<b>Bobby Pawar</b>, Chief Creative Officer, Mudra Group

In India, the relationship between the client and the agency is somewhat casual because at times the agencies here neither get the required time nor the right budget that is needed to create and execute the idea. For example, some clients in India would buy a Rs 1 crore idea, but would want that idea to be executed in just Rs 30 lakh. But in America, the agency would ask the client to reconsider and come back with a new idea that fit the budget.

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Sep 26, 2008 12:00 AM Updated: Sep 26, 2008 12:00 AM
<b>Bobby Pawar</b>, Chief Creative Officer, Mudra Group

In India, the relationship between the client and the agency is somewhat casual because at times the agencies here neither get the required time nor the right budget that is needed to create and execute the idea. For example, some clients in India would buy a Rs 1 crore idea, but would want that idea to be executed in just Rs 30 lakh. But in America, the agency would ask the client to reconsider and come back with a new idea that fit the budget.

A former 0&M India executive, Bobby Pawar rose from Senior Copywriter to Creative Director and worked on award winning campaigns for Tata Safari, Tata Sierra, Kelvinator, British Airways, and bagged Copywriter of the Year twice (1998, 2000).

In 2000, he joined Ogilvy & Mather, New York as Creative Director, where he worked on brands like Jaguar, American Express and Kodak. He helped pitch for AT&T Wireless and was asked to run the $600 million account when the agency won it. He re-launched AT&T Wireless with the much-talked about ‘mlife’ campaign.

In 2004, he moved to BBDO, Chicago as Group Creative Director. He worked with CCO Marty Orzio and helped turn the agency around. During his advertising tenure, Pawar also had the opportunity to work directly with legends in the business including creative gurus like Neil French, Rick Boyko, Steve Hayden, besides Orzio; planning stalwarts like Tony Wright and Chip Walker; and directors like Bryan Buckley, Tony Scott, Javier Blanco, Noam Murro, and Martin Granger.

Following a seven-year stint in the US, Pawar returned to India and joined Mudra as National Creative Director in 2007. A year later he was promoted to Chief Creative Officer.

In conversation with exchange4media's Nitin Sharma, Pawar speaks about creativity, execution of a creative idea, pitch fees and much more.

Q. What is your view on the usage of 3D and animation in advertising?

In my opinion, one should not try to incorporate the usage of either 3D or animation just for the sake of it. The agencies should use them only as and when the idea demands it.



Q. Do you think the Indian audience is intelligent enough to understand 21st century creative work?

The Indian audience is getting smarter by the day, which is a reflection of the popular culture. Thus, I feel that today’s audience is ready for fresh, sensible and creative ideas that sync with the communication piece.



Q. What is it that the Indian advertising fraternity should not pick up from America ad world?

I would say that the mistakes that agencies have done in the West have probably been done by Indian agencies too, and to tell you the truth, Indian agencies cannot avoid those mistakes mainly because they own most of the agencies in India.



Q. If at all a charter is prepared and agencies are bound to ask for a pitch fee, do you think a penalty should be imposed on the defaulter?

Well, let’s look at it this way – during India’s freedom struggle when Indians were asking the British to quit India, there were people who had collaborated with the British, but they were not beaten up, however, they were looked down upon and people shunned them. That’s how a defaulter in the pitch fee issue should be tackled. There are always some instances when temptations get the better of you. No matter which religion you belong to – if you do bad things, then you go to hell. Similarly, there should be some sort of penalty for defaulters in the pitch fee issue.



Q. Is your role at Mudra confined to the creative aspect or do you also impart strategic knowledge to the Mudra team?

Any creative work involves some sort of strategic planning, so one cannot be inclined only towards creativity, but has to be also strategically involved in executing the idea into a campaign, which is why I try to maintain a right mix of both creative and strategic skills in helping the team members at Mudra.



Q. What would you advocate more – creating ads only for awards or for the masses?

I always believe that first one needs to create a communication that engages with one’s TG audience. If you are not engaging the audience, then you are definitely moving away from the mainstream work, which is not a wise thing to do. So, I will always advice people to first focus on their mainstream work, rather then take a short route to success by working on the ads only for the award functions.



Q. In recent times, which has been your most challenging campaign that you have worked on and what were the difficulties that you faced while executing the same?

Union Bank was probably one of the toughest assignments in recent times, mainly because the challenge was ‘How do you keep it simple, yet capture the soul of the brand that is over 100 years old and evolving’. We at Mudra had to come up with an idea that was simple, human and universal, and we are happy to execute the same for our client.



Q. How do you see the value chain creativity and execution in Indian advertising?

Creativity has definitely gone up, both in terms of fresh ideas and their execution. But we still need to take some more steps towards improving the time length of the execution, because in the current scenario, we hardly get a day or two for the execution, which is way too less a period for doing a film. In reality, one needs at least a week’s time for executing the idea. So, the time has come when we need to add value to the execution of the campaign and also up our ante in the creative field.



Q. How has the segregation of media operations affected the operations of he creative professionals in India?

Taking media out of the agency was not a wise decision at all. Although it might have made a profitable sense for those who did, but for me, it did not make any business sense. Mainly, because media buying and creative agencies go hand in glove, and if either of them parts ways, the other will suffer.



Q. Why is it that campaigns today have a shorter life span? What are the challenges associated with such campaigns?

We live in a perishable culture, which is why every thing is short-lived. Take the example of Bollywood, earlier a movie was not declared a hit till the time it ran for 2-3 months, but now it takes only 2-3 weeks for a movie to be declared a hit. However, there is a catch – if you don’t produce a good product, it will perish the very next day.

Likewise for campaigns, one needs to be very cautious in using the expression for the idea that one needs to communicate to the TG, that is, ‘How you say and what you say’. Which is why I feel that it’s a challenge both for the creative and media agencies to come up with new, thoughtful and engaging ideas that meet not only the client’s budget, but also retain the strategic value of the brand.



Q. Could you share with us the key difference in terms of creativity that is practised in America and in India?

If you look at the American work, you will see that it is more culturally derived than ours, and that is one area where I think that we can do better. Another point is that they place more value on the work than we do. In India, the relationship between the client and the agency is somewhat casual because at times the agencies here neither get the required time nor the right budget that is needed to create and execute the idea. For example, some clients in India would buy a Rs 1 crore idea, but would want that idea to be executed in just Rs 30 lakh. But in America, the agency would ask the client to reconsider and come back with a new idea that fit the budget.



Q. There are rumours that these days a lot of advertising is aimed first at the juries in the ad festivals and then at the consumers. What is your view on this?

I completely disagree that ads are aimed first at the juries, mainly because had that been the case, there wouldn’t have been so many ads coming out of the agencies. These rumours are generalised by people who have not won any awards, and one should not read much into them.


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