Manmohan Taparia
Jan 03, 2012

Looking back: 2011, Going ahead: 2012 - Anil S Nair

Continuing with the series, Anil S Nair, chief executive officer and managing partner, Law & Kenneth shares his thoughts

Looking back: 2011, Going ahead: 2012 - Anil S Nair

Looking back: What have been the macro-level gains for India in 2011? 

The Year 2011 was quite a mixed bag for India, with more unpleasant affairs to showcase. There isn’t much to talk about as far as the growth story goes. Inflation has been a dampener and the weakening rupee against the dollar has added to the uncertainty. Probably the only highlight that I can think of is the ‘People Against Corruption’ movement, which for the first time brought the ‘silent’ middle class into the thick of the political theater. This awakening was largely fuelled by broadcast media and social media which itself is a victory for the people.

What kind of work / campaigns  / events impressed you the most in 2011; and why?

a) Hero Motocorp’s ‘Hum main hai hero’ campaign.
We are extremely proud to have created one of the most memorable campaigns in the recent years without resorting to the usual gimmicks that the advertising industry has fallen prey to. Personally I believe this campaign connected with the masses because of its simplicity and raw honesty.

b) Airtel’s ‘Har ek friend zaroori hota hai’
A brilliant insight and a groovy track made that campaign sticky especially with the youth of the country. A long overdue communication success for Airtel.

c) India Against Corruption
For me this has been the campaign of the year because it engaged the much disinterested middle class and the youth with a core issue that has deep significance in the progress of the nation.

They say growth in India will be driven by rural markets, the 350 small towns spread across the country and PSUs. True or false ? And why or why not?

I disagree that the growth can only be attributed to this. The fact is that ‘inclusive growth’ isn’t happening. Yes all of the above have a significant role in moving the economy forward but the rural consumption or the PSU Navratna’s cannot claim sole responsibility for India’s growth, however decelerated it might be.

How can we sustain a strong and diverse talent pool in ad land which has equity across the globe?

Indian ad land is facing  a ‘ticking time bomb’ on the talent front. We are unable to retain or add exciting talent to the industry simply because we are not in a position to meet their economic aspirations. Barring few visionary companies most of the marketing organisations spend substantial energy in ensuring that agencies earn lesser and lesser every year. Media cost inflation gives a false impression that the ad industry is growing. Nothing can be more far from truth than this. This issue needs immediate addressal otherwise recession wouldn’t be the key issue that advertising industry and their clients would be hit with in 2012.I am not worried about losing senior talent to other markets. I am really worried about our inability to fill that vacuum when it happens.

Harish Manwani, the COO of Unilever said: India is the future of the world. Does this statement reflect the reality? Your comment.

Its bit of an overstatement if you take it as absolute. What he probably would have meant is, India has a key role to play in the global market place in the near future. We have miles to go to even come upto South East Asian Standards as far as infrastructure and health care is concerned. The bureaucratic red tapeism and lack of political will are two devils who can ruin the party for us. 

If you had to start this business all over again in 2011, you would ...

…….Be far more aggressive when it comes to demanding value for our services offered. We would waste less time on non – productive assignments and would focus on adding value and thereby creating value for ourselves.

If you could design the Indian business for 2012 with a clean sheet of paper, what were the three things you would do? 
1) I would create a culture of integrity and transparency.
2) I would encourage businesses to move out and de-congest the cities.
3) I would make ‘contribution to society’ one of the key parameters of measurement of success.

What do you ask the person in the mirror every morning?

How are you going to add value today?

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