Is the creative talent in agencies digital-led in its ideation of campaigns today? While a lot of agencies say ‘digital first’ is their mantra, does ideation need to start keeping in mine one medium?
Satbir Singh, chief creative officer and managing partner, Havas Worldwide, cedes that things are changing (with creatives), though he’s quick to add that it’s not at the rate at which the world is changing! “Part of it is also because clients are not pushing agencies yet digitally,” reflects Singh.
While acknowledging that digital is an active and important medium for the brand conversation to flourish and spread, Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO India, points out that while digital is the multiplier, it is not the answer. He explains, “It is about building strong provocative relationships between good companies and their customers on the back of intimate yet social conversations. These conversations happen on the internet, social media and through well planned content across all kinds of media including television.”
Madhukar Sabnavis, vice chairman and country head - discovery and planning, O&M India, voices the view that in the last few years, creative talent has become increasingly digital savvy and sensitive. “They think ideas first and the manifestation could be anything - a film, an activation idea or a digital program or a press ad. That depends sometimes on what the brief says and sometimes on how the idea is best shared. If the brief says a TV campaign, then TV is thought of as the best option. But interestingly, creative talent is naturally simultaneously sharing with me a digital leg or an activation angle for the same,” he elaborates.
While underlining that there cannot be a blanket rule, Vasudha Misra, senior creative director, FCBUlka, adds, “Today we can’t run away from digital. Everything is digital. Including our traditional advertising. That too is shared digitally. So now, it doesn’t matter whether you are doing digital ideas or not, you have to think digitally. For example, will it be shared online or not? And, more importantly, if it will be shared for the right reasons.”
Singh adds, “Digital, on the whole, is no rocket science. If you look at the most successful ‘digital’ campaigns, they all use traditional advertising skills. There’s fabulous copy, great design, and well made films. Plus, and what makes digital great is interactivity.”
“Things are changing fast. A while ago, we were just ‘seminaring’, conferencing about it. But today, it’s different. We are not just talking or thinking but conversations with the consumers in the digital world. For Toshiba laptops, for instance, we did a consumer engagement idea called Missing Files. Toshiba got a huge response for this. And the idea was driven singularly through the digital medium. Within the space of under three months, the Facebook fan page garnered over two lakh fans,” says Titus Upputuru, national creative director, Dentsu Marcom. But he too, is ‘not sure’ if it is the first medium. “At least not yet,” he surmises.
The collective view is it’s still about ‘ideas first’, but ideas that can also lend themselves to leverage digital. Be as that it may, thinking ‘digital first’ has become a fashionable thing to say.
Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO India
“You cannot create engagement by only talking in hash tags! You have to have an idea that moves people and creates worthy word-of-mouth.”
Madhukar Sabnavis, vice chairman and country head, discovery and planning, O&M India
“Some of the interesting work we at Ogilvy have done recently that come to my mind – 5 Star, Silk, Bournville or Google Reunion - have all been done with digital and TV running on parallel tracks in the minds of the creative team, while thinking of solutions for the brand problem or challenge.”
Vasudha Misra, senior creative director, FCB
“Word of mouth, which is a general indicator of a communication’s success, is more often than not, gauged from the online reactions it creates. So, no matter whether you are doing digital work or not, you have to think digitally on all your work.”
Titus Upputuru, national creative director, Dentsu Marcom
“The change is there for everyone to see. It is amazing how the (digital) medium rose ranks in the last two years, to a close number two position now. Will it topple TV? Time will tell. ”
Satbir Singh, chief creative officer and managing partner, Havas Worldwide
“Creative people who start working on this aspect will remain relevant longer.”