Everyone knows India is a young country. Then we must also know how deeply this demographic impacts our industry. Our consumers and audiences, a majority of them, are 24 years old on an average. So how do we seniors connect with them? We depend on people of their age who speak their language, young people in our own agencies. And yet somewhere, even as they serve as our eyes and ears into the world of youngsters, we close our eyes and ears to them till they grow older and gather years of experience.
When I was a kid, someone took the time and effort to teach me things that came in handy then, and are useful even now. These are lessons for which I will always be grateful. Today however, I feel that this practice of nurturing young talent has slowed down drastically, if not stopped altogether. The act of giving of oneself has been put on the back burner.
Creative guys today are leading businesses. They are often the face of an agency and buddies for the client. Yes, their roles have expanded to include many aspects and the demands on their time have increased. But in the middle of all this, their relationship with youngsters has suffered. We may ignore it today, but soon enough, it will turn into a big problem, because the industry will run short of captains, leaders and coaches.
We all look for great, wild, mad ideas in a junior’s portfolio, but once they are on board, we rarely encourage them to implement those kind of ideas or push/teach them to come up with more such thoughts. You could say that we hire tigers to keep cockroaches away from our homes.
It’s only when senior guys quit, those juniors by default get to come to the forefront and prove themselves, which isn't the right way to judge them.
This holds true especially for creative people. The art of copywriting and art direction is evolving constantly. If a book were to be written on the creative arts, a new edition would be released every other day. If not the whole book, we can at least teach our youngsters a few chapters, instill in them an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. A few years ago, our industry boasted of some outstanding teachers – Mohamed Khan, Arun Kale, Ravi Gupta, Gopi Kukade, Frank Simose, to name just a few. They were both, fantastic advertising professionals and inspiring teachers. Today, we have advertising professionals who are equally brilliant or better, but not many have managed to contribute as much to the industry as these stalwarts have. They paved the way for the years to come, something we have not achieved. Why? Because today there is no lack of creators, only of teachers.
It’s not too late, we can still give back as good as we got. We needn’t donate our eyes, just our visions, which were passed on to us when we were impressionable. And I firmly believe we will receive more than we give, because somewhere along the way, while we impart knowledge, we will learn things from them that we never knew. Youngsters today are self-respected and love to live with dignity. Trust me, if Eklavya had given his thumb, these guys won’t hesitate to give us their arms.
The author is Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of Taproot India
Goafest 2013 coverage on exchange4media is presented by Patrika group.