Bobby Pawar has to lead us from good to great in our creative business: Chris Hirst

On his visit to India, the Global CEO of Havas Creative talks about his sense of the India market, expectations from leaders here & his strategy of leading Havas Group's global creative business

e4m by Srabana Lahiri & Jeel Mehta
Published: Feb 28, 2020 11:23 AM  | 6 min read
Chris Hirst

Chris Hirst, Global CEO of Havas Creative, is upbeat about his ongoing India visit with the primary objective of learning about the India market, and spending quality time with Havas India’s Group CEO Rana Barua and Chairman and CCO, Bobby Pawar.

Widely recognized as an innovative and inspirational leader, Hirst has a proven track record of leading transformation. Now a year into his global role, Hirst talks about managing the global business of Havas Creative, sense of the India market and conversations he has had with the company’s clients here.

Here are excerpts from his conversation with exchange4media:

You took on the role of CEO of Havas Creative in January 2019. What have been your priorities since then?
My priority No.1 was just to go and get to know the network. I wanted to visit our key markets and so I spent a lot of my time at airports and in planes, because if you take on any challenge, the first and foremost is to understand your standpoint, to understand where you are today and that is being honest as well. The slightly more business and strategic answer to your question is that I run the creative group of Havas and I think a lot of our competitors use the word ‘creative’ to describe the sector rather than to describe what they really are. I want us to be the best creative network in the world. To be the best, we need to have world class creative agencies in key locations. My job is about auditing where we are in our journey and starting to get us there.

What are the changes you have made in this past one year that give Havas Creative an edge over other networks?
Our business is difficult but complicated. The fundamentals of what makes a great agency - I’ve had to learn about digital, data and decoupling and all such things in the course of my career. But the fundamentals here I guess here are talent and culture. My overriding priority for this year is being the best that I can ensure in our key markets. We have absolutely A-star leaders in our businesses and we have the cultural environment that allows businesses to perform. India is one great example where about 15 months ago, we put a new leadership team in place with Rana (Barua) and Bobby (Pawar), and the business needed to change. Now they are performing beyond the best expectations.

How would you assess the last one year from a global as well as India standpoint? Which have been the top performing markets?
Havas performed well last year, and we try and measure our business on four key metrics which we have shared with all our agencies. Those metrics are:
- Staff engagement
- Client satisfaction
- New business performance
- Awards performance

So, we are really pleased with the progress we have made on staff engagement and client satisfaction. Our new business performance is going strong in North America and Europe where we have been made the No.1 agency for new business last year. The area where we really need to focus hard now is where we have Bobby in our business - to lead us from good to great in our creative business. India has been a huge success story. We built a team about 15 months ago, and we have achieved a number of fantastic things. Our business has grown and we have completed three really exciting acquisitions. Our business in India feels super good and we will continue to be enormously ambitious.

What’s been your main agenda on this visit to India, and what is the sense you have of the India market for Havas Creative? What have been your conversations with the clients you have met so far?
I had come to India almost a year ago, when I was about four weeks into my job, and at that point, Bobby and Rana were pretty new in the company too. We had a lot of ambition but hadn't done anything yet as it's easy to be ambitious but difficult to deliver. This time, my objective was to come and meet the businesses, be a part of the group and spend time with Bobby and Rana. Frankly, it's a people business and just spending time is an end in itself to understand the market. The more I understand the market, the more I can help the leaders in our markets. I want to meet the Press too and make sure that our market understands our global ambition. We have got happy clients and the conversations were good. The biggest thing I have learnt about the market in India is that there is a sense of slightly anxious anticipation of a rapidly approaching digital transformation landscape here. From a media spends point of view, this market is still a traditional market where 90 per cent spends are still non-digital; nobody really knows what might be the settling point for the Indian market.

What are the big areas of focus from an India standpoint?
Well, I always say to the agencies that growth is the answer to any problem in all businesses. So, the over-riding way to grow is to have happy clients. We have a direct correlation between growth and how our employees feel on the business platforms. It is important that our managers now pay attention to that.

Havas Group in India has been aggressive with regard to acquisitions… how does this help Havas Creative, and can we expect any more acquisitions this year? If yes, in what area?
I don't want to be too specific about that; we have other groups such as Media and Health in our business, so I am not going to answer on their behalf, but from the creative group point of view, broadly and globally we are going to look in the areas of one, Creativity - where we find real, A-class creative agencies. We are interested in having conversations with them. Then, what you might call UX. User Experience - that's actually one of the big flabby kind of words, with lots of stuff concealed under that. It can be everything ranging from let's say CRM or e-commerce even.

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Araldite flexes heavy-duty strength in first TVC

The ad has been conceptualized by Ogilvy

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 28, 2023 12:27 PM   |   2 min read


Pidilte has announced the launch of its first TV commercial for its recently acquired brand Araldite – world renowned for high-performance adhesives. The TVC is now on air on various popular TV channels and digital platforms. 

The TVC, which was conceptualized by Ogilvy, showcases Araldite's heavy-duty performance properties and bonding strength in a unique and humorous manner. 

According to Bharat Puri, MD, Pidilite, "Araldite is known all over the world for its high performance adhesives that are used in the marble and stone fixing industry and many other applications. After the acquisition, we spent the last two years integrating the Araldite Business into the Pidilite way of working and have built our distribution and user engagement network to address this massive opportunity. Now that we have done the spadework, we think it is just the right time to showcase Araldite to consumers with its first ever TVC. Araldite is already the number 1 trusted brand in its category with stone and marble contractors. We now want it to be a brand that is instantly recognized, and eventually loved by consumers” 

Punit Mehra, President - Araldite, Pidilite said “Araldite is the most preferred adhesive in the large stone fixing market in India. Araldite has some of the most powerful adhesives that are known to join multiple substrates, and can be used for multiple household uses as well. The awareness that this TVC will drive and the work that we will also do with our contractors will help strengthen the equity of the brand further. “ 

Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, Ogilvy South Asia, said “For over 40 years, I have been in the business of creativity and enjoyed every moment. However, nothing has given me more pleasure than work that unites and delights people. Pidilite is a classic example of such work day in and day out. When regional star Pidilite acquired Araldite it was a great sense of pride. Araldite & Pidilite seems to have come from the same family.” 

The commercial showcases a 50-ton horse that has been stuck with a solitary hoof to the staircase of a palace for decades and how nobody has managed to pull it down because as the Karigar in the film gleefully announces, “I had stuck this horse with Araldite.” 

Araldite's new TVC is part of its broader marketing strategy, which includes digital campaigns, social media promotions, and other advertising initiatives. The company aims to reach a wider audience and showcase the benefits of its high-performance adhesives.


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Britannia Winkin’ Cow brings ‘party in a bottle’

New TVC conceptualised by McCann Worldgroup Bangalore

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 27, 2023 6:48 PM   |   2 min read

britannia winkin' cow

Britannia's beverage brand Winkin' Cow has released a new television commercial for its Thick Shakes line. The TVC, conceptualised by McCann Worldgroup Bangalore, emphasises the range's multisensory adventure, describing it as a "party in a bottle" for your senses.

Taking the essence of the previous TVC's fun party with the cows, this film targets the party-loving Gen-Z audience and thus includes a groovy dance routine to appeal to them. In addition, the commercial highlights Thick Shakes' new PET bottle avatar as well as its mascot, who embodies the brand's fun and adventurous spirit.

Abhishek Sinha, Chief Business Officer, Dairy Business, Britannia Industries Limited said, “Britannia Winkin’ Cow is a beverage product line loved by all. We have been receiving positive feedback from our consumers and that is substantiated by our revenue figures that crossed INR 100 Crores in FY22, within just three years of its launch. As a customer centric organization, we wanted to celebrate their love & admiration by launching their favourite Winkin’ Cow in an all new and improved thick shake range. The brand new sleek PET bottles are designed to elevate the consumption experience and the evolved packaging enables consumers to have a multi-sensorial experience with a delightful flavour. The new TVC perfectly captures the spirit of the new Winkin’ Cow range.”

Further, Sambit Mohanty, Head of Creative South, McCann Worldgroup, said, “From a tantalizing aroma to a great mouth-feel and taste, new Winkin’ Cow milkshakes are truly a sensorial delight. To convey this in an entertaining manner, we hit upon the idea of a ‘Cowverse’ - where our gang of teens are transported to after drinking Winkin’ Cow. Our film brings alive this world in a fun, groovy way.”

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NatureFresh® introduces #Badlobehtarkeliye campaign

The campaign talks about active parenting

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 27, 2023 6:26 PM   |   3 min read


Cargill’s edible oil brand NatureFresh® has launched a refreshed brand campaign today. Called #BadloBehtarKeLiye, it highlights the importance of active parenting in a child's daily routine, to help them realize their maximum potential. Complete with a new pack design, TV commercial and on ground marketing initiatives, this campaign speaks to the health-conscious consumer. It creates an emotional connect by encouraging parents to be active participants in their child’s journey and success, by being healthier themselves.

Through this campaign, the brand is addressing the ‘Active Parents” community in the age group of 30-50 years, living in urban centers, who aspire to raise confident, ambitious, and happy individuals. Their success as a parent lies in helping their children achieve their full potential in whatever they do. NatureFresh seeks to find a role in the lives of consumers by helping them change old habits and shed inhibitions and delivering a superior quality product that offers 20% lower oil absorption, helping them feel more active and involved as a parent. When parents are actively involved both physically and emotionally in their children’s lives, they are better positioned to help them succeed.

To effectively communicate with consumers in Hindi speaking markets, NatureFresh has showcased the brand name and stance in Devanagari script on the pack itself. Through these initiatives, the brand aims to foster a deep brand connect and provide more meaningful experiences to consumers across North and East India.  

Commenting on the campaign, Subin Sivan, Marketing and Insights leader, Cargill Food ingredients said, “NatureFresh is Cargill’s homegrown consumer brand, and has been trusted by consumers for over a decade. We are committed to taking this legacy forward by delivering a unique product capability of 20% lower absorption to helps parents and children who seek a healthier and more active lifestyle. Through our #BadloBehtarKeLiye campaign, we aim to inspire parents to actively participate in their child’s daily life and support their growth and development. We believe that every moment spent with a child is precious, and by being an active parent, one can make a world of difference in their child's future.”

Commenting on the TVC, Nikhil Mahajan, GM and Chief Growth Officer BBDO said, “NatureFresh offers a very distinct benefit of 20% less oil absorption which in turn makes the food lighter. We found this to be a very relevant product benefit for our consumers who are constantly seeking ways to maintain an active lifestyle for themselves and their family. There’s a very interesting cultural shift where the younger generation feels it’s easier and more comforting for them to achieve their dreams when their parents truly partner them. This in turns motivated the parents to breakout of their comfort zone to take initiatives to stay active. This sweet spot is what we built our brand narrative around. I am super excited with the idea and can’t wait to see the results and the impact this campaign will have on business.”

NatureFresh is Cargill’s homegrown brand that has a product portfolio spanning multiple cooking oil variants - primarily Soyabean and Mustard oil, besides wheat flour (atta). With its superior product proposition and emotive brand stance, NatureFresh is set to become the preferred choice for consumers across North and East regions of India.

Brand TVC went live on March 15, 2023.

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Valvoline launches new TVC, promises extra mileage to bikers

The new TVC will be aired across India’s national and regional GEC & sports channels along with other social media platforms

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 27, 2023 5:45 PM   |   2 min read


Valvoline Cummins Pvt. Ltd., has released a TVC, #2000kmZyadaKaVaada, to promote its new Champ 4T Fuel Efficient engine oil.

The campaign film starts with the most customary question with regards to mileage ‘Kitna Deti Hai’ and gets an unbelievable response ‘2000 kms Se Bhi Zyada’. Valvoline has been eternally committed to easing the lives of its consumers with superior quality products backed by research and innovation. Realizing the economic aspects of daily commuting, the campaign is a testament to brand’s dedication in creating need specific products that brings major impact in their lives. The film ends with a promise to ride up to 2000 kms more in a year with its new Champ 4T Fuel Efficient engine oil.

The new TVC will be aired across India’s national and regional GEC & sports channels along with other social media platforms.

Commenting on the launch of the Campaign, Ipshita Chowdhury, Chief Marketing Officer, Valvoline Cummins India JV, said, “Our new campaign reinforces the brand’s promise of continuous innovation that has been a constant for us, for over 150 years. The inspiration for this campaign has come from the most common question that a person asks with regards to mileage ‘Kitna Deti Hai’ and how we at Valvoline are constantly innovating to bring solutions like Champ 4T fuel efficient. India is moving forward, and we are determined to provide optimum solutions to fuel the ambitions of our bikers to help them with better mileage at an affordable price.”

On the curation of the film Shiveshwar Raj Singh, National Creative Head, Innocean Worldwide India said “The brief was to build a strong narrative around the Valvoline Champ 4T fuel efficiency innovation, a key benefit for cost-conscious customers who want to maximize mileage. It’s a slice of life ad where two strangers from similar background get talking. Here, two sales professionals get talking about their bikes and mileage. A typical setup which results in a quick banter which allows us to naturally segue into the product. The advantage of 8% extra mileage which Valvoline delivers is built into their conversation in a way that will surprise everybody. A relatable piece that will surely grab the target audience.”

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Star Sports pays tribute to MS Dhoni with ‘subtitled feed’ for hearing-impaired

The innovative feature will provide live match commentary subtitles, catering to the needs of differently-abled fans

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 27, 2023 4:49 PM   |   2 min read


Star Sports, the official television broadcasters of the TATA IPL 2023, has launched a ‘Subtitled Feed’, a first-of-its-kind initiative in sports broadcasting in India, for the hearing impaired.

The innovative feature will provide live match commentary subtitles, catering to the needs of differently-abled fans.

To celebrate 15 years of MS Dhoni in IPL and the launch of the landmark initiative, Star Sports launched a special promo that brings out the love that all fans have for MS Dhoni. Viewers can now experience the ‘Shor’ that comes along while watching their favourite cricketers like MS Dhoni, who has transcended the ideology of just being a player, but now an emotion.

The promo film showcases fans of MS Dhoni chant his name in a packed stadium, showcasing the passion and emotion that he can bring out among cricket aficionados. This has become an emotion that has been seen time and time again in the TATA IPL, and this season all kinds of fans can experience every second of ‘Thala’s adrenaline-pumping moments differently on television, drawing them closer to their favourite player.

Commentating on the launch of the film and the innovative feature, a Star Sports Spokesperson said, "Star Sports has always been at the forefront of revolutionizing the viewing experience for fans. We are proud to introduce the Subtitled Feed, a ground-breaking technology that aims to make the excitement of the TATA IPL 2023 accessible to everyone, including differently-abled fans. By providing live subtitles of commentary, the innovative feed ensures that no one is left out of the action that only the IPL can bring. With this latest technological advancement, we are bringing fans closer to the game, allowing them to experience the ‘Shor’ of the IPL like never before."

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Candere by Kalyan Jewellers launches Akshaya Tritiya campaign #NayiShuruaatHeereKeSaath

The campaign went live on 22nd March and will continue until 23rd April

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 27, 2023 4:38 PM   |   2 min read


Candere by Kalyan Jewellers has announced the launch of their campaign #NayiShuruaatHeereKeSaath on Akshaya Tritiya. The campaign introduces a quick & hassle-free solution and a problem-solving fix with Candere’s 100% Lifetime Exchange Value on diamond jewellery.

“Akshaya Tritiya is considered one of the most auspicious days for purchasing gold or jewellery in the Hindu calendar. However, the ideas behind any jewellery purchase during such occasions had been strictly inclined towards gold. Candere aims to provoke a change in the outlook of owning one’s ‘pehla heera’, marking the day's auspiciousness and new beginnings. The 25 seconds campaign film highlights the problem statement surrounding the purchase of diamonds which otherwise has this ‘wow’ factor but there is a persisting hesitation owing to the product's resale value. The campaign primarily motivates the customers to make diamond purchases allowing them to avail the exchange offers anytime in addition to 100% future valuation. Candere wants to solve this particular pain point and address the doubt revolving the purchase in the customers,” the company said.

Speaking about the Akshaya Tritiya campaign, Rupesh Jain, Founder & CEO, Candere by Kalyan Jewellers, said, “We are thrilled to launch this year’s Akshaya Tritiya campaign, and strongly believe that our messaging will reach out to our valuable customers. While this day is marked auspicious with the purchase of gold mainly, we at Candere want to encourage the customers to buy diamond jewellery and celebrate as well cherish new beginnings, providing them with the maximum benefits on product exchange in future.”

Akshay Matkar, Head of Marketing & Brand Experience, Candere by Kalyan Jewellers, further added, “Marking the new beginning with Diamonds (#NayiShuruaatHeereKeSaath), this Akshaya Tritiya will not only give an extra edge to our diamond category allowing our customers to purchase from a wide collection but also avail exchange offers with 100% future valuation of the purchased items.”

The campaign went live on 22nd March and will continue until 23rd April.


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Himalaya Wellness launches campaign for Himalaya Ashvagandha

The campaign says ‘ab stress nahi, de-stress kijiye’

By exchange4media Staff | Mar 27, 2023 4:31 PM   |   3 min read


In the wake of rising stress levels, Himalaya Wellness Company has launched the campaign “Ab Stress Nahi, De-stress Kijiye” to raise awareness about the impact of unaddressed stress, while focusing on natural ways to handle multiple stressors in life.

“Modern lifestyle has its own stress triggers that often go unnoticed or seem common. But this leads to stress that affects one’s body, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Building on this insight, the campaign brings these triggers into the spotlight and emphasizes the role of Himalaya Ashvagandha in minimizing stress in daily life and helping bring calm to chaotic stress,” the company said.

With three digital advertisements, the campaign focuses on the lifestyle of three individuals from diverse backgrounds who struggle to cope with stress. The advertisements highlight the after-effects of stress, where the protagonists experience sleeplessness, anger, and tiredness, respectively, when exposed to certain stressors regularly. The communication is reinforced by the doctor talking about the benefits of Himalaya Ashvagandha in helping manage stress better. Ashvagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has been used for centuries to help the body cope with stress and promote relaxation. It improves energy levels and helps relieve stress and anxiety.

The campaign is strategically amplified via radio, internet, and digital media, to raise awareness about the impact of stress on individuals' lives and motivate people to take action on managing stress effectively.

Dr. Sanjiv Shah, an eminent endocrinologist and diabetologist from Mumbai, shares, "Common aberrations like ‘anger, sleeplessness, and tiredness’ are often ignored by many. Most lifestyle disorders are also commonly triggered by stress. According to research, over 70% of adults in India report experiencing stress daily. Stress has emerged as a major issue for many people. Unmanaged stress can have a negative impact on an individual's health, including sleeplessness, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Making a few simple lifestyle modifications such as walking, exercising, pursuing a hobby, and avoiding smoking and drinking can help manage stress better."

Vikas Bansi, who heads the OTC business at Himalaya Wellness Company, shares, "With this campaign, we want to highlight the fact that stress is the most common trigger and can lead to physical, emotional, and behavioral changes, which over a period may result in lifestyle disorders. The integrated radio and digital campaigns are expected to build awareness for Himalaya Ashvagandha and how Himalaya Wellness Company is committed to promoting natural healthcare solutions that help individuals lead healthier and happier lives. The Company's products are developed using natural active ingredients and are designed to be safe, effective, and affordable. We aim to encourage more and more people to take steps to manage their stress effectively and consider Himalaya Ashvagandha as a supplement in their daily routine and, at the same time, promote better health and wellness across India."

“We recently conducted an e-CME titled ‘Stress and Metabolic Disorders,’ where Dr. Sanjiv Shah emphasized the rising incidences of stress-related metabolic disorders. The e-CME was attended by more than 500 doctors, highlighting that the issue has become extremely critical and occupies the center stage in doctors’ practices today," he added.

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