India is still a youngish market in digital and cyber space: Piyush Pandey

With Ogilvy India winning seven of India’s nine Lions at Cannes Lions 2017, e4m catches up with Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, Ogilvy South Asia

e4m by Naziya Alvi Rahman
Updated: Jul 11, 2017 7:41 AM

With Savlon’s ‘Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks’ winning Ogilvy India seven of India’s nine Lions, the second-largest haul at Cannes Lions among Indian agencies, exchange4media caught up with Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, Ogilvy South Asia.


Congratulations on Ogilvy’s performance at Cannes Lions 2017. What do you think clicked so well with the audiences about Savlon Healthy Chalk Sticks campaign making it such a huge success?


Well, it was the purity of the idea, its simplicity and the originality that won it accolades. We are very happy with the response and the awards it has earned.


Most Indian campaigns that managed to win this year and even in the last few years were oriented with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). What is lacking in the non-CSR category that we need to focus on to improve our performance next year?


In the past, we have won it in the non-CSR category. Our Fevicol and Happydent ads have won Cannes Lions in the past. However, in a diverse country like India, we cater to 29 different states with so many different languages and to have a cutting-edge idea that works across so much diversity is not easy but it is not impossible either. I think we should not restrict ourselves and keep doing the work that the world also likes.


Despite its best show in Cannes ever, India was a no-show in digital and cyber-related categories this year. Where did we go wrong in these categories?


I think we are a youngish market when it comes to these two categories. I am sure that over the next few years we would mature. There isn’t a lot of work in this space being done out here. In India, there is only the information kind of work being done in digital. The time will come. We are still a very heavy TV market. Experiments in cyber space are not being done yet.


In 2017 Cannes Lions, Ogilvy won just two Lions but there was phenomenal growth this year. Was there a plan in place or it just happened? 


We don’t plan for awards, we plan for good work. However, when we feel the work has a chance to be at Cannes, we send the entry. The idea behind the work is always to make India happy and make our client happy. It is never to win awards. Yes, getting an award surely feels great.


India has set a record this year with 40 Lions. What are your thoughts on how we got here and where we are headed next?


It was great to see India do so well at Cannes. Festivals are good fun and they should be enjoyed. We should aim at doing good work and awards will come on their own. India doing well at Cannes is a very satisfying feeling.


Sir Martin Sorrell has suggested moving the entire festival out of Cannes as distractions here tend to take away from the work and also it is expensive. Do you agree?


I have not thought deeply about it. I think I will have to speak to Sir Martin Sorrel to figure out what exactly he has on his mind.


If you were given a wish list to make the Cannes festival even better, what would you suggest?


I think they are working very hard to make it better themselves so I don’t think I have anything to say.

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