Move over multinational advertiser. For the Indian admen, working on an Indian client is becoming just as hot, challenging and prestigious as any other globally-aligned foreign brand. Not too long back, there was a virtual caste-system in the Indian ad world.
The 'arrived' lot across the advertising discipline-client servicing, account planning and creative-would usurp the MNC client for themselves, with the also-rans saddled with the unglamorous, and often 'boring' Indian ad accounts. Why, you even had agencies (well, some still do) being identified by their one marquee MNC client. Not any more.
“The very idea amongst lot of advertising professionals on MNC clients being a cut above the local is dying fast,” says Santosh Desai, president, McCann Erickson. There are three things that has brought about this perception change. One, a host of Indian advertisers have now adopted the rigorous processes orientation in their marketing & communication, something only MNC advertisers were known for earlier.
In fact, it was this grounding in processes, something only an MNC account provided not to long back, that made lot of ad professionals hanker after these jobs. “In terms of career planning, young ad professionals in the industry used to prefer MNC clients, and some do even today. But by and large, the MNC versus Indian client caste system is fading,” says Nakul Chopra, managing director, Publicis India.
Also, with Indian advertisers becoming big spenders on media, the opportunity for ad professionals to get exposure and get noticed is equally good compared to MNC brands. Last, and more importantly, most large and professionally run Indian companies have started attracting the same talent from IITs and IIMs, and ad agencies people see little quality difference in client-agency interactions. “Our Indian clients, such as Marico, compare if not exceed MNC clients in every respect,” adds Chopra of Publicis.
This is not to say that MNC assignments are not prized any longer. “The only caste system in agencies is on good clients-those who believe in advertising-and bad clients,” says R. Balakrishnan, executive creative director, Lowe India. Well, only that perceptually all this while it was the MNC advertiser which was considered to be the 'Good' one.
Interestingly, there is a contrary force at play against MNC advertisers as far as ad agencies are concerned. “With their strict, globally dictated communications templates, there is little room for original work. And increasingly, ad professionals are realising its' better with big Indian advertisers, who now offer all the pluses of MNCs without the restrictions of global conformity,” says one senior ad professional.