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People not just want to buy product but the idea: Swati Bhattacharya, FCB Ulka

05-July-2018
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People not just want to buy product but the idea: Swati Bhattacharya, FCB Ulka

If you were to look at the winning agencies of Cannes 2018, the big surprise seems to have been FCB India. While the agency’s ‘Sindoor Khela’ campaign is without a doubt the stuff of renowned advertising awards, this year's win ended FCB India’s long spell of draught at the advertising festival. After all, this year saw the agency bring home two Gold Lions and two Bronze Lions including Gold in the Glass category for the much-lauded campaign. The work is brain-child of Swati Bhattacharya, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Ulka who spoke to exchange4media on this crowning glory, the agency’s creative strategy and more.

Edited excerpts:

The 'No Conditions Apply' campaign has won many laurels and struck gold at Cannes. Let’s rewind. Tell us how it was born. What was the creative brief and how did you crack it?

I think we met Times Of India in the month of August. And while they’re a big, national newspaper, I think they have a problem in the city of Calcutta. Anandabazar Patrika and Telegraph are from there so TOI was seen as an outsider. The brief was like can we do something that made them seem like a local Bengali newspaper. So when you get that as a brief, you know that you have to do something culturally relevant. When we were talking about culture, we knew that Durga Puja is just month and a half away and is the most culturally relevant festival for Bengalis. They had already done a campaign a year back called ‘No conditions apply’. I just had to put ‘No conditions apply’ and Durga Puja and think of something that would stand up to that. So we started off for a ‘brand’ cause and used social to do it. And now, their numbers have exceeded Telegraph and suddenly TOI became the Bengali English newspaper because it had the language of an insider, not an outsider.

Other agencies worry when FCB is a part of a pitch. What worries FCB?

On the day of a pitch, a lot of things have to come together. Pitch is also a little bit about performance and sometimes on that given day, we might be very excited about the idea but everything needs to come together as an equation. Our performance, the mind-set of the client, how engaged they are, just everything. Sometimes people call a pitch without wanting to change anything. And there are times when people call for a pitch wanting to change everything.

What are the type of clients you're looking to work with?

We want to come through for all the clients who have invested in us. I think for us, it’s about creating shiny work for all these clients.

Integrated agencies or specialized agencies? What do you think is the buzzword in the industry now?

I think buzzword now is purpose. It’s about giving purpose to brands. And that could be even for the smallest creative.

A lot of work that have won at Cannes and the conversations too have been attached to purpose and social causes. What is the reason for such kind of work winning more?

I think because we’re in a world where between the politics and institution that are supposed to dispense justice has weakened a lot. Our trust in the system for social justice has become weak all over. Brands are bringing the social change aspect because even consumers now, don’t just want to buy your product but want to buy into your idea. So with the purpose comes a connection-tool between the brands and consumers.

Tell us about your creative strategy for the agency as we go forward?

I think it is win, win, win.

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