“Go to a pitch with your point of view, not necessarily what the client wants, because at the end of the day they come to you because they want your thinking,” believes Arun Iyer, Chief Creative Officer, Lowe Lintas.
“We don’t carry options for pitches we go with a point of view, we strongly feel about, which is also why about 80 per cent of the pitch work is actually the first piece of work that we do for a client,” he shares.
Iyer, who took on the mantle of CCO last year, was earlier joint NCD with Amer Jaleel. As CCO, he believes one of his jobs is to make sure that while today is good, the next six months are lined up well.
The agency has consistently been in the news be it for kick-starting the year with its winning performance at the Effies or its recent work on Google’s photo feature that is being widely shared.
“I would like Lowe Lintas to be seen as an agency that a client would want to go to because they want a good idea on their brand which is medium agnostic,” adds Iyer. The world is headed towards ‘hyper-bundling’ (with clients are getting tired of handling multiple agencies) he believes, even as lays emphasis on getting mainstream teams to think digitally.
A candid Iyer shares his views on correcting the perception about Lowe just being a TV agency, why the move from NCD to CCO was not a dramatic one, what prompts ‘Ghar wapasi’ at Lowe, why he thinks there is a lot of ‘gas’ around ‘digital’ and more …………
Q. What are the changes that have been on your agenda as CCO?
I am personally working very consciously towards correcting the perception about Lowe just being a TV agency. Chamki is a step in that direction, what we did for Paper Boat with ‘Hum Honge Kamyaab’ is a piece of content. Again what we have just done for Google Photos is actually content, there are many more things in the pipeline.
TV is still important and we do a lot of TV but somewhere, the world needs to start recognising that we are an agency that comes up with big ideas and that they sometimes happen to be led by TV. Even if you take for instance Tata Tea’s Power of 49, it’s actually a far bigger idea than the television commercial we created. But somehow the world still considers us only a television agency. That’s been the big shift that I have been working consciously on over the last one year.
I am not trying to change Lowe Lintas; I am trying to reach out to the world and actually tell them what we do, which is that we come up with ideas that are beyond television.
If you take Kissanpur, it is an idea that was born in our agency and the fact of the matter is that Kissanpur manifested itself in one TV commercial, and a whole bunch of forms like a huge activation idea, we have, in fact, created a great platform for the brand, and on the back of which we won global effectiveness awards.
Q. You have been with Lowe since 2003, how did things change for you from NCD to CCO?
I joined as a copy writer in 2003 and I have grown through the ranks.
When I became NCD in 2010, it was a dramatic shift for me. There are three levels between GCD and NCD. Balki picked me and said sit here, so I skipped three levels to run one group in the office on the 13th floor and suddenly, I was running half of Bombay, all of Bangalore and Chennai. So, that year was dramatic in my life. Since I have worked for six years as NCD, this was a smoother transition.
Q. You never wanted the option of running Mullen?
That’s actually a conversation between Balki(Group Chairman of MullenLowe Lintas Group) Joe (Regional President, South & Southeast Asia, Group CEO India, Mullen Lowe Lintas ) me and Amer (Chairman & Chief Creative Officer Mullen Lintas) and it was a good three-four rounds of discussions until we came to a consensus on the structure we want. So, it wasn’t a diktat or a personal decision, we sat together and we said, okay, this is what is best to do.