The year 2009 was tough for us, especially for the Mumbai branch, as we handle many financial and retail clients out of here, which were the two sectors that were mostly affected... But at the same time, we fortunately had some good business wins, and as a result the McCann Worldgroup India did really well... our unconventional advertising streams generated a lot... As far the growth target is concerned, we are cautiously optimistic. So, we are trying to grow as much as possible. But we know that it cannot be the way it was two and a half years back, where things were looking beautiful and good. We have to be careful, solid and serve our clients well.
As Executive Chairman at McCann Erickson India and Regional Creative Director for Asia Pacific, Prasoon Joshi is considered a torchbearer of the young breed as well as the contemporary face of Indian advertising.
Recognised for introducing a layered, multicultural sensibility to advertising, Joshi is credited with choosing to exploit the inherent “chaos” of the Indian way of life and creating a distinct identity for Indian and Asian advertising on the world stage.
A winner of more than 400 awards (including Gold, Silver and Bronze Cannes Lions) and accolades at other awards shows, he had also judged and chaired D&AD, the Clio Awards, Cannes Lions and others.
Designated a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, Joshi believes in supporting causes that strike a chord with the masses, such as campaigns for empowerment of women, protecting the girl child and the UN Millennium Development Goals for eradicating poverty.
His foray into Indian feature films has met with success. He has had published three books of poetry and prose.
In India’s 60th year of independence, a leading national publication cited him among the country’s top 60 icons for his contribution to several fields that have shaped and affected public consciousness.
In this interview with exchange4media’s Tasneem Limbidiwala, Joshi speaks at length about McCann Worldgroup’s operations in India, changes in the agency’s structure, and future plans.
Q. What is the structure of the Planning division at McCann?
Planning is, we believe, the third arm and the most important part of our business. The planners are a constant pillar and filter in whatever we do, when it comes to branding and communication. We have Sandeep Mahapatra in Delhi, Amit Kumar in Mumbai and Amit Kekre in Bangalore.
Just like the GMs partner the CDs, similarly, these planners partner the creative team, as we believe in solid solution work. Our works are not just surface work; we do a lot of thinking. For instance, we have done some great work on Marico, and the recent work on Coke is quite impressive too.
We have been very conscious in promoting our client servicing people. What has happened over the years is that somehow the thinking job that the client servicing people used to do got completely taken out and became the responsibility of the planner.
However, McCann does not believe in that. Hence, you will find a unique selection of managers and creative directors. We have managers that are very strategically sound. Starting from Govind Pandey, President, McCann Erickson Advertising, and Sanjay Nayak, President, McCann Worldgroup India, to Loveleen, Parvathy, Namrata and Debashish – all these people in classical terms are managers, who are very strategically sound. Why so? Because, strategy is not the responsibility of one person, but the responsibility of the entire team.
In the same way, our creative directors are very sound people, they are not just art or craft people, all are strategically driven. The same goes with Naren Multani, Film Chief for South Asia. His sound strategy, talent, commitment and passion have been more than evident in our final product.
So, we believe that strategy is the backbone and should be the responsibility or filter of an agency per se. And here the planner brings in the finer points to the thought, getting the discipline and nuances of planning whenever it is required.