What kind of work / campaigns / events impressed you the most in 2011; and why?
Work that had a strong insight based idea at its core and which got people to take ownership of it, so that they took the idea forward. Airtel’s ‘Har ek friend zaroori hota hai’ is one such example. A very likable ad, but then taken forward by people as they did their own takes on it. This ‘user generated content’ is the hallmark of an idea that successfully starts a conversation around the core brand idea, creating a buzz that results in higher saliency and, hopefully, better business. And when I hear the same jingle playing as people’s ring-tones and caller-tunes, it seems to me that here is work that has truly connected with people at all levels.
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?
The semi-urban and rural markets have huge untapped potential to drive growth across categories, owing to the relatively lower penetration of most categories in these areas. But the challenges faced by businesses in converting these markets are not easy to overcome. Having said that, I do believe that the urban Indian market still has untapped potential that will continue contributing to the growth story for some time to come.
How can we sustain a strong and diverse talent pool in ad land which has equity across the globe?
By recognising and rewarding our stars and inspiring the next generation to push themselves and their clients for great work.
Harish Manwani, the COO of Unilever said: India is the future of the world. Does this statement reflect the reality? Your comment.
Absolutely! I am here, am I not?
If you had to start this business all over again in 2011, you would ...
Invest strongly in developing the digital thinking and execution capability within the agency.
If you could design the Indian business for 2012 with a clean sheet of paper, what were the three things you would do?
1) Develop the agency’s digital capabilities.
2) Get the best creative talent to work with us. Not just the best ‘advertising creatives’, but the best creative minds, including the strategic thinkers. This may mean working with new models of engagement. But it is very important to cross fertilise our thinking with these people, even if they are not our employees.
3) Get all this talent to come together as one team, sharing the Saatchi & Saatchi dream of creating world changing ideas that transform our clients’ businesses, brands and reputations.
What do you ask the person in the mirror every morning?
I tell myself to hurry up shaving, get to work and start making things happen!