PMAR 2018: We are in the business of advertising, not egos: Avinash Pandey

Avinash Pandey, COO, ABP News Network, related his recent experience at Harvard Business School to the issues faced by the advertising industry in India

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Feb 16, 2018 8:56 AM  | 3 min read

The advertising industry is poised for a much better year ahead as compared to last year, with Adex slated to grow by 12%, touching almost Rs 60,000 crore in 2018, according to the newly released Pitch-Madison Report 2018. That said, there are still niggling issues in the advertising industry which require a certain change in approach within the industry and more transformational thinking, in order to ensure a smoother road ahead.
With this thought as the theme of his message, Avinash Pandey, COO, ABP News Network, addressed the audience at the release of the Pitch-Madison Advertising Report 2018 in Mumbai, relating his recent experience at Harvard Business School, to the issues faced by the advertising industry in India.
According to Pandey, “Four main issues hindering growth in the advertising industry today are self-destruction, switching cost, rivalry among existing players and changing technology.” In terms of self-destruction, Pandey discussed the issues related to the restrictions of airing certain ads on TV including condom ads, alcohol-related ads and ads for prescription drugs. His view was that instead of policy-making bodies policing what people have a right to view, the industry should come to a consensus and insist that if a person has a right to buy a product, then he/she should also have the right to view an ad for it, because if one can’t control what people buy, there is no reason for advertisers to lose significant revenue, thereby hampering their growth.
Secondly, in terms of switching accounts, Pandey touched upon the fact that last year, almost Rs 5,000 crore-plus was spent on pitch accounts and given the fact that switching costs are so low, clients easily move from one agency to another, as they are being offered the same content at a marginally lower cost. This is also related to rivalry in the industry hampering growth, because, as per Pandey, if price is the only criteria or differentiator, everyone will lose.
The growth of digital as a mode of distribution and the increasing number of online viewers is proof of changing technology in the industry and this is another area which advertisers need to watch out for.
Again, listening to clients is everything. Sharing an anecdote of an orchestra he attended at Harvard, Pandey said, “Each of us in the room was asked to sit next to a musician and when the music stopped, we were asked what we heard. Being a typical news channel person, I spoke about the various notes I had heard from across the room. However, when another person was asked the same question, he replied that he had only heard the musician next to him.” Pandey related this to the fact that advertisers need to listen more to their individual client needs and not just the general buzz and noise in the industry.
Finally, on a parting note, Pandey urged all those in the audience to ditch their egos, stating, “We are in the business of advertising and not egos,” and that the biggest learning for him from Harvard was that, “If you want to learn something or grow, the first thing you need to give up is your ego.” That, coupled with appreciating things and people around us can make much more of a difference, not only to the way we interact with each other, but the way we do business at large.

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