Campaign India Team
Dec 30, 2010

The Big Debate: The good, bad and ugly of Indian Advertising: Ajai Jhala

As part of our year-end special, we reproduce the thoughts shared by industry captains on the good, the bad and the ugly of Indian advertising, in conversations with Campaign India. Read what Ajai Jhala, Chief executive officer, BBDO/Proximity India, had to say.

The Big Debate: The good, bad and ugly of Indian Advertising: Ajai Jhala

Observations of the changes I have noticed after being out of the country during the entire 1990s.

Big agencies are still creating the big ideas but within the conventional framework.
The second frontier (TV led) has given way to the third frontier (interactive. not online led).TV programs (with a lot of help from Endemol) have become more entertaining than TV ads.
Brand management has gone up stream. CEOs/CMOs are the new brand managers.
The best planning seems to happen in the creative department.
Long range communication planning is being outsourced to consulting companies.
There have been a few Cadbury UK Gorilla type of breakthrough campaigns.  But one has even come close to achieving the depth, width and stature of the Honda UK Power of Dreams brand idea.
The idea of authority has given way to the authority of ideas.
There is an acute shortage of female creative talent. 
Media have muscled their way to the top table.Agencies have become gentrified and lost touch with the artists who flourish on the edge.
Indian pop culture (cinema, art, design) is showing us the third way- meaningful entertainment.At last a lifetime achievement award with greater emphasis on achievement than lifetime. 
Agency compensation has headed southwards and is impacting the ability to attract and retain talent.
Brands are increasingly thinking national but acting regional.  

Campaign India