It is not nice to do work for just the heck of awards. It is putting our industry in a bad light. I know that these are expressions of creativity, but we should be very clear that these are the ads that are specifically done for that. Why should we hide this fact? Yes, it is tough, but we are going to make sure that the work that we do for the clients is award worthy, but not on the cost of scams. We have to start getting the youngsters to think larger, they have to start being more responsible on brands.
Priti Nair has spent more than 17 years in the advertising industry. Prior to joining BBH India, Nair was associated with Grey Worldwide as National Creative Director. Previously, she was Executive Creative Director at Lowe Mumbai and Delhi, and had also spent time at Chaitra Leo Burnett.
Throughout her career, Nair has worked on over 40 brands, including GreenPly, Camlin, and Idea Cellular. She has won several national and international awards, including wins at Promax, Asia Pacific Advertising Festival, New York Festival, as well as Abby and Clio Awards.
In conversation with exchange4media’s Tasneem Limbdiwala, Nair speaks at length about BBH’s growth in India, scam ads, and new wins.
Q. It’s been almost nine months now since BBH commenced its operations in India. How has the journey been so far?
It has been very interesting, different and new. For Subhash (Kamath, Managing Partner), Partha (Sinha, Managing Partner) and me, we have spent a lot of years in advertising in a certain way. And now with a start-up, there are a lot of new things that happen and we want to do it differently. You see, there is a three-way partnership in every discipline flowing into each other. Maybe they were there before, but somewhere it was left behind along the journey. So it’s nice to have this fluidity coming back in.
Coming back to the point of new and different, maybe it was because it was not so cohesive. Also, it was a start-up, so there were a lot of hiccups and the struggle with the clients coming in, business growing and accordingly people coming in. But now we have to look at every bit and piece of our new home. Hence, anything new is exciting, and advertising by itself has always excited me. I have been happy before, and am happier now. All this newness that is brought to the table keeps the excitement up.
Q. In creative terms, where would you want to be as compared to the other top creative agencies in India in the next 2-3 years?
We would like to be in the new media space in a big way, besides television, which will remain big. In television, we want to think differently for the medium. It’s basically a new age kind of thinking, because the way communication is moving today. If we are saying that the scale has shifted to a younger India and 70 per cent of the population is young, then the communication channel should also be looked at differently.
New age media includes a lot of channels like digital, social networking, and mobile, which are growing at an increasing rate in the country. So, these are the channels in which you would want to have your communications differentiated.
Another thing that we want to clearly do is to give long term brand solutions rather than sourcing just commercials or print campaigns.
Q. In the last trip made by Simon Sherwood, he had mentioned that he was appalled by the number of scam works that were produced. What is your take on this?
I personally feel sad about scams. It is not nice to do work for just the heck of awards. It is putting our industry in a bad light. I know that these are expressions of creativity, but we should be very clear that these are the ads that are specifically done for that. Why should we hide this fact? Say the truth that this is a particular work has been created for awards. If I need to give a comparative example, for instance, the clothes that you see exhibited at fashions shows are not seen to be worn by the masses. But that fashion industry clearly says that they had been created for specific fashion shows.
My point is that if you want to have creative awards, let’s not camouflage them by saying that they are being done for brand building. So, we as an agency on principle will not do ads specifically for awards. Yes, it is tough, but we are going to make sure that the work that we do for the clients is award worthy, but not on the cost of scams. We have to start getting the youngsters to think larger, they have to start being more responsible on brands.
Q. Speaking on awards, you have judged at international award forums like Cannes, any specific difference between the criteria in Indian and international judging processes?
We need to be a little more stringent. From my experience at Cannes and NYF forums, they need the nominated juries’ resumes before they tick you off, on what you have achieved, how many years you have been with the industry, what are the kinds of awards that one has got, what are the brands that one has built… The entire profile is scanned. I don’t know if that gets done here, I think that exercise is to include everyone.
As for leaking of awards winners’ names, I think why this does not happen at Cannes is because it is immediate and is inclusive of the medium. It’s not like that the judging takes place two months before and hence, there is a frenzy to know who the winners are before hand. I feel perhaps this could be avoided at awards events like the GoaFest if the judging is done during the event itself.