Content Jam: Advertising agencies must take brand custodianship seriously: Prasoon Joshi

Prasoon Joshi, Chairman, McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific, CEO & CCO, McCann Worldgroup India spoke to Nawal Ahuja, Co-Founder & Director, exchange4media Group in a Fireside Chat

e4m by exchange4media Mumbai Bureau
Updated: Sep 6, 2019 3:22 PM
Prasoon Joshi

Given his flourish with words that allowed his creative currency to excel in the advertising industry as a film lyricist in his own right, Prasoon Joshi, Chairman McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific, CEO and CCO, McCann Worldgroup India, has been juggling between multiple worlds and how.

The corporate epithets, however, hint nothing at the soul, warmth and sparkling humour that Joshi brings as he takes stage at e4m Content Jam 2019 in conversation with Nawal Ahuja, Co-Founder & Director, exchange4media Group.

While speaking about how the shape of content has changed creatively, Joshi recounted the ads he used to be working on in the Doordarshan era. “You could easily call those ads content because people looked forward to them as a piece of entertainment. They were perceived something other than ads. At times people felt that the ads were more entertaining than the actual programmes as they had short stories, jingles, jokes and people consumed them as a piece of entertainment and not merely as a piece of information because there was scarcity of entertainment at that time,” he said.

Opening up on what made him realise that advertising was his true calling, Joshi said, “What attracted me to this profession at that time was that we were writing short stories and writing content. “The ad-man is clear that when you say content, the question is how you define content. Whatever is working today is advertising. Today content is also being built as advertising,” he remarked.

Asked whether the content industry was pitting against the creative and whether the creative industry was geared up to create content the way clients were expecting, Joshi stated, “Even if you have great content you will need to advertise the content for the content itself. If you narrowly define advertising then content will become segregated. Even the product placement you do in films is advertising. As long as you don’t narrowly define it, I would not find that content is in contradiction with advertising.”

Joshi established that agility is important and the ability to decide what is required where is of essence, be it in terms of opting for long-form content or the short-form one. “Brands are coming out in various forms, you have to embrace content. Don't be mistaken that you will lose your mystic. If you were to look at the formula for algorithm that will crack it for you, that algorithm will also have to constantly update itself,” he said.

According to him, we have to lead AI and Technology in a direction for human good. “You should not fear data and AI. Human mind has enough capability, it should not become lazy, it’s time to embrace AI and technology.”

According to Joshi, the success of political advertising lies in not carrying any baggage but in brands constantly unlearning and evolving. “In the coming future, advertising agencies have to take brand custodianship very seriously. Agencies need to be ready to collaborate. Tomorrow’s model is a collaborative model,” he spelt out.

Joshi shared the example of how companies were redefining the domain with a function and with purpose. “Like Apple’s change to Apple Inc. companies today are constantly broad basing themselves and assimilating. The company’s philosophy and the connect with the consumer is key,” he explained. The industry need not compete with content creators but just complement them, he added.

Deconstructing things that the movie business can teach brand-builders, he pointed out, “They call a spade a spade and are quick to accept if something doesn’t work. Sometimes in advertising, our egos are bigger.”

When asked about what he looked for in a piece of content, Joshi said it all boils down to justice and living up to the brand's promise. Another aspect he added was - what it is being set and how is it being crafted. “In the new world, it’s extremely essential to pay attention to the craft,” he recommended.

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