Our industry is going through structural change, not structural decline: Mark Read

The moment you put five WPP companies together in a campus, the level of collaboration grows exponentially, says the CEO of WPP

by Nawal Ahuja
Published - 1 week ago

While the media & advertising industry across the world had been for long talking about the need for better integration of the different verticals, WPP CEO Mark Read actually went ahead and did it, merging JWT with Wunderman and VML with Y&R. With the unions, he has set the stage for a more co-ordinated approach to work in this volatile advertising landscape.

Read, who took charge of the world’s largest communication services group last year, has a long-term plan for the transformation of WPP and a target to achieve an operating profit margin of at least 15% by 2021.

Nawal Ahuja, Co-Founder & Director of exchange4media group, caught up with the CEO while on a visit to the country recently to understand what he thinks will be the best model for the future, WPP’s transformation plan, role played by technology, expectations from the client, changes taking place in the industry and much more.

Below is the edited excerpt of the interview:


Roughly 20 years back, the creative and the media ecosystems split. A lot of people talk about these ecosystems getting back together. Clients want that. How do you see that shaping up, because it is not possible to go back to that era… and what is the best model for the future in the best interest of a client?

 The future is that the creative and media need to work more closely together. But, that doesn’t mean that they need to be merged or combined. They’re all a part of WPP, and therefore, in a team, we need people who are coming out with ideas and people who are thinking about the media to work together. And it’s even more important given the change in technology. Because if you are trying to find an idea that lives in a Facebook channel, you need to know that before you write the brief. It’s not like the old days where you knew the media choices were either 15 seconds long, 30 seconds long or 60 seconds long. The media choice becomes much more important in the creative idea. So, it’s up to us to find ways of making them work more closely together. Actually that’s part of Srini’s (CVL Srinivas) job. I would expect him to make sure that in WPP India, our media agencies and creative agencies work well together.


If you have separate units and separate P&Ls focused on their own jobs, is getting them to synergise and think together a tad difficult?

Just because things are difficult doesn’t mean they are not possible. They are the right things to do is what I am saying. So one of the ways to make that happen is through leadership and talent. You want to have leadership that leads in it and talent that works together. A part of it is about culture, having a culture of collaboration. A part of it is about location, and we are in the process of moving our people into WPP campuses. I have seen all around the world that the moment you put five WPP companies together in a campus, the level of collaboration grows exponentially. Part of it is technology, where we need to use technology to collect the data. That’s ultimately what clients want - to understand how the data insights drive strategy? From those insights, what’s the best creative idea? How do I target my creative, and how do I use data to measure the results? So, we need to have a technology strategy that integrates the companies so that they can collaborate. I don’t want three people doing the same thing all the time. It’s understanding the different roles, and then understanding when to come together. The P&Ls are much more about measuring the success and the growth and knowing where to invest, also rewarding people. We should have a much more collaborative way of rewarding people in general across WPP.

At a leadership level, the leaders of WPP companies will sit together and work together to lead WPP. That will over time cement a culture of collaboration. It’s not going to happen overnight, but with the changes we are making, with Srini’s leadership, the campuses and the technology, we will work collectively so that clients see the results and get benefits. Then, we win. When people see that they win by working together, they will do more of it. That’s what I observed when I was running Wunderman, when we worked without the parts of WPP in one place. We just won the VW creative business in North America with a totally integrated team from 10 or 12 different WPP companies collaborating. Change in our industry has too often been made by clients. But clients want an integrated list of solutions. So, that’s what we are trying to sort out.


The media agency business has become an arbitrage sort of play. What is the future of the media agency business when you’re playing at small margins? These days, there are pitches where clients expect you to work on 2% commission. There’s hardly any money to go around. Does the business and remuneration model need to be fixed and how do you fix it?

If I look at the business globally, there’s no doubt that the business has gone from media buying scale being competitive advantage to technology differentiation, understanding and scale put together being an advantage. When you look at digital platforms, ironically there’s quite a lot of technology involved, and that requires more people to optimise, plan, coordinate traffic and analyse than the traditional media does. I think our media business around the world has been robust and we operate a number of business models. We work with complete transparency with our clients. I believe if we invest correctly in technology, and work well and partner with Google, Facebook and others, we’ll be successful.

How do you partner with Google and Facebook? A small client can go and buy ads directly on Facebook today.

Already in Essence, we buy all of Google’s media on Google for the world’s largest companies. How do we support smaller clients? There’s really an interesting opportunity for us. We have the expertise. We understand how to use the channels. They are complicated. It does require an integration of creative and media and serving solutions to the more sophisticated clients, where we can demonstrate the value of working with the partner. For instance, clients often need to decide whether they want to spend on Facebook or Google. It’s a tough decision and we can give people who work in the business training, but it’s easier for us to do that for clients.

In December, you unveiled your plans for WPP’s transformation. You said you wanted to achieve an operating profit margin of at least 15% by 2021. What are the sectors that will drive growth to get you to that number?

Each of the pillars of our business can grow. But we are seeing the fastest growth in those that are more technologically-enabled, where we’re helping clients understand how to use new technology, whether that’s for a campaign or experience manager or buying media, those are the parts of business that are seeing the fastest growth. The parts of the business that are most challenged are those that sit on the analogue channels, TV commercials, maybe not in India, but elsewhere in the world. We have to shift those resources and those parts of businesses, particularly commerce, technology and experience, where we will see faster growth than the traditional communications industry.

You’ve also spoken about consultancies, the likes of Accenture and McKinsey, also doing business consultancy for clients, which overlaps with what advertising agencies do. How do you ward off the threat from these companies because there was a time when advertising agency CEOs, for instance, would be involved in the entire marketing communication plan of a client? Today, that role is restricted to advertising communication largely.

 I don’t think that’s totally true. The WPP client team made up of our agencies is overseeing the entire marketing mix for clients. The industry is making special efforts and we’re trying to bring that back. We are in that position with many of our clients and that’s one of our responses. McKinsey and Accenture are very different organisations. In fact, we work collaboratively with McKinsey on a number of clients and I’d say they have an expertise that we don’t have and we have an expertise that they don’t have. We bring creativity, innovation and understanding of the future that consultancies can’t do. Consultancy companies can tell you there are two arguments - that I have studied the data and it tells me this or I’ve observed that 25 other people have done something, therefore you should do it. That’s the basis on which they make recommendations to clients. We tell clients that we should launch this brand because based on our experience, it will resonate with consumers, or we tell them that we feel a creative idea is the best idea, if that’s what we believe in. And I think we are much better able to envision a future and those are things that drive growth for clients.

Now on the Accenture front, the way I see it, either Accenture could become a little bit more like us or probably we will end up becoming a little bit more like Accenture. I don’t think we’ll ever be the same organisation. We have WPP creativity in our DNA in a way that consulting companies never will and there are other things in their DNA that we don’t have.


Do you think that clients’ trust in advertising agencies has gone down?

 No, I think that we do fantastic work for clients. Actually, we can also do a lot of more technologically-enabled work. We actually do have a much greater depth of technology expertise than clients realise, and more often than not, we are not marketing it well enough, and that’s our fault. That’s why we’re trying to re-position WPP in order to help clients understand what we can do. So I don’t think the trust in agencies is declining. I think there is a trust issue in digital media that we all as an industry must try to address. Agencies have to play a role in that, as do media owners and technology platforms.


So what, according to you, is at the heart of the trust issue on the digital media front?

 I think it goes back to that famous cartoon in the New Yorker – ‘No one knows you’re a dog’. There is this sort of illusion of measurability. There’s issues around brand safety, issues around accuracy of measurement, bots – there’s a huge number of industry issues. And I would say that GroupM has taken the leadership position over the last 3-5 years on brand safety, piracy, driving higher standards; so advertisers know what they are getting. One element of trust is just the pace of innovation which means that sometimes clients don’t really know what’s happening. Sometimes trust breaks down when there’s an unpleasant surprise. There have been too many unpleasant surprises in digital media, and that’s something we need to fix. It’s about maintaining standards and it’s about education.


At the heart of this issue is the concern of measurability. We have seen apologies issued by large platforms about incorrect data and so on. Yet, year-on-year, companies are increasing their spends on digital. 

Because digital works. Otherwise, companies wouldn’t invest in it. One of the great successes of Google and Facebook is their ability to grow small businesses, in particular.


For the larger businesses, however, how do you address the problem of measurability? What do you seek from digital platforms?

We seek what we’ve asked for so far – accountability and meeting basic standards. On that front, they have made significant strides in the past couple of years.


As the new head of WPP, what is it that you would ask of your clients, to do or not do for you?

We should have and aspire to have an open and transparent relationship with our clients where they tell us how we are doing and what we need to do better, and solve problems collaboratively. Our industry is tough for young people and we need to work with clients and celebrate the good things that we do and the achievements that we have. We need to have a partnership that is strong.


Why is there is a lack of transparency?

I don’t think there is a lack. I just think it could be better. But where we have a close relationship with our clients, that’s where we are the most effective.

You’ve just restructured your media agency business in India at Mindshare. That’s kind of a pat on the back for them for the Unilever business…

Well, we do have a really strong team here and all of our people are excellent.

The digital change has swept the industry completely and runs ahead of the advertising agencies’ agenda. Thirty years back, advertising agencies were the ones that used to set the agenda for the client’s communication needs. That is no longer the case. The client’s understanding has grown significantly. Agencies are now involved in only one part of the business. There is a lot of scepticism and pessimism about the future of the advertising business. Looking ahead 5-7 years from today, what would companies like Facebook, Google be doing? What do you see advertising agencies morphing into to keep themselves relevant and also the business sustainable at a large enough scale?

We define that for WPP. WPP is an advertising agency, and a lot more than that. We set out this vision of how we will be a creative transformation company and offer a broader range of services, not just advertising but the full range of communications, experience, technology, and help clients in that transformation, which involves all of those things. We can grow strongly. The irony is, while people inside the industry sometimes get too pessimistic about the future, it has in a way attracted consultants and the likes of Facebook and Google. So, they see something in it that we don’t. We have to recapture our confidence. Confidence is not the same as arrogance or competency; we have to change then we can do a lot more. I talk to lots of our clients around the world. And they really value what we do. They want us to change, to be simpler to navigate, more collaborative, invest in more creativity and invest in more technology. I am not pessimistic. I think our industry is going through a structural change, not structural decline, much like any business, and these too have evolved. I think it’s an exciting time.

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Essenza Di Wills launches campaign to introduce new fragrance

The brand has launched Mikkel Verde, a new evening wear fragrance for men


ITC’s premium fragrance brand Essenza Di Wills has launched Mikkel Verde, a new evening wear fragrance for men.

The fragrance has been introduced to consumers through a film. The film juxtaposes the real and the breakaway world that the protagonist yearns to explore. The film opens with the protagonist questioning the physical existence of life caged between walls, pillars and posts whilst his soul wants to break free. The fragrance stimulates the mind to escape the rigid reality and begin a journey to discover the wild unknown. In this cinematic ad-film, Mikkel Verde presents a discovery of your true essence and soul!

Talking about the product and the campaign, Sameer Satpathy, Chief Executive, Personal Care Products Business Division, ITC Limited, said, “Mikkel Verde embodies a fine balance between enigma and elegance. This newly launched fragrance is a unique addition to the repertoire of Essenza Di Wills’ portfolio of fine fragrances. The experience of Mikkel Verde has been interpreted by Denzil in an intriguing film that explores and celebrates the eternal quest for adventure.”

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Parle to launch #HealthIsNotAChoice campaign for its health brand Nutricrunch

The digital campaign is aimed at encouraging people to embrace the ‘health is not a choice’ philosophy


Parle Products is all set to launch a digital campaign - “#HealthIsNotAChoice” for its newly introduced health brand, Nutricrunch under its Platina division. The campaign aims at encouraging people to embrace the ‘Health is not a choice’ philosophy.

The campaign began with innovative posts across Parle Nutricrunch social media platforms and print advertisements across leading newspapers. All the posts strongly advocate treating one’s health and well-being as priority and showcase that one might have options for a lot of aspects in life but one’s journey to good health must not be compromised.

 As a part of the campaign, three digital films will be launched to build awareness about the health benefits of consuming Parle Nutricrunch. The films showcase Parle Nutricrunch as a versatile product that be consumed by housewives who are the gatekeepers of good health for families as well as fitness enthusiasts, working professionals.

Speaking about the campaign, Mayank Shah, Sr. Category Head, Parle Products, said, “In today’s fast-paced world, consumers are constantly looking for different ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Nutricrunch offers just that with its diverse variants like Nutricrunch Lite Cracker, Nutricrunch Digestive, Nutricrunch Honey & Oats. Each of these variants have unique health benefits and make for a brilliant healthy snacking option. #HealthIsNotAChoice" campaign is an endeavor by Parle Platina to encourage Indians to stay fit and make an informed decision about their well-being”.

Each film has a unique key message that resonates well with a specific target audience.  A working professional discussing the stress at work and how Parle Nutricrunch Digestive enriched with superfood Jowar helps in maintaining a proper sugar balance with its antioxidants properties. A housewife talking about how she begins her day on a healthy note with Nutricrunch Lite crackers which has no added sugar, no trans-fat and no cholesterol.  A young fitness enthusiast discussing how Nutricrunch Honey & Oats makes for the best pre-workout companion with its high-fiber content. 

The company in a statement said, the health biscuit and cookies category has been growing at 12-13% per year and is now a sizeable portion of the market at over ₹1,000 crore giving Parle Products more opportunities to tap into the semi-premium and above segments that fetch high margin.

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HDFC Life's new campaign showcases inspiring real-life #Bounceback story

The campaign focuses on the real-life story of Darpan Inani, who lost his sight due to an illness, and yet bounced back to become the highest rated visually impaired chess player in the country


HDFC Life Insurance Company Limited has launched a new brand campaign which focuses on the real-life story of Darpan Inani, who lost his sight due to an illness at a very young age, and yet bounced back to become the highest rated visually impaired chess player in the country.

As a brand, HDFC Life has always stood for pride, encouraging independence through self-reliance. The brand has always highlighted the hard-to-replace-individual who not only provides for his/her family but also enables his/her loved ones to #BounceBack from any challenges they face.

The film showcases the inspiring story of Darpan, whose eyes were affected by the Steven Johnson Syndrome at the age of 3 years, causing him to lose his eye-sight. But this did not stop him from pursuing his dream. According to Darpan, chess is a game of vision and not visibility, thus allowing him the opportunity to compete in the game as any other competitor would. He not only excelled at the game but also went on to become the first visually impaired Indian (in his category) to win the Creon Open Chess tournament, in France in August 2018. Playing a pivotal role in his success, Darpan's family encouraged self-reliance and pushed him to #BounceBack from the situation and to live a life of pride.

Speaking about the campaign, Pankaj Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, HDFC Life, said, "This story of self-reliance strongly resonates with HDFC Life's proposition of 'Sar Utha ke Jiyo'. Through this ad, we want to leave our viewers with the message that anyone can #BounceBack, despite challenges and limitations. All they need is the right kind of support, encouragement and financial preparedness. Darpan's parents imparted a valuable life lesson on self-reliance, serving as a backbone to his success and empowering him to conquer all odds and achieve his dreams.”

Add to this, Rajdeepak Das, MD, India & Chief Creative Officer, South Asia, Leo Burnett, said, “Darpan Inani’s story is about human resilience. His spirit of never giving up embodies HDFC Life’s ‘Sar Utha Ke Jiyo’ ethos. This campaign touches upon the very human behaviour of bouncing back, and it is people like Darpan Inani who inspire us to do our best in any situation. This work is purely Humankind and we hope it will move our consumers into the importance of having life insurance.”

HDFC Life plans to take its new campaign to the customer through different platforms and intensify the brand experience. Apart from television, the film will be supported by other media such as print, radio, OOH, DTH, cinema, live media with a significant focus on digital and social media.

Prepare your family to #BounceBack with HDFC Life:


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Akshay Kumar’s road safety call: An unusually funny & witty govt ad that stood out at PTA

The three-film 'Sadak Suraksha Jeevan Raksha' campaign created by Helios Media, was adjudged the Best TV Commercial at the recently held exchange4media’s Prime Time Awards


Think of a government ad. What is the picture that comes to your mind? Most likely, it will be a no-frill serious film delivering the message in a preachy way. Not your fault. That’s the kind of government ads we are used to watching. Wit, quirk, humour or entertainment are definitely not the features we associate with ads of the government. And so, if a government ad is adjudged the Best TV commercial at the prestigious exchange4media’s Prime Time Awards, defeating hundreds of entries, it definitely calls for a thought. 

The ad in question is the Transport Ministry’s road safety campaign with Akshay Kumar. And most of us who have watched it will surely not disagree with the jury. The three-film 'Sadak Suraksha Jeevan Raksha' campaign was created by Helios Media in collaboration with Bharat Dabholkar, Kiran Vernekar, and Sayali Kulkarni. It was directed by R Balki. 

The ad film is a complete shift from the usual serious style of government ads. The films, which see Akshay Kumar turning into a traffic cop, have a very quirky and humorous approach to the serious issue of road safety. And lines such as ‘aapke baap ka road nahi hai!’ give the coolest of commercials a run for their money and of course leave the audience wondering if it is actually a government ad. 


So how did this non-government-like government advertisement come into being? 

It wouldn’t have happened had it not been for Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, says Divya Radhakrishnan, Managing Director, Helios Media. 

Sharing the story behind the making of the campaign, Radhakrishnan, says, “There was a lot of contribution from Mr. Gadkari. He took a very keen interest. In fact, he approved the script in just 5 minutes. He was very clear that we should not make the ad like a typical government ad. He wanted us to make it like the way ads of brands are made. Working for this ad was a fabulous experience.” 

According to Radhakrishnan, even Akshay Kumar was a big contributor.

“He gave a lot of inputs. He wanted the film to be made very well so that the message is delivered properly. In fact, he did not even charge for it. All that he wanted was a good director so that the film comes out well. It was he who suggested Balki as the director,” she said. 

Radhakrishnan feels it is the “sleekness of production and the way the message has been communicated” that make the films stand out. 

Remembering the thought process that went into conceptualising the ad, she says the biggest issue was how to bring novelty to a message, like ‘wear a helmet’, that has already been delivered to people many times.

“When we got the brief for road safety, we tried several concepts. They were all good, but we felt that that the message was not getting through. That’s when we zeroed down on humour and cracked the concept.”  

The campaign has achieved good popularity on social media, receiving 4 crore views. “And this was organic. It was shared just from Minister Gadkari's and Akshay Kumar’s handles. This is a one-of-its-kind response,” mentioned Radhakrishnan.

The victory at the Prime Time Awards was obviously a sweet moment for everyone involved in the making of the ad. But with a government ad winning an award like this for the first time, it was a special moment even for the ministry.

“It was the first time that an ad made by the government of India has won such an award. It was such a heartening thing for them (ministry) that Mr. Gadkari called us to his office and honoured us.”

A campaign that delivers a social message in an entertaining way is probably a campaign done the best way. We hope to see many more such ads in the future, especially from the government. 

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Sara Ali Khan becomes the new face of Veet

With its high decibel campaign #PullItOff, Veet aims to resonate with the confident and vivacious girl of today


Veet, the hair removal brand today announced Bollywood’s new actress and presently the most popular face, Sara Ali Khan as its new brand ambassador. The brand also launched its new campaign #PullItOff that will focus on communicating the ease of a quick three-step process of hair removal. It complements the attitude of a modern girl of today – who dreams big, lives it up, and seeks the best in whatever she does. She is confident, spontaneous and vivacious; qualities that Sara Ali Khan perfectly embodies.

Veet Cold Wax Strips are one of the simplest ways to wax that do not require wax heating since it comes pre-coated with a special GelWax which grips the shortest hair and not the skin making hair removal super-simple, and not a chore anymore. Conceptualized by Havas Worldwide, Sara’s first ever TV commercial will raise awareness on the ease of using Veet Cold Wax Strips with three simple steps: Peel-Apply-Pull, it’s so easy that anyone can #PullItOff.

Speaking about the new campaign, Pankaj Duhan, Chief Marketing Officer, RB South Asia Health said, “We are pleased to welcome Sara Ali Khan to the Veet family as the brand’s newest ambassador. Sara exemplifies vigour and determination of a strong-minded new age woman who is unfazed by challenges. She is young and brings a freshness that will resonate with our target audience. We understand that the consumer today is looking for quick in-home solutions and Veet Cold Wax Strips are the perfect answer that can help achieve salon like finish by following a simple three-step process.”

Commenting on her association with the brand, Sara Ali Khan said, “I am thrilled for my first ever brand endorsement with Veet Cold Wax Strips. What makes this even special is the fact that I personally have been using Veet products for the longest time. Veet as a brand has always resonated with me for their spirit of innovation in the hair removal category. Every woman radiates beauty from within. #Pullitoff is not just a product statement for me, it underlines the attitude of a modern girl who takes everything in her stride and makes the best of it.”

Sara Ali Khan has created a name for herself with films like Kedarnath and Simmba and is quite popular among the youth. With constant acknowledgment from the audience and her fans, she is an actress who is uniquely expressive and inventive in everything that she does. Hence, Veet believes that young girls of today will relate well with Sara who is ready to make her mark in the industry.

The association with Sara Ali Khan will spin a holistic, 360-degree marketing campaign across print, digital, outdoor and television.

Veet with Sara Ali Khan

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Kurkure signs Taapsee Pannu as brand ambassador, unveils new positioning

‘Khayal toh chatpata hai’ underlines Kurkure’s efforts to recognize the Indian homemaker, who has been the center force in bringing families together


Snack brand Kurkure has roped in leading Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu as its brand ambassador. The announcement is strategically timed as Kurkure embarks on a new journey with its new positioning – ‘Khayal toh Chatpata hai’, celebrating progressive thinking that young Indian homemakers bring in to traditional Indian families.

The company in a statement said, “With a promise to add more fun and excitement to family time, the brand rings in a new mantra, together with the boundless energy of Taapsee, who stands synonymous to the essence of Kurkure.”

‘Khayal toh Chatpata hai’ underlines Kurkure’s efforts to recognize the Indian homemaker, who has been the center force in bringing families together. The new positioning highlights progressive ideologies that the homemaker holds today; from breaking conventional barriers to new-age thinking which embraces modernity while being anchored in tradition.

Sharing her excitement on coming onboard as the brand ambassador of Kurkure, Taapsee Pannu said, “I am extremely excited to be associated with India’s much-loved, and my personal favourite snack, Kurkure. It has been an integral part of my family ‘masti’ moments back home in Delhi and during my breaks while shooting in Mumbai. I have always admired Kurkure for its family and fun orientation. And, as the brand takes on a new positioning of ‘Khayal Toh Chatpata hai’, I look forward to an exciting and chatpata journey with Kurkure.”

Talking about Kurkure’s new positioning and having Taapsee on board,  Jagrut Kotecha, Vice President – Snacks Category, PepsiCo India Ltd, said, “As Kurkure enters a new and exciting phase with ‘Khayal Toh Chatpata Hai’ positioning, we are thrilled to be carrying forward this journey with Taapsee, who resonates well with the brand philosophy. With the new positioning, we aim to celebrate the forward-thinking brought-in by today’s women and Taapsee who is an inspiration to them; and has proved her strength and mettle by taking on unconventional roles, in movies or beyond, is a natural fit.  We welcome her to the Kurkure family”

Taapsee, who has been reigning in her back to back film successes, through this collaboration will be seen in a series of advertising and marketing campaigns. The first in the series, Kurkure has unveiled a new advertisement campaign featuring the actress in her bubbly and chirpy avatar.

In the film, Taapsee, is seen representing a new Indian homemaker, a bahu, who shares her excitement, with her family, on receiving a job offer. Unfortunately, her excitement meets denial from her aunt, who recommends her to take up a hobby at home. As the bahu battles with the disappointment, Kurkure comes to her rescue, as its spices and flavours become her driving force to encourage the aunt to think beyond the conventional. With every bite of Kurkure, Taapsee is seen taking on the task of convincing her aunt of her professional choices, in a witty and fun manner. The film concludes on a positive and happy note, wherein, the family is seen enjoying a pack of Kurkure and the aunt supporting the bahu to venture out and pursue her career and passion.

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Mondelez India celebrates Valentine’s Day with ‘pop your heart out’ campaign

Mondelez India has also partnered with Gully Boy, building in co-branded promotions to create high impact digital buzz during Valentine’s Day


Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk, India’s premium chocolate, enjoys a special place in the hearts of consumers. Having created several occasions and represented a plethora of emotions, Mondelez India is geared up with a special offering for this Valentine’s Day. By amplifying its existing ‘Pop Your Heart Out with Silk’ campaign, Mondelez India recently launched a new heart-warming digital film, ‘Cadbury Silk Unsaid Stories’.

Talking about the marketing strategy for this Valentine’s Day, Anil Viswanathan, Director, Marketing (Chocolates), Mondelez India said, “We received an overwhelming response with the ‘Pop Your Heart Out With Silk’ campaign which was introduced last year. With the recently launched Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk Unsaid Stories, Mondelez India takes forward the narrative of breaking the hesitation around the expression of love. As leaders in chocolate gifting, we endeavour to identify new occasions and empower customers to convey the right emotion with our products.”

Whether it is a school sweetheart, office romance or a travel crush, Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk breaks all barriers, age and cultural urging people to not let any kind of love go unsaid. The TVC opens with a meet-up where members from young to old are shown narrating their love stories, talking about how letting go of that hesitation could have changed the course of their love lives and ‘only if they would’ve expressed to the one they loved, things would have been different. They receive a bar of the Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk Pop Your Heart Out, nudging them to set aside their hesitation and simply say it with Silk.

Creating interesting new shopping experiences through personalization, Mondelez India has also introduced an e-commerce exclusive Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk Heart Shaped Valentine Gift Pack which contains 2 bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk Plain, 60gm each and 2 bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk Oreo, 60gm each along with a customised greeting card and a photo frame. The classic taste of Cadbury chocolates offers you the reason to celebrate this occasion with your loved one. The limited edition product can be purchased for INR 650 on Cadbury Joy Deliveries and Amazon.in.

To scale up the heart-pop initiative and support the digital film and the innovative heart-shaped gift pack, Mondelez India has dedicated a 360 degree integrated marketing campaign which includes TV integrations, high impact outdoor activation, on ground, digital and in-store promotions.

Mondelez India has also partnered with Gully Boy, one of the most awaited movies of 2019 building in co-branded promotions to create high impact digital buzz during Valentine’s Day. For this occasion, Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk has taken over 40 Café Coffee Days across Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore to create visibility. Apart from this, the brand has also undertaken strategic tie-ups with Amazon Store, PVR Cinemas, Ola app integrations to ensure maximum reach. Creating salience with the product, and taking it to the next level by being present across all youth relevant touch points like Snapchat, Tik Tok, music apps like Gaana, Wynk, food apps like Zomato and using celeb influencers are making millions of people Pop their Hearts out!

Cadbury Silk Unsaid Stories

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Round 1 of judging for exchange4media group NEONS Awards & OOH conference to begin today

The 9th edition of the awards for Outdoor Advertising and Digital Signage will take place on March 8


The 9th edition of exchange4media group NEONS Awards & OOH conference 2019 for Outdoor Advertising and Digital Signage is around the corner. 

Established in 2011 to reward excellence in outdoor media, this year’s 1st round of judging will start from February 15 to 24. Entries will be judged online by all jury members.

The final round of judging will take place on February 28 in Gurugram where the jury will decide the winners. 

The jury will be chaired by Rakesh Kaul (Jury Chair), President-Consumer Business and CEO - Evok Retail at HSIL Ltd. The other members who will grace the jury include: Amit Sethiya, Head Marketing, Syska Group; Archana Aggarwal, VP-Media, Airtel; Ashish Baja, Head of Media and Marketing Alliance, OLA; Basant Rathore, Senior VP - Strategy & Business Development, Jagran Prakashan Ltd; Bhavana Mittal, Regional Head of Media, Digital and Communications, Reckitt Benckiser, South Asia; Gajendra Jangid, VP-Marketing, Cars24; Gulbahar Taurani, Director Marketing & Business Head, Philips India; Harshavardhan Chauhan, Central Head of Marketing, DLF Shopping Malls; Pawan Soni, Head - Marketing & Programming, National Geographic India; Prashant Desai, Media Head, Hero MotoCorp; Rahul Pansare, Head Marketing Communications & PR from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; Rameet Arora, COO - Digital Business, Hindustan Times; Rahul Mishra is GM- Marketing, Shemaroo Entertainment Limited; Srideep Kesavan, Director Marketing – Juices, Coca Cola; Sandeep Shukla, Head Marketing & Communications, Jaquar Group; Sonia Serrao, Global Media Lead & Head Marketing Procurement - South Asia, Tata Global Beverages and Suresh Balakrishna, Chief Revenue Officer, The Hindu Group. 

OOH Conference & Awards seeks a way forward for the industry and talks about ways to overcome the challenges when it comes to OOH advertising. 

The first eight editions were highly endorsed by the industry. This edition will recognise and reward the exceptional work in OOH Advertising and Digital Signage for the period January to December 2018. The awards night and felicitation will be held on March 8 at The Leela Ambience, Gurugram. 

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Time for the media ecosystem to change strategies and adapt: Industry leaders

An esteemed group of panelist spoke about how to adapt in the ever-changing media ecosystem at the Pitch Madison Report unveiling in Mumbai

PMAR Panel

The Pitch Madison Advertising Report, the most awaited report of ad spends in the media and advertising industry was revealed on 13th February 2019. The report was launched by Pitch, in partnership with Madison World.

Sam Balasara, Chairman, Madison World revealed that the growth forecast for the media and advertising industry is 16.4% for 2019. The growth in the media market is at an all-time high and it is time for the media ecosystem to change their strategies and adapt.

The panel discussion with speakers from the advertising and broadcasting sector focused on 'How to improve in the ever-changing media ecosystem'. They also touched on the topic of the relationship between the client and an ad agency.

Moderator Raj Nayak, former COO, Viacom 18 posed a question to the panel about what they think is wrong with the media ecosystem. “We harp so much on accuracy and data. Data is the biggest area of concern for the media industry. As an industry, we still do not have data for mediums apart from TV. A unified system of measurement is required”, stated Subha Sreenivasan, Head of Media Services, GCPL. Anagha Bhojane, Group Brand Manager-Media, Asian Paints comments, “We need to look at data of viewers across media platforms. Media integration should be taken seriously. Getting individual data is potent but we need to look at the data as content measurement and not just a platform measurement.”

The media industry has been playing it safe and doing what works for them. “No matter what ecosystem we belong to whether it is media owners or ad agencies; we need to invest time to nurture and grow. We need to look back and reflect on how we have grown and how an ad agency can improve their relationship with their client. It's about how much time you invest in the media ecosystem. We need to improvise and come out of our safe zone,” remarks Anagha Bhojane.

The key focus area should be consumers. Vikram Tanna, VP, Head of Advertising Sales and Business Head of Regional Clusters, Discovery India says, “ Consumers never fail us. Especially with the video platforms growing and attracting consumers. We ought to create a mass ecosystem, develop and overlap the borders of the ecosystem. The sum of the individual parts is going to be much higher than the individual parts. We need to distribute talent as well. Better talent should be all under one umbrella. Integration will attract a larger audience”.

Digital is one of the rapidly growing areas in the media industry. But the question arises: How are digital platforms recorded? “It is largely based on what platform it is. But we need to unify the data of broadcast and digital”, says Subha Sreenivasan, GCPL. “A lot of money for advertising is going to digital. But it is not that effective. A 90-second Facebook commercial is skipped in one second. On a digital platform, we know that viewers for commercials are very low. It depends on how the business is valued and the new world business depends on the number of users, it is about where the consumers are putting their money and time. The problem arises when we try to pitch one medium against the other. There is a certain comfort of consistency; as long as something is working for us we don’t change things. I have data that the majority of people in the morning while commuting is watching Netflix, the data is impossible to be content with. The consumer is also passing by an outdoor advertisement but won’t pay attention to it. The data record should be of both the platforms. It depends on what data and platforms are important for media buyers”, states Gaurav Jeet Singh, General Manager Media (South Asia), Unilever.

In the media ecosystem, especially in the advertising industry, clients keep moving from one agency to another. What seems to be the issue? There should be a common goal and a strong relationship should be built. Subha Sreenivasan, GCPL, says, “Media houses in the past were about efficacy and efficiency. They were looked at as a service provider. As business started to get competitive the role of an ad agency has changed from a service provider to a partner. If we don’t adapt to this changing role, we won’t survive. We partner with Madison because we have equal stakes and equal growth. Our brands are flourishing together.” “Partnership is essential between the client and the ad agency. In a typical ad culture if you are looking for something which is not a longer partnership but immediate gain, that would ruin a partnership”, comments Vanita Keswani, Madison Media Sigma. Gaurav Singh, states, “It is about how agencies are structured in their thinking if there is a team who only works on pitches. agencies are spending money on teams to keep clients. It is quite a relationship. It is about keeping the client”. The scenario has become about results v/s rewards, where the clients are at the top and not the consumer. The new emerging platforms are the only thing that is changing in the media domain. The key factors to focus on is content and talent. Lack of data measurement in the digital space should be changed.

Speaking on the relationship between a client and the agency, the more both of the ecosystems match their goals, the more the relationship will strengthen. The common goal on both sides is savings and that should change. Agencies should be partners and not vendors. Commoditizing the partners is where the problem lies. It should be about two partners working in cohesion. “Not everything is hunky-dory in the media ecosystem. We have depended on the ideology that if things are running in a particular way it should remain in that manner and that should be changed”, concludes moderator Raj Nayak.


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Xiaomi clocked US $15 bn revenue in 7 years, Facebook took 12 years: Manu Jain 

At the Pitch Madison Advertising Report event, Jain, Xiaomi Vice President, MD, talked about building the brand with minimal marketing expenditure

Manu Jain

Xiaomi has been a game changer in the world of smartphones ever since it entered the Indian market. Only three years after entering the India marker, the smartphone vendor has a  market share of  27 per cent for Q4 2018. While for FY 2018, it is 28 per cent.

Manu Kumar Jain has been leading Xiaomi India since 2014 and the company has achieved a huge success which also results in Xiaomi becoming the India’s biggest smartphone vendor. At the Pitch Madison summit, Xiaomi Vice President, MD, Manu Kumar Jain spoke about Xiaomi: Innovation at its best. He also spoke about how they built the brand with their minimal marketing expenditure. 

“When we launched this company 9 years ago, we wanted to change how people consumed mobile internet. We started in April 2010 and it started with the biggest statement i.e. innovation for everyone. We wanted to launch high quality products, we wanted to make them accessible so that everybody could enjoy technology. Our business models are lot more evolved, the first product that we built almost 9 years ago was an operating system that we called the MIUI, then we built boost of internet services like MI Entertainment, MI Movies, MI Music etc.”

Jain shared three basic principles that the brand follows. “Whenever we think of launching hardware device, these are the three basic principles that we follow: great in specifications, great in quality and honest pricing. Honest pricing doesn’t mean that it has to be the lowest selling price, it means that we cut off all the possible costs like distribution, marketing capital, inventory etc.” 

Talking about brand achievements, Jain says, “We are the second largest market in the world, world largest consumer IOT platform and probably the fastest growing tech company. In 2018, we had set a target for ourselves by shipping 100 million units, and we achieved that. To reach US$ 15 billion revenue Google took 9 years, Facebook took 12 years, Ali Baba took 17 years, Apple took 20 years but Xiaomi reached that in just about 7 years.” 

“Today, we have more than 100 million internet connected devices. We also have fitness bands, we are the largest fitness device company in the world. Apart from that, we also have smart scooters, smart cycles, smart washing machine, smart TV, probably that is why we were rated as one of the smartest company of the world,” he added. 

Sharing the insights about Xiaomi India’s jouney, Jain said, “Xiaomi India started in July 2014, we started from a very small room with only 6 people. So the first phone that we launched was Mi 3. I remember at that point of time I met a lot of tech experts, telecom experts. And one of the biggest CEOs told me that Xiaomi can never succeed in India. On asking why, he said it was because Xiaomi was a difficult name to pronounce and because we were thinking of selling it online when the entire market was offline. So, the first business plan was very simple of bringing 10,000 phones and selling 10,000 phones. We went through our Facebook page and saw 10,000 people were following us. The first sale was on July 22, 2014, on Flipkart and the site crashed. Flipkart crashed for the first time in its history. About half a million people turned up to buy these 10,000 phones.”  

Talking about the brand’s offline journey, Jain said: “In 2017, we ventured into the offline segment. We launched our first offline store in a 600 sqft store in a mall in Bangalore. On the first day of the launch, we had more than 10,000 Mi Fans and we did around Rs 5 crore sale in one day, that’s when we started building a lot of stores across the country.”

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