Aggie: The question is whether Indian advertising can be called an industry? An industry is a group of companies, which while operating independently, are actually creating some common thing.
Paddy: Everybody is biased about their own needs and wants, especially when it comes to awards. Whichever official is in charge of a body makes sure that his agency benefits the most. This is not how an industry operates.
Agnello Dias has spent two decades in the Indian advertising industry with agencies like Lowe, Leo Burnett and JWT, before moving out to set up Taproot India.
He was AAAI Copywriter of the Year in 2004, NDTV’s Creative Director of the Year in 2007 and also led Leo Burnett India to its first Agency of the Year recognition in the network. Besides local award shows, his name has featured multiple times in award books like The One Show, Clio and Cannes, D&AD, AdFest, New York Festival, Media Spikes and Media Magazine.
In 2007, he made Indian advertising history by winning the country’s first ever Grand Prix and Titanium/ Integrated Lion, besides leading JWT to the best ever Cannes performance by an Indian advertising agency and the No. 1 spot in the WPP network. His spot for Nike Cricket won an unprecedented four D&AD nominations – the most by any Indian commercial. He also won multiple Grand Prix’ at GoaFest and also the Grand Effie in the same year.
Last year, his Teach India campaign won a double Grand Prix at the Media Spikes. And this year, he was on the Taproot team that won Asia’s sole gold at the Clio Awards.
Popularly known as Paddy, Padhi started his advertising career 16 years ago with Mudra (DDB) Mumbai. Completing an eventful 10-year stint at Leo Burnett Mumbai, where he was Executive Creative Director and National Head of Art (India), two years back he left the Leo Burnett network to start the new creative venture Taproot India, along with Dias.
He has worked on some of the prestigious global brands like McDonalds, Johnnie Walker, Heinz Tomato Ketchup, The Times of India, Hallmark Channel, Hitachi Air Conditioners, Fiat India, P&G Tide detergent, Luxor Writing Pens, and Perfetti Van Melle, among many others.
Besides being part of the team that led the creative renaissance at Leo Burnett, Paddy’s creative leadership took India to bag ‘Agency of the Year’ title twice in the global Leo Burnett network in 2003 and 2008. In 2008, he also managed to make Leo Burnett India the No. 1 creative agency in India in the local awards shows.
He has been a judge on various international advertising festivals like the Clios in 2010, the Dubai Lynx in 2010, AdFest Pattya in 2009, New York Festival 2008, London International Advertising Awards in 2008, Adstar Busan (Korean) Awards in 2010 and many local awards shows. Currently, he is set to judge for New York Festival and Cannes Lion 2011.
In conversation with exchange4media’s Tasneem Limbdiwala, Aggie and Paddy speak about the progress of Taproot India so far, running a start-up, client portfolio, being part of international juries and more…
Q. Start-ups were always there even before both of you started your own venture. For instance, Sandeep Bomble with Palasa, Pushpinder Singh with SAW, and Raj Kurup with Creativeland Asia. But the trend kind of picked up post your venture. What according to you led to this trend?
Aggie: I think it is the confidence in the economy.
Paddy: Recently, it has been noticed that there is a bonding between the client and creative professionals. Somewhere, the clients are more open to partner the creative professionals than what they have been expecting from an agency 5-10 years’ back. The Times of India is such an example. Thus, I guess clients nowadays are more comfortable with an individual than the creative agency per se. Hence, small agency formats are getting even more highlighted recently.
Aggie: Basically, it also depends on the marketing community mindsets. Today, marketing professionals and marketing groups in corporate India are far more confident of trying something more adventurous or being more ambitious about their plans, because they seem to be sure of growth. However, in the case of MNCs, their India operations have had a stronger part in their global structure as they have become far more important. Thus, they have probably been given power of decision making authority and are allowed to not go as per the global alignments (not just in advertising, but other businesses as well) and have their own preference, because they will deliver the numbers, which is very important to the MNCs’ global structure.
One of the prominent instances is the Indian team playing an integral part in the decision making when big companies call for a global pitch.