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Change is good; it's because of change that youngsters want to join advertising today: Srinivasan K Swamy

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Change is good; it's because of change that youngsters want to join advertising today: Srinivasan K Swamy

Srinivasan K Swamy or popularly known as Sundar, Chairman & Managing Director, RK Swamy was recently honoured with AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award-2016. He received the same award that his father, R.K. Swamy received almost 19 years ago, making them the only father and son duo in the industry to win this prestigious accolade.

Swamy has been active in various industry bodies working towards the growth and development of the advertising industry. He was president of the AAAI for three consecutive terms (2004 - 2007) and continues to take active interest in the activities of the AAAI.He is vice-chairman of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), and a board member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Swamy is serving his fourth term as the president of the India chapter of International Advertising Association (IAA) and was recently elected as senior vice-president of IAA, the global body. He is vice-chairman of the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA), and was earlier, the chairman of the Confederation of Asian Advertising Agency Associations (2008-10).Swamy is also actively involved with socially relevant institutions for the improvement of society.

On this occasion, we caught up with Srinivasan K Swamy for a quick chat. Swamy spoke about the changes in the advertising landscape, the challenges in this domain, his advice for youngsters joining the industry and the overwhelming role of digital in today’s life.


Congratulations on winning the prestigious award. Your quick reaction on this would be…

I have been part of this industry for 18 years now, half the time I have spent as my working life. I would like to think that in these 18 years, I have done something for the industry and therefore, they chose to honour me. I have been involved with many associations and AAAI has been important and I believe in it, as a result of which I have given adequate time to this body.

Prominent changes in the advertising landscape today as compared to when you had joined…

Is there any share of doubt that something has not changed? I think everything has changed. It is like, if somebody would have gone to sleep 20 years ago and wakes up today, he wouldn’t even recognise this industry. It has changed so much. But change is good, it actually keeps you on your toes, it is interesting that because of change, newer and the younger generation wants to come into it. The traditional forms look boring to them and the new forms of advertising throws up new challenges and thus entice them.

Advice for youngsters who are joining this industry today…

I think this is an amazing industry to be in and it is the right time for the youngsters to join this industry. There is so much happening in the technology, new media or the app side, which gives the youngsters a lot of scope to experiment and innovate. The traditional advertising people are probably not as comfortable, so it is the right time for the youngsters to take over.

Any particular category, which you think, is churning out great work…

People of your generation are spending more time on videos to pick up knowledge. My son is 21 years old and he thinks watching television is a waste of time and he sees most of the programmes online, much before it comes on television. He certainly has a prospect to many things in life, including religion, politics and other things. So if you have the inclination to learn, you have inputs of everything that you can teach yourself today.

Any challenges in the industry today…

Challenges are there every day; it was there 30 years ago and it will be there tomorrow as well. So if you think, there are only challenges, you will be gone. Instead learn to accept that challenges also throw up opportunities and that is what makes life interesting.

Your views on the over powering role of digital in today’s work…

The role of digital in today’s work is overwhelming, while it is still not remunerative, but there is still nothing that happens in our life which is not actually anchored on the digital medium. It could be your WhatsApp communication, your Facebook or LinkedIn post. I don’t even look forward to reading the newspaper in the morning because bulk of it is consumed in the previous night from television, social media and apps that I have from various publications. Life has changed so much. The only reason which I like to check the newspaper is only to see the ads which are there. 

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