My feeling is that once the general elections are over in 2014, whichever way people decide, there will be a bit of a peak in the economy and marketing plans for all clients, there will be a promise of five years of stability. Our focus area will be to capitalise on the renewed surge of energy in the product and services market.
Agnello Dias, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Taproot India is considered to be one of the most influential people in Indian advertising. He left JWT at the peak of his career to co-found the independent agency, Taproot India, with his creative colleague Santosh Padhi. In 2013, his name has figured in the 100 Most Creative People in Business list compiled by US-based Fast Company magazine. Dias, who has been ranked 59, has been described as ‘India’s most decorated (and progressive) adman’ by the magazine.
In conversation with exchange4media's Abid Hasan, Dias speaks about Taproot India's key achievements in 2013, focus areas for 2014, communication strategy for youth brands and more...
Q. The year 2013 saw Taproot India bag interesting account wins such as the Birla account, and also big wins at Cannes? What is working in favour of the agency?
I think, for us it's not just one or two things, but a lot of good work that we have for other clients as well as, including Pepsi, The Times of India, Airtel and so on. We really don’t have the time or inclination to reflect on what we have done or what is going right, we do whatever we can do and do our best, hopefully our best is good enough. There is not too much emphasis on theory and macro look on how we are doing things, the theoretical approach of figuring out what we are doing, which might not be a good thing, but currently it is working for us.
Q. What are the milestones that you have achieved in 2013?
Most of the campaigns are milestones. In 2013, we won the Asia Pacific Agency of the year across all agencies beating Leo Burnett Sydney, which is a significant achievement for the agency of this size to be the number one agency of this region. The 'I lead India' campaign is a significant milestone. In terms of people, Umesh (Shrikhande, CEO, Taproot India) coming on board is also a big relief and a step forward in the structure of what we do. Then, there was Cannes and campaigns for other clients.
Q. How do you think the youth have evolved in India? Do you think the current communication connects with them?
Well, some communication does and some communication does not. One of the common mistakes that most of the marketers make is that they believe that the target audience is not only whom you are talking to, but also whom you feature. In the case of youth advertisement, just showing youth doesn’t mean that your ad is making a youth brand. What we need to realise is that we have to show what they like. Several iconic youth brands such as MTV and Google, and even the Anna Hazare movement have appealed to the youth without showing youth in their campaigns. I think it’s very important to remember that putting youth into your ad does not make youth brands, this is something that most marketers forget.
Q. What do you keep in mind while working on youth brands?
By and large they don’t like too much of finished things, with all things tied up, they would like to close the loop. Mostly, if you will give them raw material interpretations of their work, they would like to do something. They prefer the supply of raw material rather than finished things meant for an older audience. They like experimenting and have lots of energy, using different platforms to make it better.