finally, if our work and achievements, both professional and even personal, are good enough to meet or exceed industry benchmarks, being in Delhi or Mumbai should make little or no difference.

MJ: I think quality deserves more attention than mediocrity, no matter where it resides. However, a few words in defence of Delhi. This is a city that is buzzing with entrepreneurial energy. We are fortunate to spend a lot of time in meetings with people who have built billion-dollar corporations in the last two decades. That mindset rubs off on everybody here, including Delhi’s marketing community, who are a very progressive bunch indeed. The result is an open, exciting, can-do culture that is a refreshing change from the slightly clannish operating environment in Mumbai. Though to be fair, Mumbai still has two big advantages over Delhi: (a) a large pool of talented creative people, and (b) Piyush Pandey.

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