Colvyn Harris, CEO, JWT South Asia has a reason to smile. JWT India not only led the awards tally with a total of 40 metals, but also bagged a Grand Prix for the agency’s work on Bay Beat Collective’s ‘Genomusic Project’ in the Direct category.
In conversation with exchange4media, Harris talks about the high of the agency’s work being recognised at Goafest this year and his high expectations of the agency’s performance at Cannes this year.
What do you think has led to the agency leading the tally with 40 metals and win of a Grand Prix this year?
In the last year, we have been very focused on raising the standards of all our work across clients and categories – how can we improve it to a point that gets greater peer recognition. We are very delighted that it seems to have happened.
We had no inkling that we would do so well, I am really happy with the team and what they have achieved. The way we are structured, we have four reviews on the work that we do, it is a process that we follow. Everybody has to give ideas and share what they are doing to develop our clients’ brands and business. I think this is beginning to show across the body of work.
So, has there been a change in approach to win more awards?
We are very clear that our brands and our clients’ businesses come first, this is this first ask on everything that we do. If there is proactive work being created, it is to address an opportunity or an issue that can help that brand or business, it is definitely not our intent to develop work that can be construed as scam. Yes, I am sure boundaries are being pushed, on art direction and craft skills, we are also seeing the benefits of last year’s hires.
Do you think the win is a result of lack of participation of the bigger agencies?
That is something I will never know. We have spent all of 2013 improving our own work, now if someone chooses not to enter their work, I will never know.
We are confident that our work has improved and last year’s hires are showing results.
Does the lack of competition make the victory less sweet?
If I had to put on my industry hat, this property of Goafest was created by the industry, that is all of us. Do we want everybody to participate? Yes, we do.
Are we disappointed some of them chose not to? We are. I do hope that good industry conduct prevails and next year everybody comes back. You can see the excitement among everybody; the young people are enjoying Goafest. Why would you take it away from them?
And when you put on your CEO JWT South Asia hat?
Our victory has not dulled down. Would we have liked to compete with everybody? Yes, we would have.
It is about how good we feel about our work being recognised. We have a No. 3 ranking in the Gunn Report this year, we have a lot of things going for us and we are delighted.
Has it been a controversy-free Goafest for you?
There hasn’t been a controversy so far. There were some controversial comments about the way the awards evening was compered, some of us felt it was over the top.
Has Goafest emerged from the aftermath of last year’s controversies and taken a step forward this year, after some media reports had nearly written it off?
Yes, there is no reason to write it off. The introduction of more categories such as Broadcaster, Publisher and Public Relations is great; the more consumer touchpoints that are introduced, the better it is.
What are your expectations for Cannes?
Our hopes are very high for Cannes, we have many entries. Winning at Cannes is getting global recognition, and we have a history of winning at Cannes. I hope this is one of the years where we win again.