We kick off the series with an interview with Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director of Ogilvy & Mather India and South Asia, and president of this year’s Spikes Asia Craft jury. In a chat with Campaign India, he speaks about the role of creativity in the current economic context and what he will be looking for, in his role as jury president.
1. What do you see as the role of creativity in the context of the current economic slowdown, do you feel there is added pressure on creativity given the increased demand for effectiveness by clients?
Creativity always has a huge role to play in any economic slowdown. Yes, there is an added pressure on creativity to achieve greater impact, but this we must see it as an opportunity and not a burden. Results in these tough times will perhaps lead to greater belief amongst clients in New York and more edgy work.
2. As jury president for the Craft category, what will you be looking for, in the work this year?
The role of Craft is to embellish an idea, to make it come alive and ensure that it’s more powerful than the original thought. Our Jury will be looking for all such pieces of work where the Craft has taken the idea one notch higher.
3. Indian ad folks, for long, have complained that Indian advertising has not got its due at global award shows because of the lack of understanding of the cultural context. How far does a platform like Spikes address that issue, according to you?
Yes, it was a feeling in the past that the cultural context of Indian ideas were sometimes missed out by International Juries. However, times are changing. The recognition that The Times of India commercial got this year at Cannes is perhaps an illustration of this fact. Times of India has done even better work in the past which did not even make it to the Finalists, seven to eight years back. However, I must also add that the overall Indian work is getting better and perhaps there will be no reason for anyone to complain. Spikes is always a good platform as whatever is recognized here gets to be seen by the International community and they have the opportunity of understanding / appreciating the work long before they get into their own dark rooms for judging.
4. What is your view on Asian advertising in general from a craft point of view? How has the craft aspect evolved over the years in Asia?
Asian advertising Craft has always been unique. It has been great in some places for a long time, it is getting better in others now. Singapore has a long history of doing great Print work and it has been recognized around the world for its exceptional Craft. The good thing about all this is that India has learnt to address all these diversities very often with a single piece of work. Thailand and India have also been recognized for their Film work from time to time. We are getting better as we go along.
5. The term ‘Asian advertising’ covers a vast landscape, there is India, Singapore, China, Indonesia, and Thailand among others. Do you see a common thread/thought running across these diverse cultures in terms of the advertising communication work that each country represents?
I agree that ‘Asian advertising’ has a vast landscape. In fact India itself has a very vast landscape. What with twenty odd languages, diverse cultures and the social economic divide. Thailand has always been unique and has never been shy of using popular culture in its communication. If I was to sum up, there is a distinct sense of pride amongst the Chinese, Indonesian, Thais and the Indians. They have been doing work which has been impacting their audiences before they started impacting the Award Juries. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about Singapore. Singapore’s work is highly recognized at Award Shows and is truly great on its own, but whether it impacts its people with the same intensity is a bit of a question mark in my head.
The newly launched Spikes Asia will be held from September 16 to 18, 2009 in Suntec City, Singapore. The three day festival, which aims to celebrate the best of Asian creativity, is jointly organised by the International Advertising Festival, organisers of Cannes Lions, Dubai Lynx and Eurobest and Haymarket Media, publishers of Campaign India and Media magazine in Hong Kong.
For more details, log onto www.spikes.asia