“Celebrations last 24 hours but the recognitions motivate you for the years to come. So we must concentrate on the motivations we get. It may not be the right time to celebrate, but it is time to introspect if our actions were right enough to make us stronger in future,” said Piyush Pandey, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy Worldwide, in a candid conversation with BestMediaInfo.com on the back of Ogilvy’s recognition as the Network of the Year by The One Show last week.
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Over two dozen Ogilvy offices around the world contributed to the recognition by collectively winning 25 Gold, 17 Silver, 25 Bronze and 73 Merit awards for the clients. This marks the fourth time Ogilvy has been named Network of the Year by The One Show. The previous three times were in 2017, 2014 and 2013—the year the category was launched. This is the agency’s first major global win after Pandey took over the reins as Worldwide CCO a year back.
The current pandemic has caused several industry events and awards to move to digital or even get cancelled, but Pandey suggested that one mustn’t get pessimistic about the situation. He said, “Life will get better, and celebrations will return. If you are unwell, you have to eat khichdi for 20 days. That does not mean you have to eat that life long.”
Excerpts from the chat:
It is your first big worldwide win since you became Worldwide CCO. Who all will you give credit?
25 countries out of 83 have contributed to this big success and the superstars are DAVID Miami and INGO (a joint venture of Ogilvy and Grey based in Sweden). I would credit everyone, including our clients who enabled us to do the kind of work that gets recognised by the industry. We believe that we have the strongest network, which is a great advantage of exchanging ideas and learning from each other. Just imagine if this 25 becomes 40, then what would we do.
Last year was not so good at Cannes Lions and other awards. This year, when you have enough pieces to win, the awards have lost sheen due to coronavirus. Either they have been cancelled or moved online. The other reason is that people or agencies are not in a mood to celebrate. How do you see this situation?
Celebrations last 24 hours anyways, recognitions motivate you for the years to come. So we must concentrate on the motivations we get. It may not be the right time to celebrate, but it is the time to introspect if our actions were right enough to make us stronger in future. What we have learned in the last three-and-a-half months needs to be implemented. How will we prepare ourselves for such adversities? How well are you doing on the creative front? What are the other things that you need to improve yourself upon so that you truly become a creative transformation company?
What are the drawbacks of online awards according to you? I’m asking this because many industry leaders were a little apprehensive about its impact.
I was the Jury President for Film at D&AD. You miss the interaction with human being while judging, but you also miss whatever jugglery or influence you did in person, which you cannot do in an online judging scenario.
As far as impact of online awards is concerned, it depends upon what is the value you attach to an award. If the value is the recognition, which motivates your people, then it does not matter if the award is presented online. Oscar winners will look at their trophies, they will shortly remember that evening but they will remember the moment.
So, should Cannes Lions have moved awards online this year? After all, they are doing all other things online.
Online awards also require people to enter and pay. Their entry deadline is April and by that time people were already in bad shape. So it would not have been the right choice for Cannes Lions to go ahead with the awards. Times were not that tough when entries for other awards took place. It got tougher every passing month.
Would people enter online awards given the situation now?
Even as one enters an award that is taking place digitally, there is a certain cost involved. So, some people have postponed that. Having said that, a few people will enter, looking at their business proposition. Don’t be pessimistic to say that everything will move to digital. Life will get better, and celebrations will return. If you are unwell, you have to eat khichdi for 20 days. That does not mean you have to eat that lifelong.
What is your message to the advertising fraternity struggling to overcome the uncertainty?
You learn in such a situation. The best example I can give is that if your leg is broken and it has been plastered for three months, what will you do? What did Sachin Tendulkar do when he had Tennis Elbow problem, and he had to sit out and watch while aiming to play. That is the time when you introspect and look at your strengths and weaknesses. You slowly strengthen your body because you have to get back to the game. Be hopeful because the people have come out of the World War and again countries have done fantastically. In my lifetime, this is the biggest crisis we have witnessed. But look at people including David Ogilvy himself, who saw two World Wars and dealt with a whole lot of other depressive things, but life comes back, and that’s the human spirit.
This lockdown made me use technology more than I had used it in my entire lifetime.