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Innovation & effectiveness are not mutually exclusive

21-May-2012
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Innovation & effectiveness are not mutually exclusive

MEC is bringing in its 10th anniversary in style. The agency that won an award for India at the Festival of Media Global Awards 2012 also brought home the highest number of Golds at GoaFest’s Media Abby Awards last month. These developments indicate the significant focus MEC India has on awards this year.

Colgate Dental Cream’s ‘Night Hammer’ has become one of the most feted campaigns of 2011 and has won the agency big accolades, globally and locally. As industry observers put it, the best part about this media innovation was the simplicity of the idea. A media agency CEO said, “That was innovation, rooted in a strategic insight, leading to a tangible business outcome.”

For those not in the know, the main objective of the Colgate Night Hammer campaign was to change brushing from being a morning only ritual into becoming a twice a day phenomenon. MEC came up with the innovative idea of distributing a newspaper at night – a first-of-its-kind innovation in India.

The agency’s other big wins have come for three different campaigns for Reliance Communications. After Unilever, Reliance was the advertiser that won most metals at GoaFest Media Abbys 2012.

While globally MEC is an awarded network, T Gangadhar, aka Gangs, MD, MEC India admits that locally, the agency has had a chequered record in the past. He said, “We have been guilty of being self-effacing and not showcasing the stellar work we have done for our clients. But in the last couple of years we have been more aggressive in upping our profile. When strategic innovation sits at the core of the agency, awards become a happy by-product”.

According to Gangs, MEC India has five entries to Cannes this year.

In a sense, the agency took its first baby steps at GoaFest 2011, when it won two Silvers. But this year, by being ahead of all in the number of Golds, MEC has put a far more noteworthy performance.

“What is heartening is that recognition has come on the back of sound, strategic work and not expensive, gimmicky stunts. We have seen a lot of that being awarded but that is not the kind of work we want to do. I am a big believer in the fact that the best innovations are those that come from constraints and challenges and not from infinite resources,” Gangs said.

The personal glory chase, but do clients care?
MEC has even begun encouraging its employees to chase personal glory and create innovative, award-winning work. Gangs noted, “It’s our way of driving a culture of innovation within the agency and there is nothing wrong in it – just as long as the idea is strategic and relevant.”

But do advertisers care? Yes, replied Gangs. He said, “Innovation and effectiveness do not have to be mutually exclusive. Many of our clients are pushing us to create work with award potential and we love them for that. Then again, there are some to whom it doesn’t matter as much – as long our work delivers business results. But even these clients wouldn’t mind winning an award.”

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