Cannes Lions 2019: If you like an idea, junk it: Navin Talreja and Kawal Shoor, The Womb

In their first-ever address at Cannes Lions, Navin Talreja and Kawal Shoor, Founding Partners of The Womb, spoke about why product innovation is better than advertising

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: Jun 20, 2019 8:39 AM
The Womb Cannes Lions 2019

In their first-ever address at Cannes Lions, The founding partners of The Womb - Navin Talreja and Kawal Shoor spoke about why product innovation is better than advertising. Navin Talreja said, “After 25 years in advertising, Saragama Carvaan forced us to introspect and rethink about the way we were functioning. It changed the way we thought about problems and solutions.” Talreja was talking about a device which brought hundreds of old melodies at one place for the older generation which is not very tech savvy. In the age of digital first music, Carvaan is an old fashioned physical radio like device. This innovation won them the number one spot in WARC’s global list of most effective campaigns.

But what is interesting is that the brief of the client was entirely different from what the outcome eventually was. Talreja says, “The Saregama CEO’s problem was that he had 1 lakh 20 thousand songs which nobody wanted to listen to anymore. And initially, they wanted us to find ways to get the youth to hear the songs, which was in a way also turning out to be expensive.”

Adding to that Kawal Shoor says, “CDs and cassettes had gone out of fashion, radio stations were not playing their songs anymore. The Womb’s solution was to shift the target audience from the young to old.” Giving rather puzzling advice to other agencies Shoor said, “We choose ideas that make us fearful, in fact, we feel if you like an idea, junk it. Thus we took a chance on Carvaan and went with an idea which made us fearful.” Talreja tops it up with, “Product audience match is one of the least understood pillars of strategy building. Innovate for the old and you’ll make more money after all they own more than 50% of the world’s wealth.”

The client produced 10000 devices as the first batch to test if the product resonates with the target audience and from then on there was no turning back for the team, Saregama Carvaan has become one of the most popular gifting ideas in India with even Narendra Modi government gifting the device to some of the Ministers during their retirement. Needless to add, businesswise it yielded great results for Saregama. In fact, post one of the commercials on Carvaan released during Diwali the sale of the product doubled.

Talreja says, “As agencies, it is important that we force clients to talk about their business problems, only then does the canvas of solutions open up. Shoor concludes, “A great idea is often an accident and the biggest role of the planner is to create an environment where the frequencies of such accidents go up.”

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