The current creative scenario in South is merely average: Madhukar Sabnavis

There hasn't been too much of pushing of frontiers on creativity from South and it has been patchy, laments Vice-Chairman & Country Head - Discovery & Planning, O&M India, who has spent 26 years with the agency

e4m by Deepa Balasubramanian
Updated: Feb 14, 2014 8:50 AM
The current creative scenario in South is merely average: Madhukar Sabnavis

Madhukar Sabnavis, a multi-faceted personality from the ad world, has been with Ogilvy & Mather India for 26 years now. One of the key personnel at O&M India, he looks at challenges as an opportunity to grow.

In conversation with exchange4media, Madhukar Sabnavis, Vice-Chairman & Country Head - Discovery & Planning, Ogilvy & Mather India talks about the opportunities, creating ideas that makes a difference, focus areas for 2014 and more…

What are your views about the current creative scenario in the South?
Honestly, the current scenario in the South is merely average. There hasn’t been too much of pushing of frontiers on creativity from South and it has been patchy. A lot of the creativity is coming out from Mumbai. Few good ones from the South would include The Times of India’s campaign and The Hindu’s campaign last year.

What’s your most memorable campaign in the last year?
The Hindu’s campaign ‘Behave India’ was one of the more memorable ones that was created out of South and made a mark.

What is the biggest challenge that you face while working on a project?
The biggest challenge is breaking the TV centricity. TV is such a dominant medium in this country that getting brands or clients to start experimenting with multimedia is a challenge. Digital is the future of advertising in India. The fact is that TV is highly penetrated as opposed to the internet. Doing an integrated campaign is truly a challenge and an opportunity.

Ogilvy being one of the largest agencies in India and you being with the agency for more than two decades, how has the experience been so far with respect to the sheer scale of work?
It’s been 26 memorable years with Ogilvy. When I joined, it was a multi-disciplinary agency. Since then, we have been growing and evolving by raising the creative bar. As an individual, new and diverse opportunities have constantly poured in within the agency and that’s why I never had to look for a job out of Ogilvy. We are now an active part of the global network. It’s been a good ride. If you hit a sweet spot in the same organisation, you wouldn’t want to go out of the agency.

What are some of the industry issues that bother you in your domain?
Two things bother me – talent and agency compensation. Not that we don’t have enough talent at Ogilvy, but, of course, I would like to get the best talent, increase the benchmark in getting more talent to agency, who would spend longer time in agency like me. Youth has more opportunities today and that makes retention a challenge. I wish we, as an industry, can find better way to get better compensation by clients.

Being a veteran in the industry a lot is expected from you. How do you react to expectations?
We are in the business of creating ideas, so we need to be continuously pushing the envelope. We need to adapt ideas to newly evolving platforms. If there are any new expectations, I am willing to listen and improve.

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