Years come and go but each year leaves behind its own learnings. 2011 was no different. Ad industry leaders share the lessons that they learnt and how they foresee the shape of things in 2012
Surbhi Chawla | Delhi | January 2, 2012
Whenever a year draws to a close, it is not just about a new beginning but also about retrospection. The idea is to assess what could have been done differently, gather one’s forces anew and make a fresh start. BestMediaInfo spoke to a few advertising industry leaders to find out how they viewed the year just gone by and what should be the things to look forward to.
Prasoon Joshi, Executive Chairperson & Regional Executive Creative Director, McCann Erickson India and South Asia, said, “2011 was not an easy year and the current climate around us indicates that 2012 may not be an exceptional year. In such a scenario, the industry will have to keep holding to its consistency. Our consistency will be very important to us.”
According to Swapan Seth, CEO Equus Red Cell, the new year will see clients becoming more demanding and impatient. He said, "I firmly believe that 2011 was the year of the dark horse agency. The non-affiliated agency breasted the tape time and again. TapRoot was a mighty fine example of this. Large clients showed their middle finger to mediocrity and walked out of boring marriages to jump into bed with charming creative cleavage. Clients and agencies were still grappling with social media and its many nuances. 2012 will see even greater client impatience and a search for agencies that bring a contrast and not a damn contract to the relationship."
Josy Paul, Chairman & National Creative Director of BBDO India, said that he cannot speak for the industry but only for himself. Talking about learnings, he said, “I learnt that there is no security, only opportunity. And also, clients are braver than advertising agencies. I also realised that life feeds Facebook, and not the other way round. I have learnt that when your brand has purpose, there's a lot more energy in the room and in the team. I have come to know that advertising has the power to create social movements. I learnt that people buy dreams, not briefs. I have discovered that in today's highly fragmented media world, the only glue is the idea. I learnt that you don't have to be from New York, Brazil or Australia to influence the world or dominate the award shows. I have come to understand that news is more exciting than advertising. I learnt that advertising is just about a few good people. I have realised that anything is possible. It's a great time to be in advertising.”
What can we expect in 2012? Paul’s mantra: “To create more acts, not ads. To create brand platforms, not just slogans. To break the walls between digital, media, PR, outdoor, activation… and work in a collaborative way for the greater good of brands and society. To encourage talent from the regions, to hear new voices and listen to the young everywhere. To meet new people, invite new influences and experiment with ideas that don't feel like advertising. Most importantly, to work with photographers, film makers, illustrators, designers, artists, musicians, dancers and explore new dimensions in communication – to usefully integrate brands in the life of all Indians.”
Priti Nair, Founder, Curry Nation, shared a similar outlook. “I think 2011 was a little more edgy on TV, while one saw online shine. Brands were looking at means to engage with their audiences and demanded more from the bucks they were spending. 2012 will be another trying year as whenever there is an uncertain environment, ad revenue is among the first to take a hit. Clients will become a little more fussy and it will be a challenge to crack the big ideas.”
Santosh Padhi, Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder, TapRoot India, felt that it will be all about “ideas”. He observed, “2011 was a good year and good things were happening especially for small agencies like ours, Law & Kenneth, CreativeLand Asia and Ideas@work. There was enough proof that it is ideas that matter in this industry. It is not about the number of people in an agency that makes the difference but the kind of people. That CreativeLand Asia was able to bag Audi india’s campaign and TapRoot too got some part of Airtel and Pepsi’s campaign is a sign of this. However, I feel that in 2011 the overall industry has not been able to reach that kind of creativity level. Hope 2012 will be able to bring in new talent, which will help us fill the blanks that were missing so far.”
Anil Nair, CEO and Managing Partner, Law & Kenneth, said, “Last year has been a mixed bag year. As an industry we too are affected by the overall health of the economy as we are the part of the same value chain. As an agency we have done very well. It was also the year where people discovered the value of the new media. Earlier, it was more about people trying out a few things in this sphere and then coming out of it, but now it will be more like ignore at your own peril. Also, brands have now realised that it is neither long-term nor short-term that works for them. Brands should not be looking out for an explosive growth that is not sustainable and the targets should not be so long-term that none survives to see that. There is a need to have decent sustainable growth. So I hope 2012 helps pave way for a long-term sustainable growth.”
Ramanuj Shastry, Chief Creative Officer, Saatchi & Saatchi India, said, “2011 taught us that it was not just enough for people to see the TVC but the stamp of approval came from how well the campaign was shared. The ‘Har Friend zaroori hota hai’ campaign from Airtel and the success of ZooZoos before that are the best examples of this. It started with the ZooZoos, which was a well shared campaign. Currently, the Google Chrome ad is being shared like hot cake. Even the success of viral hits like ‘Kolaveri-Di’ has taught advertisers that you have to engage with people and not talk down to them. TV was earlier the only medium where one could broadcast one’s views but people today want you to entertain them, engage with them. In 2012, I would assume that there will be more ads made that are sharable and are able to connect with consumers.”
So, now we know what would and should work in 2012 because these are among India’s finest creative minds that have the ability to come out with big ideas and drive creativity across the industry. Welcome 2012 and some great award winning campaigns!