Saatchi & Saatchi and its Lovemark are two words taken together. So is the case with Ramanuj Shastry, National Creative Director (NCD), Saatchi & Saatchi India, who has thoroughly merged his thought process with the respective philosophy. In conversation with exchange4media, Shastry shares his creative agenda and the way forward for the agency.
In 2009, Shastry was appointed as NCD at Saatchi & Saatchi India and since then he has been busy taking forward the creativity charge for the agency. Speaking about the then and now benchmarks for the agency, Shastry said that it was necessary for him to understand the strengths of the agency before trying to make changes within the agency. Calling himself a ‘Lovemark soldier’ that the agency truly believes in, he said, “I have taken the time to understand what the Lovemarks company is all about and what is the agency way forward, I am now trying to align myself with that.”
So what has been the way forward for Shastry? “Till now, I have always seen a consumer as a person. But from now on, I have to think of people as a community. Because as a per the Lovemark philosophy, we are not a ‘person’, but the ‘people’. Now, I have learned that ‘people’ is a plural term and I need talk to them as a community. It is easy to achieve respect, but achieving love is even more a difficult task for a brand,” he remarked.
According to Shastry, the advertising business was in the state of luck. Print does not work anymore; television is on its way out and digital no one knows how to do it, so there is still a lot of confusion in that respect. But confusion is good because confusion is the mother of the next big idea. He added, “However, I believe that Indian creativity consists of a bunch of brilliant people who have their own methodology to fall back upon and know what world class work is! So, I believe in the future that some of best ideas will come from India; however, we are still waiting… It’s like a seed that we sow in the ground and when it will burst open, nobody knows. So yes, it will take some time and we are getting use to the new rules of these changes.”
For Shastry and the agency, Lovemark philosophy starts and ends with people. The task has been not to propose the client with the regular TV, print and outdoor positioning. As he explained, “We at Saatchi believe that everything is digital and nothing is digital. Digital is just a medium and we need to sell our story via that medium, but the idea is that ‘people’ should interact with you through the idea and not just be passive listeners to your brands. Conversation is the key to the ideas and it is a two-way process. Taking this idea forward, we have been working on many brands currently.”
On these lines, the agency had launched the Novartis Otrivin campaign called, ‘Let’s Decongest’. The activity was carried out through virtual samplings that were adopted on social media platforms like Facebook and also carried forward via on-ground programmes in malls and other stores. A lot of participation was seen even without advertising in the regular ATL mediums like TV and print, through which the company gained a lot respect and coverage. The positive factor here that played in its favour was the environment where people were concerned about ‘decongestion’ and it was brought to light that there were several who were suffering from congestion. Shastry said, “It was a simple connect and due to this connection it created a good buzz around the whole activity and the brand.”