Piyush Pandey, Chairman and Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather, India and South Asia speaks about noticeable trends this year for both the industry and O&M, his expectation from today’s budding talent; changes he hopes to see in the coming year and areas that need improvement. He calls 2015 ‘a marketer’s fear year’ and names it the year of ‘Tu Tu Mein Mein’.
Which are the most memorable ad campaigns this year in your view?
There have been bits and pieces of work from the entire industry but nothing commendable as such. I don’t like to name campaigns ever. I think 2015 has been a cautious year, people have been a bit transactional in their advertising and therefore we have witnessed lesser brand building. Though the e-comm players have been very active, but they have been so transactional that hardly anything sticks to my mind.
What is reason behind this mindset?
It is mainly because of caution. People have been waiting for visible signs of excitement, which I am sure, will happen. However, 2015 has been a marketer’s fear year because of Maggi and I would like to call it a lot of ‘Tu Tu Mein Mein Year’.
What kind of changes do you expect in the advertising industry in 2016?
The economy is moving in the right direction, atleast the numbers are saying so. These numbers must impact the mood. When the mood becomes more positive we will see the results, which I am sure will happen soon.
After the immense success of your ‘Abki Baar Modi Sarkar’ and ‘Janta Maaf Nahi Karegi’ campaigns last year, will you get associated with any other political party again?
Laughs…I would not be required by any political party for the next 3 and half years.
In this digital age, there is a lot of pressure on both the traditional as well as the new age brands to stay connected with consumers. In their attempt to be contemporary, many traditional brands end up losing touch and relevance. How can they work upon it?
Knowing the consumers is one thing and delivering messages that are memorable in the new media is a different thing. So, using technology is not the be-all and end-all and it is applicable to everybody. It will still be the idea that will prevail and we will have to learn as an industry to make use of available technology to embellish ideas further. Simply reaching-out is not good enough. But reaching-out in a fashion which is really desirable is another matter. I feel this problem is going to get addressed in the days ahead of us.
What are the areas you think today’s ad generation needs to work upon?
I think no matter how transactional the approach, one should not be scared or lazy. Think of ideas; don’t take it as a burden because sometimes in adversity lies opportunity. Who says, there can’t be an idea in retail? Think a little harder and there will an idea. Give him what he wants and do it your way. I think that is the only answer, otherwise you will have to follow the usual retail way.
The surge in the number of new agencies and the fact that some e e-comm start-ups prefer working with smaller agencies- given their budgets and mindset, does this shift pose any considerable challenge to the bigger ad agencies?
This is again a churn in the industry which will happen. There will always be 4-5 new agencies that will come up, some will do well, some will sell out and some will stay on. It is not that it has not happened in the past. There will be Contracts and there will be Rediffusions and that is the way they themselves even started out.
This year one agency that is being closely watched is Sideways, they have just started and have been one of the most talked about in the industry. So it is their time to prove themselves. Let’s see what they come up with.
I feel things will change, the e-comm guys will also sit back and ask: ‘Am I looking like any other e-comm guy’? Do I need to build affinity? Do I have to build engagement? So brand building will take place. You can’t really accuse them of doing bad work and I think they will learn. We are at it and I am sure, we will see that work. It has been a year of transition with new brands coming in, new categories coming up, give them time to settle down and something will happen.
There have been new advertisers, and for new advertisers to start creating great work from very early days is rare. Everyone is not an Apple in terms of their thinking. May be when their businesses settle down a little bit, they will do it. So I won’t write off anybody, I will say that these young and first time advertisers will mature and think brands. Some will fall out, some will grow.
2015 has witnessed many changes in Ogilvy in terms of leadership (Abhijit Avasthi, Navin Talreja, Kawal Shoor moving out and Kunal Jeswani being appointed as CEO). How would you describe the year for O&M?
It actually happens every 7-8 years, people grow and they have ambitions of being on their own. Those working for 15 years can develop fatigue, particularly those who get into their 40s. There is a feeling that there is something which I wanted to do, but couldn’t do. This is self-actualisation. Those in their 30s have the opportunity of now actualising themselves. It is a cycle and it will happen, but as long as it doesn’t happen every year, you should take it in your stride and move on.