When the uninhibited youth fearlessly echoed ‘Change the Game’ challenging conventions to do things differently, little did the deadly duo think that their signature tone will walk away with the most coveted titles. Touching a wonderful chord with the spontaneous celebration of movie buddies, gaana buddies, chatroom friends and class room friends, the creative volcano became a talking point for many.
Bagging big ticket clients and winning international awards, Agnello Dias and Santosh Padhi (Co-Founders and Chief Creative Officers of TapRoot) are the game-changers and the news-makers that have let their work speak. TapRoot doesn’t fit into the struggling agency title because it has hit the nail straight on the head with buzzing campaigns for The Times of India, Nirma, Pepsi and Airtel. The brainchild of Dias and Padhi has emerged as one of the Cannes Lions Top 20 Independent Agencies in the world.
Both, Dias and Padhi quit their jobs; Dias as Chief Creative Officer, JWT and Padhi as Executive Creative Director and National Head, Art, Leo Burnett, in 2008, to set up TapRoot. The timing was questioned by many because of the economic slowdown but the creative duo emerged victorious, becoming the most sought-after agency. Last year Dentsu entered into an agreement with TapRoot to acquire a 51 per cent stake in the Mumbai-based creative independent that helped TapRoot offer a more comprehensive bouquet of services to its clients and across larger market geographies.
While working on a campaign, Dias shared, “I like to talk about the brief a lot. Discussion eliminates non-options and focusses everyone’s energies on to more doable material. Execution is something I think of later, once we’ve zeroed down on what we want to say.”
Padhi added, “At times, ideas get generated during the briefing session itself, but at times one has to dig in depth to get one; there isn’t a formula, the ideas sets a tone to the execution.”
They believe in producing great work and feel that everything else is secondary. The combined legacy of a brilliant copy with excellent art has helped in producing outstanding creative work. Dias said that creativity in the industry is in a good place. “I think more and more mainstream campaigns are touching the golden mean of high-end creativity and real hard working effectiveness in the market place. Naysayers may say creativity in advertising is dying but I do not agree. Most of the youngsters today are far, far more talented, driven and versatile than I ever was,” he said Padhi.
As technology unleashes more platforms, there is serious pressure on ad agencies to find the right talent. However, Dias believes that each new technology will bring new execution specialists. If advertising agencies retain the prerogative and ownership on the most powerful ideas, everything else that technology unleashes will still be an executional outlet which requires a specialist.
Giving a fresh twist to the brand Nirma, the agency refreshed the core of the brand without eroding its basic essence of simplicity and sincerity. Capturing protagonists with megaphones in their hand, Mumbai Mirror’s style of portraying aggression and anger through ‘I am Mumbai’ by the duo was thought-provoking and hard-hitting.
Though the agency has created many memorable campaigns, Padhi singles out some of his all-time favourites, namely, Pepsi Cricket World Cup, The Times of India, Conqueror Papers and Nirma, as these campaigns reflect a variety in the creative output and are targeted to a mix of audiences.
The agency walked away with a Gold Lion during Cannes along with production house Ramesh Deo Productions in the Film Craft category for Mumbai Mirror. It has won several awards such as Clio Gold from Asia in 2010, most awarded agency in Spikes in 2010, Grand Effies in 2011 and couple of Golds at Goafest. The Gunn Report has recently revealed its winners list on creative excellence in advertising worldwide for the year 2012. The report declares TapRoot India as the top creative agency in India. According to the report, TapRoot leads with 10 awards, closely followed by Ogilvy & Mather with nine awards. Dias shared that it is difficult to pinpoint the reasons for being chosen as the top creative agency because the conventional award shows have so many objective and subjective factors.
Padhi stated that fortunately/unfortunately awards are one of ways to measure creativity, so things like this are definitely a big achievement not only for TapRoot but for any creative agency. “Awards are like supplements that push you to give that extra bit on the creative product,” he concluded.