Home >> Advertising >> Article

Advertising really began with the entry of brand Nirma: Ajai Jhala, BBDO India

14-June-2018
Font Size   16
Advertising really began with the entry of brand Nirma: Ajai Jhala, BBDO India

Within the first five minutes into our conversation, Ajai Jhala, one of India’s gifted advertising veterans and Chief Executive Officer of BBDO India, makes an interesting statement: “We do the best creative in a rather collaborative culture”.

No wonder that BBDO India has bagged every perceivable award and global recognition. And of course, it got home the Grand Prix- the stuff of folklore.

Jhala, one of the forces behind the success of the agency, recently stepped down as its CEO after dedicating 10 years to establishing its India business and working on some of the most iconic campaigns such as ‘Share the load’ (Ariel), ‘Release the pressure’ (Mirinda), among others.

Jhala, who is now serving his notice-period at BBDO India, says, “10 years of BBDO has been an incredible journey. It was a difficult but rewarding one and we're glad that we have been doing great work. We’ve built something new in the India market.”

Before BBDO India, Jhala was at Lowe Worldwide for six years as Global Communications Director for Unilever and was based in London, Paris and New York. Prior to Lowe, he served as a Planning Director at Ogilvy & Mather, New York.

When we quizzed Jhala on his decision of stepping down and where he is headed to, he shared that he is taking a break to be with the nature. “I’m moving from this very collaborative culture to agriculture,” he quips, and we share a laugh.

Jhala reminisces his journey of creating a concept for BBDO in India. “When we came to India, for most people, the agency was just four letters and a US company. Although it was well-established globally, it didn’t have a meaning in the country. This was a time when a lot of agencies were launching,” he opens up.

The CEO believes that what really worked out for the agency was their approach of creating powerful ads in social contexts.

As we ask the adman what was the general mood of advertising when he started off, he says it was almost 30 years ago when advertising was probably not as relevant.

“To me, advertising really began with the entry of Nirma. Because before Nirma, you just gave the consumer what you produced. And I believe that it was marketing that created brand Wheel. It was the first campaign that truly delivered the marketing message,” says Jhala who reveals that his first campaign as a trainee was Surf Lalitaji.

“I feel so lucky to have come at a time when marketing and advertising began and it was truly needed. Back then, it wasn’t about nice headlines and pretty-looking models. While the work then wasn’t extraordinary, you weren’t pushed against the wall by a competitor who blind-sided you,” shares a nostalgic Jhala

“A lot of our ads have championed social-disobedience and is contrarian to what others do,” he continues.
Jhala suggests that award juries need to look at the marketing context of an ad campaign while judging it. “There are times when the jury is raw and they tend to award work without understanding the marketing context of a campaign,” he contends and shares how Indian juries didn’t award Ariel's 'Share the load' as much as the global juries did.

When we speak about the good and the not-so-good aspects of Indian , Jhala goes on to explain that Indian creative agencies need to be lauded for the work they are bringing to the table despite the country, at times, grappling with issues like censorship and not so rich creative culture. “However, a lot of valuable time and airtime gets wasted on focusing on meaningless differentiation rather than meaningful distinctiveness,” says the ad stalwart with an air of finality.

Stuart Bowden talks about purchase journey, the revised version of Cannes Lions, Wavemaker India’s performance and a lot more

Emery says everything that Unilever CMO Keith Weed says has a touch of genius. He also talks about his expectations from Cannes, WPP without Sir Martin Sorrell and his love for Mindshare India.

In an interaction with exchange4media, PC Musthafa, CEO & Co-Founder iD Fresh Food shares how the brand deals with competition and marketing strategies followed by them.

Varun Raina, Marketing Manager, Airbnb India speaks to exchange4media about the successful #LiveThere campaign and how Bollywood helps them connect with its young consumer

right
left
EMINENT JURY CONGREGATES TO PICK WINNERS OF INDIAN DIGITAL MARKETING AWARDS 2018 OFF THE CUFF SEES ‘SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN’ MAN PARAMESWARAN IYER IN CONVERSATION WITH SHEKHAR GUPTA EXCHANGE4MEDIA’S LOUDEST.IN HOSTS INAUGURAL EDITION OF MUSIC INC. IN MUMBAI EMINENT JURY CONGREGATES TO PICK IMPACT’S 40UNDERFORTY ACHIEVERS PORTER PRIZE & INSTITUTE FOR COMPETITIVENESS RECOGNIZE STRATEGIC ACUMEN IN COMPANIES DELHI AD CLUB-SAARC AWARDS 2018 RECOGNIZE EXCELLENCE ACROSS CREATIVE, MEDIA & DIGITAL AGENCIES BSNL & CALL2ACTION COMMUNICATION INDIA LAUNCH MOBILE ADVERTISING PLATFORM, INFOMO IN NEW DELHI CHILDREN’S RIGHTS ACTIVIST KAILASH SATYARTHI LAUNCHES BOOK ‘EVERY CHILD MATTERS’ SENIOR JOURNALIST VIJAY TRIVEDI LAUNCHES BOOK ‘YADA YADA HI YOGI’ BASED ON YOGI ADITYANATH EMINENT JURY CONGREGATES TO PICK IMPACT’S 40UNDERFORTY ACHIEVERS PORTER PRIZE & INSTITUTE FOR COMPETITIVENESS RECOGNIZE STRATEGIC ACUMEN IN COMPANIES DELHI AD CLUB-SAARC AWARDS 2018 RECOGNIZE EXCELLENCE ACROSS CREATIVE, MEDIA & DIGITAL AGENCIES MARK TULLY, OTHER JOURNALISTS HONOURED BY MUMBAI PRESS CLUB AT ANNUAL REDINK AWARDS TALENTED YOUNGSTERS GET TO PRESENT THEIR WORK BEFORE STALWARTS IN THE AD INDUSTRY INDIA RADIO FORUM 2018 RECOGNIZES EXCELLENCE IN RADIO INDUSTRY OFF THE CUFF HAS JOURNALIST ARUN SHOURIE IN CONVERSATION WITH SHEKHAR GUPTA IN MUMBAI IAA HOSTS FIRST INDIAA REGIONAL AWARDS (TELUGU) IN HYDERABAD BREAK THE CEILING TOUCH THE SKY 2018 SEES OVERWHELMING INDUSTRY PARTICIPATION 10TH EDITION OF ABC EUREKA AWARDS IN MUMBAI CELEBRATES WORK OF PARTNER AGENCIES EMINENT JURY PICKS LOUDEST’S 100 MOST POWERFUL INDIAN MUSIC BUSINESS LEADERS

In a conversation hosted by COVERGIRL and creative agency Droga5, this session discussed how creators push the boundaries of creativity by giving women the power to define it

The Pandey Khandaan, as promised, was in full attendance to watch brothers Piyush and Prasoon receive top honours.

The Japanese brand plans aggressive entry into Indian TV market