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From here on, we will do better and better work: Santosh Padhi

24-June-2013
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From here on, we will do better and better work: Santosh Padhi

“Four Golds have never been won by any Indian agency. We are a four-year-old agency, with forty people; this shows the depth of the agency,” said Santosh Padhi, the proud Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Taproot India – an agency that has made India proud at Cannes 2013.

The year so far has only seen an upswing for the agency. It was also awarded ‘Agency of the Year’ at AdFest 2013.

In an exclusive chat with exchange4media at Cannes, Paddy, as he is popularly called in the industry, shares what the wins means to Taproot India, advertising of the future and his immense learnings as Press Lions Juror 2013, among other things…

Taproot has made India proud with its great performance at Cannes 2013. What do these wins signify for the agency back home?
It will definately make a lot of our guys feel happy and give them strength and courage to do great cutting-edge creative work.

I am hoping from here onwards we will do better and better work. Last four years, we have tried and beaten our past scores. That is the only way you can grow as an agency – the more you win, there is more pressure to deliver; it is a wonderful pressure to have.

What are your takeaways for Cannes this year? What has stood out significantly is that overall one campaign has got accolades as opposed to a number of entries winning. Do you think quality has been rewarded against quantity?
My key takeaway is ‘be human, be simple’.

Be it any medium, the connect with the consumers is in very simple ideas. It is the power of an idea that helps you get awards. Take the example of the Metro Train campaign ‘Dumb ways to die’, the ‘Real beauty’ Dove campaign – these campaign have been winning everywhere. It is the power of the idea, it is not about quantity. Quantity may matter at Goafest, where people are greedy for metals, but on the global platform, it is the power of idea that rules. Even if Metro or Dove would have not won, people would have appreciated the work. It is the kind of work that makes creative people jealous and say ‘I wish I had done this’.

Quality is far more important than quantity, when it comes to creativity. Quantity may be true to brands and marketers to sell more numbers but to creative, it is definitely quality. How can you do that one thing that gets talked about in various other media? Media is blending into each other today; it is the idea that stands out.

What are the challenges we are facing when it comes to winning in the Integrated category – since we have not been able to bag any metals?
In India, we have scope to do integrated work. Our approach to consumers is very different from other countries. But we should work on what is relevant to us. What is stopping us from doing things in malls and on the streets – that is what India is; the streets are never empty. We should be doing things relevant to out market that will motivate and connect our consumer.

So why is this not happening, if we have all the inherent capability?
OOH and activation agencies are not gelling with creative agencies. They have set of problems and egos. An integrated approach is missing; we don’t work as a team. We not get along well as a community.

Many people have commented on a lot of the work being scam work and not real work from India. What is your take on this?
It is a job of the committee of jurors to decide. If you are playing within the rules, I don’t think anything is scam. As Jury President Marcello Serpa, Partner, CCO, AlmapBBDO told us in the beginning “If you do a bad ad, that is scam”.

Everybody is doing pro-active ideas and pushing the brand. Everybody believes that is how it works; sometimes clients give you a brief and sometimes creative guys are so involved in the brand, they come up with ideas which may not be according to the brief but do wonders for the brand. That is how the creative community has evolved and it will only get better and better.

After viewing the global creative showcase at Cannes, what do you think are the future trends for the industry?
More and more brands are trying to be human – trying to not only sell the product but the feel-good image. In this digital world, digital cannot be the idea; it is the human touch and chord and connect, which makes you decide on forwarding an ad to someone. More genuine, more human ads will be appreciated by consumers and the jury. This is definitely good news for brands. 

What are the learnings from the jury room that will you will apply to the work coming out of Taproot?

Eighteen guys from different parts of the world see the same piece through different lens. At times, you might feel that you have done a great piece of work and that it will win. But when 18 people see that piece of work, somebody seeing whether it has an insight, another will see if it is relevant to the category, and the target audience, and so on.

It is not simple. You need to wear different hats while entering.

These global people think from every aspect. I don’t think we think that much; not only from awards point of view, but also from brands points of view. It shows you how to start working from scratch with a different perspective.

What are your key learnings?
Less is more
Can you have an impact in three seconds? Let the three seconds drag you in for the rest of the work
Simplicity in life and advertising is the most difficult thing. If you have achieved it, you have achieved everything.

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