Campaign India Team
Jun 02, 2008

Exclusive Interview with TBWA Worldwide CEO Tom Carroll

Tom Carroll, CEO of TBWA Worldwide, was in Mumbai for a one day visit last week when Campaign India’s Anant Rangaswami and Bindu Nair Maitra met him and asked him about the need for change in TBWA India, on the impact of the buyout of the Indian shareholders in TBWA India, on the dynamic changes that advertising is witnessing today, and of course, on the death of the 30 second spot and the holding companies. Read excerpts of the interview here, and the complete interview in the next issue of Campaign India dated June 6, 2008.

Exclusive Interview with TBWA Worldwide CEO Tom Carroll

Tom Carroll, CEO of TBWA Worldwide, was in Mumbai for a one day visit last week when Campaign India’s Anant Rangaswami and Bindu Nair Maitra met him and asked him about the need for change in TBWA India, on the impact of the buyout of the Indian shareholders in TBWA India, on the dynamic changes that advertising is witnessing today, and of course, on the death of the 30 second spot and the holding companies. Read excerpts of the interview here, and the complete interview in the next issue of Campaign India dated June 6, 2008.

Q. Is this a good time for change?

Yes, it’s a good time for change, the dynamics of the market are changing and we have to be prepared for it. I am impressed by how far TBWA India has come in the last few years, in terms of embracing Disruption, Media Arts, the quality of work and the thinking. I am blown away today by how well people can articulate what Disruption is, what Media Arts is…
In terms of change, all offices evolve. Different people take different roles so change is good. We are a very change oriented company. You cannot be one of the world’s great creative companies and stand still…

Q. As TBWA becomes the 100% owner, there would be a lot more involvement one would expect from the global management here?

I would bet you that we will add another 50 people in the next 12 months simply because the market is going to demand it and the network is growing. TBWA India is also growing with the roster of local clients and with the network getting more global clients…
 

Q. Will the 100% ownership see more involvement at the Asia Pacific level?

You need really strong people on the ground, you don’t want people from outside managing India. What you want is the knowledge sharing from around the network; not just the Asia Pacific region but also from around the world…
TBWA India is as good and as integrated as any other office that we have…

Q. Can you share with us where advertising is headed? You described the situation similar to “driving in a fog”…..

I meant that on two levels. On one level, I was referring to the economy. I was also referring to the nature of our business; it’s evolving really fast. There used to be just four different ways of reaching people in our business: TV, radio, print and outdoor. Now you have twenty different ways of doing so. What does digital mean, what does the Internet mean? Some people have moved to extremes, where they are only doing digital. But the fact is, some brands are TV sensitive, some are packaging sensitive, some are event sensitive while some are social media sensitive…
I think the answer is far more balanced with a lot more traditional media in it. TV isn’t going away. I don’t think print is going away. Sure, people can write it off. Sure, the Internet helps you get information in a really quick way, it will help form opinions and it’s still going to be a very important part of what we do…
Technology can help deliver the idea but it doesn’t help create it. Humans are motivated by ideas and creativity, not by technology…

Q. In the last few years, smaller agencies and hotshops have been nipping away at the heels of the bigger networks. How do you see their future?

They will continue to nip. There are always going to be small to medium size agencies in this space. They are in lesser numbers than before so I think the ones that are there now are getting a disproportionate amount of attention. I think they will always be there and that’s good but the truth is, now in this global economy, big is it…
There is this feeling that creativity is in the smaller shops, I don’t believe that. Creativity is in the bigger shops. The bigger the opportunity, the bigger the creative challenge. The best creative people want to touch the biggest creative challenges. To me, I like the future for the big agencies because that’s where the action is. Creative people want to touch the stuff that will get them recognized. Money and recognition happen to be the driving factors in this industry...

Q. Is the industry being forced to become younger?  Has it become a younger person’s industry?

It’s always been a younger person’s industry because it has always been defined by pop culture. Younger people have always been comfortable with popular culture and with the technology of the moment. 22 year olds nowadays are able to multitask in ways that I cannot even imagine. It’s always been a younger person’s business. That’s does not mean there is no room for older people in the industry...

Read the complete interview in the next issue of Campaign India dated June 6, 2008.

 

Source:
Campaign India

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