The biggest event of 2011 was the resurgence of creative entrepreneurship. Amongst dozens of start-ups, the most successful ones were Taproot India and Creativeland Asia – both have not only given nightmares to the biggies, but have actually managed to make global holding companies queuing up to get a piece of them. Such an event had only happened 30 years ago, when the great Mohammed Khan’s Enterprise, Ravi Gupta & Christopher Rozario’s Trikaya, Ashok Kurian & Elsie Nanji’s Ambience, and Gautam & Gopi Kukde’s Avenues were set up. Subsequently, all Indian agencies sold out to MNCs, the latest being Mudra.
Another notable development has been the new-found creative confidence of the next generation of creatives – Agnello’s blockbluster work for Pepsi and Airtel, insightful work by Kenu and Manoj for Cadbury’s, Nitesh Tiwari’s work for KBC, world-class craftmanship by Rajiv Rao and Prakash Varma for Vodafone, Paddy’s immaculate print craft, and Raj Kurup’s new age creative solutions for Audi are some of the shining examples. It’s not surprising that the world has stopped judging Indian creativity by the number of D&AD Pencils. After all, popular cultures are being respected more now than ever before.
One cannot ignore the efforts of Shashi Sinha in making GoaFest a controversy-proof, defamation-suit-proof, a result leak-proof award show. And finally, Effies got its due by attracting and earning the respect of both creative and client communities, and planners are not certainly complaining.
While television commercials still continue to contribute 70 per cent of mass advertising, digital and new mediums continue to disappoint. While the absolute volume may not have grown, some clients have been brave to do the new – Audi using 3D technology, Coke launching Coke Studio property without any traditional advertising, Vodafone continuing to impress with new thinking by giving Santa some rest, and P&G daring to launch new thinking with Gillette’s ‘Shave-Sutra’. Hope more brands take the plunge in 2012.
As the country is witnessing its worst trust trauma, everyone is viewed with a suspicious eye, be it the Prime Minister or an army officer or a municipal clerk or an industrialist or a journalist or a godman – no one has the credentials to weather the storm. Trust and honesty are going to be the most valued premiums in the years to come, therefore, “A trust premium is more valued than a price premium”. Authenticity, honesty and earnestness are going to be the “paths” of the future.
The European debacle is not going to hurt us as much as the other counterparts as far as the growth and the numbers are concerned, but it certainly puts pressure on retaining talent. Independent agencies may gain by luring the needy souls, which may force agencies to run faster to be at the same place.
If the silver lining were to be the clutter breaking ads, then who cares about the financial crisis in Europe.
Hand on my heart, “All izz well”!
(KV ‘Pops’ Sridhar is National Creative Director at Leo Burnett.)