We must each establish our own unique approach: Divya Karani

The CEO of South Asia, Media Services, dentsu, shares her mantra for women professionals, her idea of a gender-just workplace and more

e4m by Kanchan Srivastava
Published: Mar 7, 2022 8:34 AM  | 6 min read
Divya Karani

Deftly and skillfully handling the global media strategy in South Asia for dentsu, Divya Karani has proved time and again that she is fully equipped to ensure the agency’s alignment and relevance in the market. Karani is a strong example of how women leaders across sectors are breaking the glass ceiling time and again despite the highly competitive business environment.

As part of our Women's Day series, the CEO of South Asia, Media Services, dentsu, shares how the pandemic hit the women workforce and why it has become crucial more than ever to create a gender-balanced workplace. Read on.

Excerpts:

What are your thoughts on this year’s International Women’s Day theme, ‘Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow’? According to you, how can women leaders and workers in the formal space create a sustainable future?

A sustainable future can only be created if we make some solid progress on gender equality. Let’s consider women being in more productive and decision-making roles in the workplace. We must work on the disturbance in sectors where women are the larger percentage.

Studies show us that despite professional women becoming more visible, they don’t hold enough positions of authority. Only 3 per cent of CEOs and only 6 per cent of top managers are women. Fortune 500s have just 15 per cent women board members. Companies with more women in leadership positions perform better. This research is from Catalyst, McKinsey, etc. Women being still on the sidelines is a disturbance.

The pandemic disproportionately harmed industries. More so those with large female workforces. That’s 40 per cent or 510 million women worldwide! This female workforce is in the worst-hit industries like the service sectors. So, there’s serious disturbance. Now, look at unpaid care and women’s household tasks. If we don’t tackle these longstanding issues, more women will compromise their jobs.

Women are usually more ecologically conscious than men – yes, this is debatable. But because of societal positions, they are more likely to be affected by environmental issues. That’s how they are increasingly organizing cooperatives of artisanal and agricultural goods, as per Fair Trade Federation to improve their lives and their ecosystems. That’s sustainable development by women at work.

International Women's Day is a chance to recognize women's workplace achievements, sure. But we’ve got to do beyond devising programs to support women for that sustainable tomorrow. Sustainability is really about good governance, it’s a political idea that’s difficult to implement. It can be easier if we move towards gender parity.

What is your idea of a gender-just workplace? Please draw from your own experiences to share how a supportive work environment helped you attain your goals?

The Harvard Business Review asked nearly 200 global business leaders what the qualities of business leaders were. Among the top 10 are qualities like ethical, organized and communicative. These are measurable qualities that can help decide who rises to leadership levels. Women do better when the expectations are measurable. But often, less measurable terms like “gravitas” or “command of the room” come up, allowing biases to creep into the decision-making process.

Despite mounting evidence linking diverse and inclusive workplaces to increased profitability and performance, the corporate world has been generally unsuccessful in achieving gender equality.

Despite the fact that women make up half of the workforce, they are far less likely to assume leadership roles.

Creating a gender-balanced workplace entails more than just recruiting more women and pledging pay fairness. While this is an excellent first step, gender inequality is a deeply established systemic issue that necessitates some foundational work. That's why the tried-and-true "add ladies and stir" strategy is usually doomed to fail.

The foundation for diverse and underrepresented perspectives to be heard and respected is laid by cultivating a culture of support and inclusivity. A supportive culture of inclusion and equity is required for women (or employees who identify as nonbinary, trans, or any other minority group) to succeed in the workplace.

Every employee, regardless of gender identity, feels supported and appreciated in a truly inclusive workplace. In addition to establishing a sense of belonging, a gender-inclusive workplace culture has the capacity to elevate previously unheard perspectives and recognise various experiences, fostering an environment of genuine respect and trust.

How do you empower women in their workplace?

Throughout the years, I have always advocated for complete and total equality among my employees. In my personal and organisational capacities, I have tried my hardest to be there for each member as and when needed.

However, I've come to learn that treating everyone as equal and empowered isn't enough. "No matter how inclusive we strive to be, we can always do more," says Victoria N. McGovern. We can always improve."

Today, I am actively promoting both equality and equity. This is accomplished by-

  • Acting as a change agent and a role model for inclusive activities: We value diversity and go out of our way to find it. We go out of our way to listen to and understand other points of view, effectively welcoming the world as one in our thoughts and deeds. Individually, we become who we are as a corporation when we do the right thing. Every day at dentsu, we seek to have a positive impact on our people, clients, the environment, and society.
  • Drawing out the best in each team member: We believe in leveraging variances as a source of strength, which is why dentsu celebrates eccentricities. We want to motivate everyone to attain their best potential and work together for a cause that is bigger than any one person.
  • If necessary, react to the actions of others: This isn't necessary very often, though, when we as leaders walk our talk. When necessary, however, affirmative and prompt remedial action is done.

What is your advice to the young women who are either working in or planning to join your industry?

We live in a world where women have made significant sacrifices for our rights in the past. There are no justifiable or acceptable excuses in such a world. BE YOURSELF is my message to all ladies.

  • There is no one-size-fits-all solution; we must each establish our own unique approach. Because occupations and titles will vary, get to know yourself and your own ideals.
  • We are not in charge of having all of the answers. Because we just don't have the time to put all of our duties on hold, and we can't do it alone, be realistic and pragmatic, and locate the help you need to manage your different roles simultaneously.
  • Go forward and make your claim.

I wish each and every one of you success, happiness, and fulfilment.

 

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Flipkart assigns digital AOR mandate to 22feet Tribal Worldwide

The mandate includes managing Flipkart’s digital campaigns and strategy

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 7, 2023 11:03 AM   |   1 min read

flipkart

Flipkart has awarded its digital AOR mandate to 22feet Tribal Worldwide, following a multi-agency pitch.

The mandate includes managing Flipkart’s digital campaigns and strategy.

Commenting on the win, Preetham Venkky, President - 22feet Tribal Worldwide & Chief Digital Officer, DDB Mudra Group said, “With this digital AOR mandate, we are thrilled to be partnering with Flipkart. Our commitment to creatively enabling Flipkart’s next stage of growth with an increased focus on strengthening their commercial spectrum is hugely exciting. Our teams will provide unexpected and clutter-breaking solutions to help India’s homegrown e-commerce market leader overcome new challenges in the online marketplace.”

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Ogilvy wins creative mandate for Eveready India

The mandate will be handled by Ogilvy’s Mumbai and Kolkata offices

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 7, 2023 10:46 AM   |   1 min read

Ogilvy

Eveready has appointed Ogilvy India as their creative partner. The mandate will be handled by Ogilvy’s Mumbai and Kolkata offices.

Anirban Banerjee, Senior Vice President & Business Unit Head - Battery & Flashlight, said: “The brand which started off describing a powerful battery with ‘Give me Red’, went on to define a generation. We are thrilled to partner with Ogilvy on Eveready’s transformation to re-energise the brand and increase its relevance among the new generation, across its batteries, flashlight and lighting businesses.”

Piyush Pandey, Ogilvy’s Chairman Global Creative & Executive Chairman India, said: “Ogilvy is delighted to partner Eveready. A brand that touches all parts of India from urban to rural. We look forward to creating exciting work that builds both brand and business.”

On the win, Sukesh Nayak, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy India said, “From growing up with these batteries firing up my imagination by bringing all my toys to life to being able to partner the team in charting the next journey of ‘Give me Red’ is truly humbling. My team and I are super excited about this win, and we can’t wait to partner and create work that captures the imagination of everyone.”

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ASCI scans 45,000 digital ads every month: Manisha Kapoor

As controversies and violations of the ASCI code rise in tandem with digital advertising, ASCI CEO and Secretary General Manisha Kapoor calls for brainstorming within the creative industry

By Kanchan Srivastava | Feb 7, 2023 9:03 AM   |   5 min read

asci manisha kapoor

As digital advertising has witnessed an exponential rise over the past couple of years, the challenges of the advertising standard council of India (ASCI) have also gone up. 

Tracking misleading campaigns across the digital universe is far trickier than scrutinising those on mainstream TV and print media.

While a large number of brands, especially startups and SMBs, advertise on social media only, making the sheer number of digital advertisers huge, digital ads are created and replaced quickly, making ASCI's job even more challenging.

The self-regulatory organization has deployed AI-based software that identifies a whopping 45,000 digital campaigns a month for violations of various codes. This is almost double compared to the numbers two years ago.

“Out of 45,000, on average 500 ads are taken up for further probe every month,” says Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary General of the industry’s self-regulatory body.
Besides proactive monitoring, ASCI also receives plenty of consumer complaints against misleading ads on digital platforms, thanks to increasing awareness and sensitivity among Indians.

“Digital ads account for almost half of the cases that ASCI deals with, followed by Print (47%) and then TV (3%). Radio and outdoor campaigns rarely land in trouble as they are much smaller platforms compared to others”, Kapoor points out, highlighting the scale and scope of ASCI’s work in the expanding digital ad market in India.

How does the AI software work?

Meta library lists all ads on the meta platform. The AI-based software red flags only those ads which use certain keywords that are generally used by advertisers to mislead consumers.

Kapoor explains, “For instance, in the food category, the software can track ads that carry the 'immunity booster' phrase. Similarly, in the education category, '100 % jobs' is the catchword. Unless the brands submit solid evidence to prove their claims, such ads are considered misleading.”

Instagram tops in misleading ads

Over 80 percent of misleading ads were floated on leading social media platforms led by Instagram (43%), followed by YouTube (28%), Twitter (6%) and Facebook (3%), ASCI’s data reflects. Websites (18%) also contribute to propagating misleading ads, Kapoor explains.

Kapoor adds that disguised advertising on social media is another challenge for the self-regulatory body, “Many digital ads mimic content. Influencers and blog writers are making ASCI’s jobs even tougher.”

The software also has a certain limitation when it comes to audio ads. “Audio and outdoor are much smaller platforms. Even though our software can’t scan audio ads, we take consumer complaints in this regard,” Kapoor insists.

The majority of advertisers caught by ASCI are D2C brands. Education (26%), Healthcare (15%) and personal care (12%) categories are the top violators. Content violation and Influencers' non-disclosure violations have gone up two-fold over the last four years in the beauty and personal care segment alone, ASCI has found.

Resources

Does the ASCI have enough resources to do a fair job considering its workload and the challenges of the digital advertising ecosystem?

“Even if you have a full army with you, it is difficult to track digital ads. We use filters to prioritize our work. For instance, from April to June, we divert our resources to track education ads and December-January we keep a close tab on skincare and moisturizer ads. This allows us to make a shortlist and then we go through ad by ad. Some violations may be nuanced that require human intervention. Those are taken up by our expert panel,” Kapoor explains.

In two years, the number of ad violations has shot up by 80 percent. We are able to handle the work with the same physical infrastructure and resources. We are smart and quick about what we are tracking, she tells with pride.

Advice to advertisers

Every year, a lot of advertisements land in political controversies, are trolled by social media armies and are sometimes retracted by brands. What advice would she like to give the brands to avoid such troubles?

Kapoor says frankly, “Go all out and be creative as long as you are complying with the ASCI code. We would like to see successful advertising. It's a very vibrant field and has been part of our life and culture. Great advertising must be great for consumers and all stakeholders. We have seen some great advertising that is compliant. We would love for them to be interesting, and entertaining and use more formats. Brands should not take up social issues without understanding nuances.”

Such brands are neither thoughtful nor seek advice from domain experts. Hence, they are caught on the wrong foot. If a brand wishes to steer clear of controversy, it has to be more mature and meaningful. Our report “What India takes offense to' released in 2022 has given enough insight into what triggers people. Obvious pitfalls can surely be avoided, Kapoor advises.

“However, a few controversies can't be predicted as people always have their points of view. That is the cost of doing business. If your work can get trolled in a healthy way, it's fine. It should not become a law and order problem,” Kapoor says.

“We are living in a hypersensitive world. People are becoming more and more sensitive, not only in India but across the world and rightly so. It's a difficult time for the industry to navigate these issues but there is no choice. Brainstorming is the need of the hour”, she opines.

Adequate diversity needed

Adequate diversity in creative advertising is very crucial. It will help advertisers and agencies have a more rounded approach while making campaigns. Besides, brands should back the ad they have put out. Companies can come to us and seek advice about potential violations before making an ad.

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GREY Group India & Netmeds celebrate the courage of cancer fighter Anchal Sharma

‘The Girl In Red Lipstick’ campaign has been conceptualised by GREY group India

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 7, 2023 8:12 AM   |   2 min read

cancer

This World Cancer Day (4th February), Netmeds is celebrating the courage of Anchal Sharma, a cancer fighter.

The film conceptualized by GREY group India is based on the true story of Anchal Sharma called, “The Girl in Red Lipstick”. The film aims to spread the message for cancer fighters and caregivers #SilenceCancerNotTheFight

Anchal Sharma, a cancer fighter, used red lipstick as her weapon to find courage and fight the struggles of cancer treatment. Not only did she keep her head held high, but also used the lipstick to spread her positivity among other fighters. The bright hue on her beaming smile is what stood out for everyone around her as a constant reminder to not give in and keep fighting.

Speaking about this film, Sandipan Bhattacharyya, Managing Director & Chief Creative Officer, GREY group India said, “In Anchal’s story we saw something that could truly inspire everyone who takes on cancer. It’s a story that needs to be shared so we all can get a bit of her courage and that incredible zest for life.”

Shantanu Saha, Chief Marketing Officer, Pharma Business, Reliance Retail, said, “The thought behind this film stemmed from the fact that Netmeds, as an empathetic intermediary between the care receiver and the caregiver, has so many humane stories to tell. These stories are stories we are exposed to on a daily basis. Stories that come back to us from our delivery staff, our customer service staff and from our own networks of friends, colleagues and family. Why not share a few of these stories of healing, courage, wellness & hope with our audience, through the medium of short stories with real-life protagonists. This World Cancer Day, we share the story of Anchal Sharma. A story of sheer grit, positivity and the willpower to want to live life and spread hope, on her own terms. It sits well with our Brand Purpose, which is to provide genuine medicines, at a reasonable price and on time, to the caregivers and care receivers who buy from us. By doing this, we attempt to help deliver, in our own small way, wellness and hope to everyone across the whole nation. We are after all ‘India ki Pharmacy’.”

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Otrivin & Wunderman Thompson create ‘non-toxic’ pencils for school kids

Pioneering project initiated by Haleon brand and Wunderman Thompson Singapore installs air purifiers in schools to collect toxic air particles and turn them into ‘Otrivin Pollution Capture Pencils’

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 6, 2023 1:22 PM   |   3 min read

Otrivin

Nasal health brand Otrivin has launched a pioneering clean air initiative called ‘Otrivin Pollution Capture Pencils’. The innovative project collects pollution by-products and uses them to make (certified non-toxic) pencils for underprivileged children in Bengaluru, India.

Developed in collaboration with Wunderman Thompson Singapore as part of WPP Team GSK/Haleon for the Otrivin Actions to Breathe Cleaner programme, the project has focused on Bengaluru.

For this initial phase of the project, twenty-two air purifiers, with the ability to wipe out up to 74% air-borne pollutants, were installed both inside and outside the school buildings to improve air quality for over 1,500 young students.

Over two months, the specially designed purifiers, which use revolutionary soot cleaning technology developed by Indian innovation company Panjurli Labs, and cleaned over 2 billion cubic feet of toxic air.

The resulting pollution residue was gathered and mixed with graphite to create the core of 10,000 custom-designed pencils. Certified non-toxic, Otrivin’s Pollution Capture Pencils were distributed to students, and will also act as fundraising tools for the installation of more air purifiers in local schools – thereby creating a self-sustaining ecosystem for change.

Farhad Nadeem, Global Marketing & Digital Director, Otrivin, said: “We at Haleon and our creative partners are led by our purpose – to help people breathe cleaner. The Otrivin Actions To Breathe Cleaner initiative is built on the premise that no action is too small when it comes to reducing our exposure to air pollution. The Otrivin ‘Pollution Capture Pencils’ pilot in India is one such action that attempts to convert air pollution into positivity. We hope that this initiative, while not solving India’s pollution challenge, inspires people to take simple actions to make the world a better place to live in and breathe.”

The collaboration is supported by a launch campaign developed by Wunderman Thompson Singapore, working in conjunction with a wider team at WPP including Wunderman Thompson India and Grey London.

Wunderman Thompson Singapore’s Creative Director, Aarti Nichlani, who has been involved with the project from the start, says: “Air pollution is not going away in a hurry. Meanwhile, it’s the poorest children who bear the greatest burden. An innovation like Pollution Capture Pencils helps make a change at a time when children need it most… today.”

Wunderman Thompson Singapore’s Chief Creative Officer, Mateusz Mroszczak, says of the project: “The biggest reward for any creative agency is to deliver an idea that works both for the client and the greater good. An opportunity like this doesn’t come by often. We’re really proud to have partnered with Otrivin to take a small, but meaningful step to help bring cleaner air to India’s children.”

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For Valentine’s Day, CaratLane shares stories of love in #KhulKeKaroExpress campaign

The campaign is created by BBH India

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 6, 2023 1:01 PM   |   2 min read

CaratLane

CaratLane, an omni-channel jewellery brand, has launched its Valentine’s Day campaign, “Khul Ke Karo Express”. Building on the brand’s core purpose to help consumers express themselves, the campaign brings forward multiple stories inspired by real CaratLane customers sharing their emotions. While spouse gifting is still the majority of the gifting orders during Valentine’s Day, the brand has also seen other relationships like mother-daughter, self-gifting, and sibling-gifting emerging in a big way. The campaign video showcases the roller coaster dynamic between a father and daughter, the unsaid love story of a husband and wife, and the affection shared by a son and mother. The video subtly captures the narrative of how sometimes we are caught in the monotony of life and miss expressing our love to our loved ones. The #KhulKeKaroExpress campaign has been conceptualised and executed by “BBH India (a Publicis Groupe agency)”.

To bring this campaign to life, CaratLane has also introduced an exclusive message card in their gift box. This card has a QR code to add a personalised message, integrated with AR activation in-stores. This allows consumers to express their message without hesitation and adds to a customised jewellery experience to make Valentine’s gifts truly unforgettable.

Talking about the campaign, Jennifer Pandya, VP Marketing of CaratLane, said, “We are very excited to launch this campaign in time for Valentine’s Day. We know that the brand plays a big role in enabling people to express their emotions to their loved ones through the gift of jewellery, but as humans, we don't always find it easy to express what we really feel. So we wanted to champion the expression of emotions. Our consumers tell us that the biggest payoff while gifting is the joy and happiness they see on the receiver's face when they unbox the gift. Through this campaign, we have tried to capture these emotions, joy, happiness, and excitement - to encourage everyone to express their emotions.”

Aarti Srinivasan, ECD, BBH India added, “In a technologically advanced world, it's refreshing to take a moment and show the old-school way.  Remaining true to BBH’s ‘Zag’ philosophy and CaratLane’s mission to help people express emotions, we wanted to elevate the feeling of gifting by focusing on the moment of gifting; of looking into someone's eyes and expressing what you feel unabashed and at the same time see the emotions of the receiver. Hence, the thought of #KhulKeKaroExpress was born.”

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In RummyCircle’s new film, Hrithik Roshan talks about making the right choices in life

This is the fourth edition of ‘raho ek kadam aage’ campaign

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 6, 2023 12:44 PM   |   2 min read

rummycircle

RummyCircle has launched the fourth edition of its Raho Ek Kadam Aage campaign with brand ambassador Hrithik Roshan, which features exciting action-packed stories of how the star uses his skills to deal with real-life scenarios and his game of online rummy.

Continuing with its underlying theme, the fourth edition of this popular campaign focuses on how foresight, skill, and intelligence are crucial for skilled and responsible gameplay.

The year-long campaign has featured multiple creative films around the central theme of skill gaming using the catch line of Raho Ek Kadam Aage, highlighting the use of planning, critical thinking, situational responses, and decision-making, etc, as winning strategies. Four campaigns have been released in a span of a year-long engagement with Hrithik Roshan as RummyCircle’s brand ambassador, regularly infusing new energy into the campaign and sustaining consumer interest.

Commenting on the campaign, Avik Das Kanungo, Associate Vice President- Brand and Marketing Strategy, Games24x7 said “We are thrilled to present the fourth edition in our series of Raho Ek Kadam Aage campaign with Mr. Hrithik Roshan, where he brings his highly skilled and action-packed moves to highlight how he makes the right ‘choice’ to win in life and in rummy. We’ve had an extremely exciting year where we’ve attempted to build the category and reinforce the core brand message of skilled and responsible gameplay while showcasing the thrill of the game. The campaigns have been successful in highlighting RummyCircle as a preferred platform for online rummy where players can hone their gameplay and compete with other skilled players.”

The film in fourth edition of the #RahoEkKadamAage campaign shows Hrithik set in a surreal space where he equates the importance of choosing the right script, with making the right moves in the game of Rummy. He’s also seen carefully making a ‘choice’ to discard and pick the right cards in the game. The film has been designed by DDB Mudra. The fourth leg of this multi-media campaign will be digitally led and will engage consumers through popular video platforms like YouTube and Sharechat as well as various OTT and social media platforms.

 

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