<b>Arvind Wable</b>, , Draftfcb Ulka
<p align=justify><b>Arvind Wable:</b> The issue is that people see digital as a completely virtual world to connect with the consumer. I think the efficacy of the medium will become more visible and more meaningful if we connect digital with real, that is, connect digital with activation. We are trying to do exactly that through Aquila Experience and it has got tremendous traction from our clients. Aquila’s addition to strategic capability of Draftfcb Ulka is a force multiplier.</p>
Arvind Wable: The issue is that people see digital as a completely virtual world to connect with the consumer. I think the efficacy of the medium will become more visible and more meaningful if we connect digital with real, that is, connect digital with activation. We are trying to do exactly that through Aquila Experience and it has got tremendous traction from our clients. Aquila’s addition to strategic capability of Draftfcb Ulka is a force multiplier.
Arvind Wable, Executive Director & CEO – Delhi, Draftfcb Ulka & CEO Draftfcb Singapore, is a veteran in the advertising world and has witnessed many changing trends in the industry. An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Wable started his career at Hindustan Thompson Associates (now JWT) in 1977 as a management trainee in Chennai. In 1983, he moved to a start-up company, Network, to set up the marketing department and launch the first electronic typewriter in the country. He joined Ulka Advertising (now Draftfcb Ulka) in 1989 and has been at the helm of things for more than two decades since then, being associated with brand building efforts of numerous companies, including Tata Motors, Tata Docomo, Whirlpool, Amul, and Hero, to name a few.
Puneet Malhotra, General Manager, Aquila Experience, has been providing brand experience solutions to clients across various mediums for the last 12 years. He has conceptualised and run programmes across most services and formats, including Retail Activation, Direct Marketing, Events, Roadshows, School & College Programmes, Mall Promotions, Social Media, etc. Through these years he’s worked for clients like Turner International (Cartoon Network & Pogo), HP, Bausch & Lomb, DLF Malls, Microsoft, Whirlpool, Tata Indica, Castrol, Cummins India, GPI, Choko La and more. Having done a stint of four years with Drafcb Ulka earlier, Malhotra rejoined the company in April 2011 to spearhead operations for Aquila Experience.
In conversation with Deepika Bhardwaj of exchange4media, Arvind Wable and Puneet Malhotra speak about Draftfcb Ulka’s foray into the experiential marketing domain, the future and completing 50 years...
Q. What is the unique differentiation that Aquila brings?
Arvind Wable: In my view, what Aquila adds to the entire strategic capability of the agency is a multiplier – a 360 perspective, which is what the client’s need today. Agencies should respond to growing marketing challenges that the clients face today and offer the most cost effective solution that works and is certainly measurable. The best way to do that is strike from the strategy and ideation stage, see what’s best to meet their marketing objectives rather than suggest vanilla formatted ideas – let’s do a TV ad, let’s do a print or outdoor. I don’t think that’s the way future is for the industry.
Q. It was all close knit first, then media, creative and other functions split and now the agencies are talking about integrated solutions again. What do the clients want?
Q. What kind of expertise are you building in Draftfcb in the area of digital or do you believe creativity can take care of things there?
Q. We saw big ticket clients getting some path breaking work done from independent agencies this year. Does that bother you as a large agency?
Q. You launched ‘Aquila Experience’ marking your foray into the experiential domain, which already has many established players. Why this move?
Draftfcb has taken a worldwide initiative to involve all key components in contributing to the idea rather than calling partners when the idea is already cooked and done. Media, Digital, Activation and all others are being involved at the initial stage for the idea to be better envisioned in the large organisation. Reason for launching Aquila Experience is the same, have an experienced team in this domain sit at the initial stage and contribute to the idea.
Q. What are the plans for Aquila Experience?
Q. Are you saying all activation agencies today are just executing ideas given by mainline agencies and there is no innovation?
Q. Though we are talking a lot about experiential and social, we have hardly seen any path breaking work in this space. What is your view? Have we adopted digital fully?
Puneet Malhotra: Look at it this way – a person is on his smartphone in the morning, in the mall in evening and on Facebook at night. It’s the experience in the mall which he has shared on the social medium, thus amplifying the whole effect. Unfortunately, most of the people on the digital side and activation side looked at providing services like mall activation or Facebook fan page to the client. Nobody has looked at it as a solution. The moment you look at it in terms of solution you realise that it is not one particular medium, but a mix of mediums that the consumer is consuming, so you need to be there wherever he is.
Arvind Wable: The reason digital has not grown as much is because of compartmentalising of mediums. The moment we create true 360 degrees and combine these mediums is when we will have what Puneet rightly said – a solution.
Q. How was 2011 for Draftfcb Ulka? You lost SC Johnson in global realignment, how has it impacted business?
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