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Interview: Nitin Mathur, Senior Director - Marketing, Yahoo! India

In a conversation with, Mathur talks about the awards, the digital medium and the company's new initiatives

The Yahoo! Big Idea Chair Awards this year leaped to a next level, with a phenomenal response of 284 entries from 57 agencies covering over 90 brands. caught up with Nitin Mathur, Senior Director - Marketing, Yahoo! India, at the awards ceremony held on Wednesday evening in New Delhi’s Leela Kempenski. Mathur has played a pivotal role in the launch of several integrated marketing campaigns with a clear focus on consumers. Prior to Yahoo! Mathur has served as a Director of Marketing at Sapient. In a brief conversation with Neha Saraiya, he talks about the awards, the digital medium and the company’s new initiatives. Excerpts:

What is the idea behind Yahoo! Big Idea Chair awards?

It is about recognising excellence in digital advertising. We believe that one big driver for the growth of digital advertising is creative ideas. Thus, as a market leader we feel that it is our responsibility to look at bright ideas and show it to the world, and if we keep it doing constantly, it will be a great boost to the world of digital advertising.

This is the second year of the awards. What changes have you made this time?

Yahoo! Big Idea Chair Awards has existed as a brand for several years now. Earlier, the awards were a part of larger advertising festivals like the Effies, but we realised that we were not able to reach out to more people in digital advertising. So we decided to do it as our own event. In terms of changes, there are two things we have done this time. What we do is that after every award we go to the industry and enquire what is working and what is not working. Thus, we realised that we need to add more categories. Second, we have sharpened and defined the categories as the digital medium is growing and it is important to look at specialisation. Also, in terms of submission, the response has been overwhelming with 284 entries. This makes our belief stronger that people are recognising these awards as the industry standard, especially among the new breed of marketers and agencies.

So, out of nine categories, which are the three new awards added this year?

We have added ‘Best Use of Social Media’, ‘Best Use of Technology’ and ‘Digital 360 Award’ this year.

And which was your favourite campaign this year?

It is definitely the campaign that won the Yahoo! Big Idea Chair, that is, the Fox Crime India’s ‘Photographs Case’ by OgilvyOne Worldwide.

How are these awards different from the events that Yahoo! organises in other markets?

We do these awards in some markets in Asia Pacific and we used to do it in the US in the early days when digital marketing was coming up. The markets are different in terms of maturity, especially North Asian markets where the internet penetration is 50-75 per cent, and the market dynamics are quite different. In India, people are dabbling and experimenting in digital advertising. We are hoping that we reach that level very soon. Also, in terms of ideation, India is definitely on a par with global markets.

The last campaign that Yahoo! came up with was in 2009. The “It's You" marketing campaign was a $100-million campaign. So when do we see the next big Yahoo! campaign?

Right now we are continuing with our positioning as a premier digital media company. There is a lot of emphasis on content and to deepen the content in different segments like lifestyle, Bollywood and cricket. Also, the emphasis is to make sure that we add a lot of video intent to these verticals as all these are now leaders in their category. Besides this, we also look at growing in the regional space. Like we recently launched in Marathi with a partnership with Lokmat. These are newer things that we are doing currently.

Finally, what’s your take on digital advertising in India?

I think there are plenty of pure digital agencies but less of pure digital campaigns, so we hope that we get to see some more campaigns based on the digital medium in coming years.

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