The new creative approach is to go back to the basics: Prateek Bhardwaj, Lowe Lintas

Bhardwaj, Chief Creative Officer, Lowe Lintas gives an insight into the need for big ideas that will stay across mediums and over long periods of time

Prateek Bhardwaj

Ever wondered what it takes to create an award-winning work or what goes behind translating briefs to brilliant work? Lowe’s newly-crowned Creative, who is also one of the most gifted copywriters in the industry, Prateek Bhardwaj shares his insights on the new creative approach, clients, trends and injecting fresh thinking into brands. 

Bhardwaj joined the agency as Chief Creative Officer from McCann Worldgroup India where he was National Creative Director. He has also worked on some iconic brand campaigns for Paytm, Coca Cola and Sprite among others. 

Exchange4media had a chat with the mastermind behind the lines that are now part of Indian pop culture — ‘Sprite bujhaye only pyaas, baki all bakwaas’, ‘Boond boond mein vishwaas’ and ‘Hum Chlor-mint kyon khaate hain’.

Edited excerpts: 

How did you get into advertising? What was the first brand you worked on?

A series of happy accidents got me here. I wasn’t even aware of advertising as a serious profession until I arrived at Sista Saatchi & Saatchi, New Delhi, on a summer internship. While my main project involved getting research questionnaires filled, I ended up writing posters and jingles for DuPont’s pesticide brands because the copywriter hadn’t come in for work. The work was fun, the people were warm and encouraging, the office was close to home, and so I just kind of stayed on.

Since you look after all the offices in the North, are there any regional trends that you notice?

Most brands in Delhi and Mumbai are advertising for national audiences. So the approach is quite similar. In fact, I see a lot of cross-country alignments with Creatives from one branch working on brands from another. It’s a great way to inject fresh thinking into a brand. 

How different are the set of clients you were with at your previous agency to the ones you're working with at Lintas?

Not much, you know. I think the mix is almost exactly the same with a couple of big MNCs, some strong Indian businesses and a bunch of new-age start-ups defining the work. While the individual processes may vary slightly, I think every client everywhere is seeking the same thing – for creativity to solve real business problems.

Your campaign 'Immunity Charm' won the Grand Prix for the good at Cannes 2017. Let’s rewind. Tell us about the creative brief to you and how you cracked it.

Immunity Charm was one of those blessed pieces where everything just came together perfectly. The Ministry of Public Health, Afghanistan, posed a fascinating problem - an entire culture immune to vaccines, and a challenge to communicate in media-dark areas. As we dug deeper into Afghan life, we discovered the evil eye bracelet tied on new-borns. From there, the idea just exploded. But the hardest part was to get it executed on the ground in a place like Afghanistan. We had so many false starts before the idea could actually go live. Hats off to the entire team and the Ministry.

What is the new creative approach that you would like to bring to the forefront as we go forward? 

The new creative approach is to go back to the basics. The digital age is actually re-establishing the old order – that idea comes first. Now, more than ever, we need big, brand ideas that we can hold on to, across mediums and over long periods of time. There’s just too much content, too much social, too much TV, too many messages for audiences today. I think they’re forgetting communication as fast as they are consuming it. Which makes it crucial for brands to find a big idea that can be consistently delivered across mediums. It’s only when we stick to our messaging that anything will stick in the consumers’ head.

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