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Cyber shirkers: Agencies give the online space a miss

Cyber shirkers: Agencies give the online space a miss

Author | Tuhina Anand | Wednesday, Jan 07,2009 6:43 AM

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Cyber shirkers: Agencies give the online space a miss

It seems that the creative industry in India is yet to wake up to the huge potential that the Internet offers to reach out to all users who want information about an agency or familiarise themselves with the agency’s works. The opportunity for agencies, which are brands in their own right, is humungous and the solution is simple – to have an online presence to match the contemporary offices that most of these agencies boast of.

However, the reality is far from it and a simple Google search shows that most creative agencies, including the biggies, don’t have an online presence or an India-specific website. A user one can do ‘n’ number of permutations and combinations in the hope of finding an official website of the agency, but the search is futile and in many cases end up visiting the international website of the network, which sometimes have no information about their Indian arm, or at the most have the office contact details.

It is ironical that the very creative fraternity that prescribes a full dosage of digital presence and innovations to its clients has adopted a lax attitude when it comes to their own agencies adopting the medium. JWT’s Lead India campaign finds a mention on the international website of the agency, but there is no information beyond that. Colvyn Harris, CEO, JWT India, admits that currently they don’t have a website and are in the process of ‘developing something’. But why this laid back attitude towards the medium that has immense potential? He said, “While the thought is there, but I believe we get so caught up in delivering to our clients that creating our own website takes a backseat.”

Sanjay Nayak, President, McCann Worldgroup, is candid enough to admit that the agency doesn’t have its Indian website, but adds that they should have something by end of this quarter. He said, “Probably we haven’t paid much attention to creating our own website because the element is not critical to our business. This is a small industry and people know each other and are aware of their works and so is the case with many clients.”

He added, “An online presence is important, especially in terms of recruitment as potential candidates would want to familiarise themselves with our philosophy, work culture and the work itself. It is a missed opportunity, which we must leverage to our advantage in future.”

Manish Bhatt, Senior VP & ECD, Contract Advertising India, feels that digital medium can be used effectively by the agencies in archiving and also showcasing their work. He said, “Indian advertising is still living in the world of conventional, and we haven’t really taken to the new age medium in its totality. This definitely should happen in near future.”

Mudra and Orchard Advertising are among the few agencies that have a website and have been regularly updating them. Madhukar Kamath, Managing Director & CEO, Mudra Communications, explained, “We embarked on the digital exercise almost five years back and we consistently monitor the content and hits on the site. I believe that we are a brand, and for any corporate there has to be an interface between its various stakeholders, be it clients, job seekers or even students. For this, an online presence is as important as offline presence.”

Among the finest examples of agency website is that of Orchard. It is innovative and has key information like contact details of people involved and case studies on their works, which is constantly updated. The site even has a blog where the agency’s people contribute regularly. While doing a Google search on Orchard Advertising, the website appears first in the result, which is the key to any good website. Thomas Xavier, Chairman and NCD, Orchard Advertising, said, “We preach to our clients to use the medium, and I think it’s only justifiable that we practice this first among ourselves. We should walk the talk, else it’s just useless gab that we are getting into.”

Taking stock of the websites, there are those who score too. Bates 141’s website yielded the information that one was looking for and it wins brownie points for being quick. Rediffusion Y&R’s website is under construction and informs the visitors through caricatures of Mahesh Chauhan, Group CEO, Rediffusion Y&R, and then takes you to a YouTube link which shows life at Rediffusion. The viral begins with the lines, ‘At Rediff we are mandated to have fun…’ and sets the tone of what follows, which is entertaining considering that they have tried to use some imagination in a space where most have done nothing.

Apart from examples like these, one will find examples that are more of creative leaps but don’t really give any meaningful information. For instance, Leo Burnett’s international website will take you in circles.

Contract’s website explicitly endorses its philosophy to ‘grow young’. It looked more of a gimmick where one ended up turning pages one after another. Creative insight? Maybe, but if I were so interested in turning pages, I wouldn’t come to the Net and rather hold a real book!

A search on Lowe led one to the Lowe Worldwide page, but not beyond, as it required an Adobe Flash Player and downloading it would mean spending too much time, which one doesn’t really have when looking for information and needs it in a rush.

Ogilvy & Mather had an interesting website till sometime back, but now the search leads to its international website, and we have learnt that Ogilvy India’s website is currently being revamped.

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