Zulfiqar Khan Joins Hooq As Managing Director

Prior to joining HOOQ, Khan was the business head and CRO of Eros Now

Sonam Saini 10-April-2018

Eros Now’s former business head Zulfiqar Khan has joined HOOQ India as Managing Director.

Prior to this, Khan was the business head and CRO of Eros Now. He was responsible for Strategic Planning, Growth Initiatives, Business Partnerships and Original Content to establish Eros Now as a market leader in the OTT space.

Khan was also associated with Star India as Senior Vice President - Ad sales for 16 years and led various leadership roles across Sales, Business Development and Revenue Growth.
We tried contacting Khan but he was unavailable for a comment. However, highly placed sources confirmed the news to exchange4media.

Principal Correspondent, exchange4media, Mumbai Sonam reports on the broadcast media and Out of Home (OOH) industry. She has worked across television and cable industry, and in the past has written for travel and lifestyle magazines.

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#e4mConclave, two days to go: Can machines be creative?

At the exchange4media Conclave, Headline Speaker - Tamara Ingram, Worldwide CEO, J. Walter Thompson Company will speak on ‘Hu(man) and Machine’, and whether AI can be creative

Misbaah Mansuri 9 minutes ago

Tamara Ingram

Creativity maybe the ultimate moonshot for artificial intelligence. But now the question that remains is how far AI can or should go in the creative process? With digital technology now enabling machines to learn, recognise and respond to humans - from digital assistants to driverless cars - the inevitable question follows: Can machines be creative? And will artificial intelligence ever be able to make art? Experts decode:

Exploring creative frontiers

Answering the question whether machines can be creative Sonia Khurana, Senior Vice President, OgilvyRED Consulting says, “Yes, we’ve seen evidence of it. Can it imitate the human mind? No. I am doubtful that AI will ever replace the creativity of the human mind. I have often wondered: will machines be able to figure out how our minds work, which are a mystery to even us?”

Rajiv Dingra, Founder and CEO, WATConsult has a different take. He signals that the answer is an emphatic no. Dingra asserts that on their own machines can’t get inspired and create abstract art or an idea but we can feed machines two unrelated topics and ask them to throw combinations of words or co-related content between these two topics. “They can be programmed to make creatives. Machines can also dynamically generate multiple creatives once fed with 3-5 elements which it can combine to form multiple versions of the same creative,” he says. 

According to Venugopal Ganganna, CEO, Langoor, artificial intelligence, in its infancy, is creating art today. “That art per se is often prescriptive to the learning models fed to it or the output is defined by the creator of the intelligence. In both the cases what the intelligence creates is still art - but with a strong influence of the creator or the input. The ability for AI to create original art with meaning on its own is a few steps after AI properly passes the 'Turing' test - which for now has only been partially cleared,” he argues.

Augmenting art

Experts remark that we’ve barely scratched the surface of what is possible. While advancements in AI mean that computers can be coached on some parameters of creativity, experts question the extent to which AI can develop its own sense of creativity. Can AI be taught how to create without guidance? “My belief is machines in the future will aid creativity to help in mass scale creation, customisation and distribution but originality and abstract thinking is far off from the reach of machines in the near future,” says Dingra.

Khurana points out that creativity is subjective. “However, developing good creative – ideas that connect with the audience in an impactful way – is not. It requires empathy, imagination, storytelling, art and more. Much more than data. It’s the collaboration of logic from AI and magic from the human mind that will add to the effectiveness,” she highlights.

Vikas Chawla - Co-founder, Social Beat hints that art is a form of expression and storytelling is something that will remain in the hands of creative people for the foreseeable future. "Theoretically it is possible for AI to create art and even content. And it has been tried, but the question remains as to whether art can be created based on data and past learning,” he lets out.

Ganganna notes that artificial intelligence is still quite prescriptive about what it can or cannot do. He spells out that free-form creativity without input from programmers or creators of intelligence is a while away. “This means we have to define what creative is. Sure in the long-term horizon it is likely that machines will be free-form creative; but in the short-term it will be limited to the task at hand. If being creative means coming up with pastel paintings then machines will be able to do that. If the intelligence is created and/or trained to create videos that is what they will do.”

What's next for AI?

Thought leaders ponder whether AI innovation will ultimately yield technology that can create without supervision.
Rohit Raj, Co-founder and Creative Chief, The Glitch reaffirms that a machine isn’t capable of thinking on its own for it to replace a creative director. He calls AI as a strong left brain with a zero right brain. “Machines as the word suggests are devices that are programmed to react and behave in binary modules. Unfortunately creative minds do not behave in a binary model. If we can build a set pattern to do things, a machine will be able to build upon it and replicate it."  

Raj states that AI is playing an important role in advertising by reducing execution time. “We are able to use AI to aid in design, in media buying processes and spaces where a “if this then that” rule applies. Design tools and edit tools using machine learning AI algorithms to aid the designer and editor to work faster by helping key out images or adding right filters etc. Things like buying the right media, targeting the right users, optimising costs etc., are things AI can aid in because computers can take in more data and process it faster than humans,” he opens up.

Syed Murtaza, Head - Creative and Tech, Grapes Digital reflects that while machines follows numbers, routine and set patterns, only a human mind can express and bring the creativity alive in different and most unique forms. “Machines follow what we feed in as input, they are our reflection as we build them…till the time we can create a self-conscious AI more powerful than the human mind itself. We are already taking help of AI in creating art and making things beyond our imagination or capability but it's always powered by human intervention,” he explains.

“What a machine can't do is 'feel'. It lacks empathy. So a combination of AI that generates ideas and a creative director who can shortlist and refine a plot, based on how it will make a person feel, based on his cultural and societal status, can easily work,” states Raghu Bhat, Director, Scarecrow M&C Saatchi.

FoxyMoron's Rishabh Khatter emphasises that it's hard to determine who to give credit to; the machine or the human intelligence that drew up an algorithm with intent for it to do so. “AI is an enabler, one that is being used to facilitate the creation of things like art, which is an ever expanding field for better ideas. Khatter maintains that the industry is slowly inviting new AI concepts that amalgamate data and creative. “Such as dynamic content engines with the predictive automation of A B testing at the media front, video content engines that pre-templatise and dish out quick stackable videos in volume with simple user inputs or new tools that ask the user to upload their video script or story boards to give it a performance factor or the dreaded 'virality' score after running it through a whole bunch trending geo-targeted parameters," he shares.

Ultimately, there is no doubt that the boundaries of AI’s roles in creative endeavours will definitely be pushed. It can definitely offer as a smart, efficient and inspiration assistant.

At the exchange4media Conclave which is scheduled to take place on November 16 in Mumbai, Tamara Ingram, Chief Executive Officer of J. Walter Thompson Company, who will be the headline speaker at the event will be speaking on the topic ‘Artificial intelligence and Art’ and whether AI will be able to create art.
 

Correspondent, exchange4media, Mumbai Misbaah reports on advertising industry. Based in Mumbai, she interviews industry leaders in the creative, advertising and marketing space, reports news updates in the ad space. She drives the ‘Chillout’ section, and regularly reviews ad campaigns. In the past she has reported on mainline news, travel and lifestyle.

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Anindya Dutta appointed MD for Havmor Ice Creams

He was with Britannia for the last 17 years in roles of increasing impact in sales, marketing, strategy and P&L Management

exchange4media Staff 16 hours ago

anindya

Havmor, the ice cream brand and a wholly owned subsidiary of South Korean conglomerate Lotte Confectionery, has announced the appointment of Anindya Dutta as its new Managing Director. He will be the first MD after Lotte acquired Havmor Ice Cream in Dec 2017.

Dutta will be taking forward Lotte’s vision of expanding its business footprint in India. His mission will be at one end to leverage the legacy, the category expertise and brand equity that Havmor enjoys in the ice cream category to rapidly scale up the business towards a national leadership position and at the other end to evaluate and build synergistic expansion into adjacent categories.

Dutta brings 20+ years of leadership experience in the food industry across business verticals and categories including Bakery, Dairy and Confectionery. Prior to joining Havmor, he was with Britannia for the last 17 years in roles of increasing impact in sales, marketing, strategy and P&L Management.  In his past assignments at Britannia he was heading the Dairy and Bread business and more recently he was leading the International expansion of Britannia as the Vice President- International Business.

 

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Fans across the world mourn Stan Lee's death

“He felt an obligation to his fans to keep creating,” his daughter said in a statement to Reuters

exchange4media Staff 17 hours ago

stan lee

Stan Lee, co-creator of iconic characters including Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Daredevil and the X-Men, has died aged 95.

“He felt an obligation to his fans to keep creating,” his daughter J.C. Lee said in a statement to Reuters. “He loved his life and he loved what he did for a living. His family loved him and his fans loved him. He was irreplaceable.”

Tributes from fans and celebrities across the world poured in. Here are a few:

 

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BookMyShow makes a special appeal to parents on Children's Day

Conceptualised and executed with BBH India, the film beautifully addresses the stigma that many Indian parents continue to face regarding the sexual orientation of their children

exchange4media Staff 19 hours ago

BMS

This Children’s Day BookMyShow has a special message for all parents. Conceptualised and executed with BBH India, this children’s day film beautifully addresses the stigma that many Indian parents continue to face regarding the sexual orientation of their children.

In consonance with the recent Section 377 verdict, it strikes an emotional chord and urges parents to love their children for who they are, regardless of who they love.

Speaking about the film, Marzdi Kalianiwala, SVP- Marketing and Business Intelligence, BookMyShow said, “At BookMyShow, we believe that entertainment connects us all. Pursuant to the recent historic verdict of decriminalization of Section 377, we wanted to put across our perspective and what better way to portray it than through the lens of entertainment. This film is an attempt to reach out to all parents and asking them to accept their children for who they are.”

Russell Barrett, Chief Creative Officer & Managing Partner, BBH India added, “The world of entertainment is probably the most egalitarian. There are no walls and no divisions here. In fact, entertainment brings people together, across geography, language, religion, sexual preference and class. In the light of the historic Supreme Court judgment on section 377, BookMyShow and BBH chose to play out a story of love and acceptance against the backdrop of the magic of the movies. We were keen to cast a real couple in the lead roles for so many reasons, the most important being, it was the right thing to do. We are so very proud to partner a brave, aware and modern brand like BookMyShow in this initiative and hope to do much more going forward.”

Campaign film:

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UN World Food Programme urges people to share a meal with #FeedOurFuture campaign

The film was launched in India in partnership with SAWA, the Global Cinema Advertising Association, and UFO Moviez with the support of renowned changemakers and celebrities

exchange4media Staff 1 day ago

FeedOurFuture

Diwali is a time of joy, giving and indulging in the finest food delicacies on offer. But what lies in store for the mother unable to feed nor provide a nutritious meal for herself or her children?

For them, the struggle for the basic necessity of life continues. With over 821 million people around the world hungry and/or malnourished, out of which 190 million undernourished are in India, Diwali can act as a catalyst to shed light on this situation.

The global “#FeedOurFuture” cinema advertising campaign and film, launched in more than 30 country cinemas including in India, is aimed at garnering the support of the global cinema audience to tackle hunger and encourage the people around the world to share their meal with those who are less fortunate and going to sleep hungry every night.

The film was launched in India in partnership with SAWA, the Global Cinema Advertising Association, and UFO Moviez with the support of renowned changemakers and celebrities such as Sonam Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Dia Mirza, AR Rahman, R Balki, Ankit Kawatra (Feeding India) and Chef Vicky Ratnani, and will be shown in cinemas until December 2018.

Campaign video:

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Three Days to Go! Let's Discuss the Marketer and Machine Conundrum at #e4mConclave

The overarching theme for the exchange4media Conclave is 'Marketer and Machine: How AI will transform marketing?' The event will be held on November 16 in Mumbai

exchange4media News Service 23 hours ago

e4m conclave

Artificial Intelligence has transcended the sci-fi fantasy world right into the real world rapidly shaping a world that looks a lot like Spielberg's Minority Report. The applications of artificial intelligence are industry agnostic, wide and varied. AI is soon finding its way through the marketing industry, giving strength to the data-rich ecosystem. 

For now, AI is primarily used in recommendation engines and predictive analytics. Some companies are attempting to use it for real-time bidding infrastructure. This narrow zone in which AI is aiding marketers is expected to soon explode. 

Technologies like 5G in telecommunications which will trigger applications like Internet of Things will present new challenges and drive growth of AI for businesses, says Anil S Nair, CEO & Managing Partner, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi India. “AI will shorten the consumer decision making process,” says Nair. He predicts that aspects of Search and Choose before buying will collapse into one when AI takes over because the machine takes over, because it “preempts the needs of the consumer and addresses those needs based on the behaviour pattern of the consumer.” 

Marketers typically attempt to influence consumers at every stage of their decision-making process. When the process collapses, the marketer will need to pack in a punch in the limited opportunities available, says Nair. He quickly adds that while that may be the case for traditional marketing activities, AI will provide a multitude of layers where marketers can still influence a buy. 

Therefore, marketers are treating machines as allies and not competition. “Machines have the power to amplify the decision and accelerate its impact. That's where AI could play a big role,” says Suvodeep Das, Vice President - Marketing, Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services. 

Marketers and agencies alike have therefore embraced AI and are attempting to make sense of it all. Just this year Publicis Groupe launched its proprietary AI platform Marcel which has been built by Microsoft. IBM’s AI marketing solution - Watson - which was built in 2011 has been helping marketers boost digital marketing. 

But there are a few gaps in the AI-Marketer relationship. For one, “marketers do not understand the machine,” says Nair. “It sounds harsh, but it’s true,” he says. The reverse is true as well. The machine-makers do not understand the needs of the marketer. Describing the gaps in the relationship, Axon Alex, Head of Strategy, Jack in the Box Worldwide, says, “Marketers understand the possibilities of machine. But the machine is far from perfect right now to be understood.” 

Alex adds, “Until we achieve the singularity of Marketer and Machine, it’s still the marketers’ job in identifying problem. However, the marketing wizards armed with AI will be better equipped to execute the more important task of identifying the problem with better precision rather than generalising and educated guesswork which is the case today.”

Varun Duggirala, co-founder, The Glitch, believes that although there are gaps, the tremendous amount of learning that is taking place on both sides is the biggest positive of this situation. He says that if the marketer is unable to grasp the complete range of abilities of the machine and use that to her advantage, then it is not the machine’s fault. 

Duggirala had one piece of advice for the tech giants building and developing AI for marketing. He said, that the tools and technology need to be tuned in a B2C fashion rather than B2B to enable marketers to use these tools.

All the marketers and agency leaders exchange4media spoke to said that predictive analytics is the one AI-led tactic that they are most looking forward to work with in the future. The experts also said that they would like to see AI help in achieving personalisation at scale, move away from interruptive advertising to value-added advertising that targets consumers at the right moments. 

We are standing at the threshold of an exciting world that will make sci-fi reality. Technology is changing the marketing ecosystem and redefines the roles and responsibilities of the marketers. Experts will discuss all these changes and understand the macro-trends that will define the future of marketer and machine at the exchange4media Conclave on November 16 in Mumbai. 

The overarching theme for the Conclave is “Marketer and Machine: How AI will transform marketing?” Attend the enlightening sessions to hear what other expert speakers from around the globe have to say about Marketer and Machine.  

For more details click here. 

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Virat Kohli launches his formal footwear brand, One8 Select

With the vision of Virat Kohli, the One8 Select collection offers affordable fashion-forward shoes and accessories that go seamlessly with attire all throughout the year

exchange4media Staff 1 day ago

ViratKohliOne8Select

Aeon Sports India Pvt. Ltd in association with Virat Kohli brings to you their affordable luxury line, One8 Select.

The brand revealed its line on November 10th, at the Roseate House, Aerocity. With the vision of Virat Kohli, the One8 Select collection offers affordable fashion-forward shoes and accessories that go seamlessly with attire all throughout the year.

With their premium quality and up-to-date trends, this line is going to be every man’s dream. The team believes that formal footwear plays an extremely crucial part in our attire due to its sheer versatility. This versatility is synonymous with Virat, as he essays numerous roles and plays the part perfectly, always encouraging you to put ‘Your Best Foot Forward’.

One8 Select aims to reiterate the importance and impact of formal footwear in leaving a mark on whomever you meet, across various walks of life. One8 Select is Virat Kohli’s passion project to bring the world closer to his sense of style and freedom of expression. His vision for formal footwear is to be equipped to take your best foot forward. Shoes that speak about you. Shoes that complete you.

The collection witnessed a grand launch at Roseate House, Aerocity where the guests experienced a splendid fashion show as Virat Kohli put his ‘best foot forward’ on the ramp. The show highlighted all the collections in collaboration with ace designer Rocky S, post which the guests entered a brand experience zone to view the displayed collection up close and more intimately. The brand has launched with 5 different collections; The Achiever, The Wingman, The Debonair, The Superstar and The Alpha.

The shoes are made of pure leather and are available in multiple colours, like brown/shades of brown, black/shades of black, blue, purple, and over 30 styles between the price range of INR 3999-11999. The brand recognises the passion men have for footwear and targets all shoe aficionados.

One8 Select aims to be a part of the wardrobes of boys & men across all ages and demographics. The spokespersons representing the brand are. Vikas Kohli, Managing Director, Vaibhav Arora, Director-Marketing, Sanjay Dhingra, Director - Operations, Nakul Manchanda, Director - Sourcing and Ajay Gupta, Director - Sales & Offline Commercials.

They strongly believe that this footwear, made out of the finest materials, imprints a bold statement as bespoke footwear and gives a chance to men across all ages to style their look in the trendiest way.

Vikas Kohli believes that the brand will evolve just like Virat, saying,. “With the introduction of formal footwear and socks, the brand aims to equip Virat’s fans and everyone else with the tools that are needed to excel, at work and in life. It was an easy conversation with Virat as knowing him, and his drive for attention to detail, it was clear the formal line of footwear is where his principles can come to life.”

Speaking on the launch, Vaibhav Arora, Director- Marketing said, “With One8 Select we want to stand out in the realm of formal footwear and bring to life Virat’s vision of excellence and consistency with every step we take. Virat has a tremendous fan base and for many, he is an inspiration and an icon and with One8 Select we aim to bridge the gap between the two and bring the supporters close to Virat through our offerings”.

Director of Sourcing, Nakul Manchanda says that, “Understanding the need of the consumer and looking for the right product that just pushing a product is what we looked at with the launch of One8 Select.”

Adding to that Sanjay Dhingra, Director- Operations mentions that, “With the launch of One8 Select, our aim is not only to bring the product to the market but to ensure it is readily available and our consumer are spoilt for choice.”

While Ajay Gupta, Director - Sales & Offline Commercials said, “Throughout my foray in sales and provisions I have understood that a product travels far when its good, but it goes further when we know what the consumer is looking for. Addressing the vacuum of luxury is affordable where One8 Select comes into play."

The brand aims to build upon their existing range in the coming months and cater to all demographics across all ages even further. They envision a future where this collection strikes a chord with not just Indian but International audiences. The brand will be selling both online with Amazon as their exclusive e-commerce partner and across multi-brand stores.

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BARC Week 44: BJP enters Top 10 Brands at sixth spot

The same category also saw the entry of Incredible India tourism campaign after a while at seventh spot

exchange4media Staff 1 day ago

barc

In the list of BARC Top 10 Brands for Week 44 (October 27-November 2), Amazon retained its top spot with 17,920 insertions even after a drop of 45 per cent in insertions. Trivago also maintained its second spot with 10,393 insertions.

The category saw the entry of Vimal Elaichi Pan Masala and Flipkart after a brief period in the third and fourth spots with 9796 and 9694 insertions respectively.

Santoor Sandal and Turmeric slipped to fifth spot with 9536 insertions.

Bharatiya Janata Party, Incredible India and Kalyan Jewellers took the sixth, seventh and eighth spots with 9067, 8926 and 8910 insertions respectively.

Wipe slipped to ninth spot with 8823 insertions. Dettol Toilet Soaps took an entry after a while at tenth spot with 8350 insertions.

In the same week, in BARC Top 10 Advertisers list, FMCG brand Hindustan Lever continued to lead this category with 1,43,930 insertions. Reckitt Benckiser stepped up to second spot with 69,407 insertions. ITC Ltd slipped to third spot with 52,297 insertions.

Amazon Online India and Procter & Gamble retained fourth and fifth spots with 31,630 and 27,296 insertions respectively. Brooke Bond Lipton India entered after a brief hiatus at sixth spot with 22,957 insertions.

SBS Biotech and Ponds India climbed to seventh and eighth spots with 22,300 and 21,904 insertions respectively.

Cadburys India slipped to ninth spot with 21,889 insertions. Wipro forayed into the category at tenth spot with 21,236 insertions.

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Won close to Rs. 1000 crore in new business in 2018: Kartik Sharma

Wavemaker South Asia CEO talks about the strategy that led to bagging big accounts including Bisleri, Mondelez, Mother Dairy to name a few as the agency completes one year.

Naziya Alvi Rahman 2 days ago

kartik sharma

With big wins like Mondelez, Mother Dairy, Eureka Forbes and Bisleri to name a few, Wavemaker that completed one year of its inception on November 9, has every reason to celebrate. The agency claims to have won businesses of over Rs 1000 crore in its maiden year and is aiming to exceed all predicted growth numbers. As the agency marks its first anniversary we speak to Kartik Sharma, CEO, Wavemaker South Asia, about factors that are driving its growth. Excerpts:

 

With consultants and AI driving media business, pitches are becoming increasingly competitive. Many experts say pitches have now reduced to pricing. Despite all these constraints, Wavemaker in its inception year has done extremely well. What are the three key things that have worked for you?

Firstly, despite the challenges in the market, we have indeed done very well. We have won almost close to Rs. 1000 crore in new business in 2018 and most of our businesses are coming on the back of our rapid growth planning thinking.  It is the planning framework which we use across clients. Rapid growth planning is rooted in the consumer purchase journey. Inside that sits a large scale study called Momentum. It is the largest study in the world covering 7,00,000 consumer journeys, across 35 categories in 70 countries, including India. It helps us decode the challenges for many categories and gives us benchmarks on what kind of solution we need to craft for a particular context.

On top of rapid growth planning, we also do customised analytics. Analytics enables to unlock a lot of growth for clients, which were not known to them earlier. It is a very intense data driven approach to solve marketing problems. In 2018 we have deployed artificial intelligence based analytics frameworks to solve clients' problems.

Last but not the least is the quality of the team and the creativity which they bring to the table. If you don't have a good team, it doesn't matter what frameworks you have. I am blessed to have a fantastic team and I am really proud of them, and their achievements be it the 40 under 40 recognition in Impact or the young Emvies.

 

The pitch for Mondelez went on for over five months. It has been one of your biggest wins this year. What in your opinion gave Wavemaker an edge over other agencies in this particular pitch? Going forward, what is it that you are doing differently for this client?

First of all, the above three points which I just spoke about, are the key ingredients for the Mondelez success. The quality of RGP thinking, the analytics and the team. We will consistently apply these on all the Mondelez brands, and come up with relevant solutions. Our singular focus is how we can help Mondelez achieve growth. Additionally you will also see more and more creative media solutions to solve marketing problems.

In an interview early this year, your Global CEO Tim Castree said he was eyeing a growth of more than 13% in India. Have you been able to reach the number or have you exceeded it?

We have seen healthy growth this year. Our new business wins should give you a sense of growth that we are witnessing and are hopeful of achieving our targets.

How according to you has media business evolved over the years? What are the areas where you feel the need for growth/change?

I think the media business constantly keeps evolving, and the evolution largely comes on three fronts: the way the consumer choices keep evolving, the way media and technology is evolving and lastly the evolving agency eco-system. All of them go hand-in-hand. Consumers today are exposed to a lot of technological changes which have practically taken over our lives. A well-known case in point is the mobile revolution. The mobile is no longer a device for communicating, the mobile is also a computer replacing laptops and tablets. And that has really revolutionised the way in which we consume media.

From the consumer side, India is becoming a stronger, younger country, in terms of being able to add to the GDP, the Indian awareness about things around them has really increased exponentially. This is a younger India with more knowledge, hungrier to do new things, and more willing to experiment. This has an impact on marketing as a whole.

From the media side global media changes are felt locally too. India now is a separate topic for many global media companies due to the sheer size and opportunity India offers. Indians are as aware of any of our global counterparts and are also expecting more from media brands. India by and large is a value driven market therefore media owners have to customise their offerings to appeal to that need without compromising on quality.

Lastly from the agency side, the big question is around talent. How do we find the right mix of diverse talent? I believe diversity in talent is going to be critical for organisations to grow. This can be achieved when leaders can articulate the right purpose.

Another area agencies need to focus on is automation. Our industry has been fairly under indexed is the area. The default mode to think is more people. While people are the brain behind agencies there are many repetitive tasks which require automation and deploying relevant technologies will unlock value.

As an industry veteran, how do you think we can tackle the issue of clients switching agencies every few years leading to shrinking margins?

I think clients are under tremendous pressure to deliver both on the top line and bottom line. For many of them marketing budget is a big cost item and they tend to use pitches as a shortcut to see if they can get some quick efficiencies. While this has been the trend until recently I am seeing a lot of progressive clients have realised that getting lower prices is not the only goal. These clients are looking for strategic advice, integrated communication solutions, creativity and so on. Many of our recent wins have all happened at the back of quality of recommendations and much less over prices. If clients were to conduct pitches regularly they will lose out more than they gain as fear of losing the business is not a great motivation for anybody to give their best. Clients are realising this and I am optimistic that we will see some changes quickly.

Where have agencies failed in delivering to the clients?

Agencies fail when they don’t invest in the right areas and nurture their people. As I mentioned earlier a large chunk of the agency’s success comes at the back of the quality of people. Agencies which throw in lot of money to attract talent without investments in the relevant areas and not setting the “right purpose” for the agency eventually struggle. It is also critical to set the right values. At Wavemaker we value people who are PACED. PACED is our articulation of what we value and stands for Passionate, Agile, Collaborative, Entrepreneurial and Diverse. People who exhibit these values do very well.

Agencies also fail when they are desperate to get business at any cost. Many of the pitches with cost efficiency as the singular focus are testimony of this. Many agencies which have gone down this path have not only struggled to deliver prices but in the bargain have put so much pressure on themselves and their own teams that it is not a sustainable situation. Something will give away eventually and clients too need to recognise this.

What are your big plans for Wavemaker in its second year?

More than big plans, I think we are on a fantastic journey of building a great business. We will continue with that journey, so the focus is always how do we give our teams a great career and how do we help our clients grow big. These two mottos go hand-in-hand. It is a journey that will continue for a very long time and that is what we are focussed on.
 

Associate Editor, exchange4media, Mumbai As the editorial head for the website, Naziya covers media, advertising and marketing domains. Prior to joining the digital domain, she worked for 12 years with leading newspapers covering political, legal and crime beats.

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Expect to grow our foods business by 25-30% on an annual basis: VP-Marketing, Sundrop

Asheesh Sharma of Agro Tech Foods Ltd on launching new cereal, Choco Popz

Simran Sabherwal 2 days ago

sundrop

Sundrop has launched a new cereal, Choco Popz, - a product that is positioned as an ‘ideal all-day snack’. Asheesh Sharma, Vice President – Marketing, at Agro Tech Foods Ltd gives us the insight behind this product, the upcoming pipeline of products, which will see the company have a broader presence in the Cereals portfolio and Sweet snacks segment, and why Agro Tech expects to grow its foods business by 25-30% on an annual business. Excerpts:

 

 

What was the insight behind entering the Breakfast Cereals and the Chocolates categories, a segment that is already over-crowded?

 

While the breakfast cereal category is over-crowded, the centre-filled cereal category is just starting to grow. Sundrop Choco Popz is a multigrain product with a dark chocolatey centre with a focus on delighting consumers with its superior offering. The product Sundrop Choco Popz is a cereal, which can be had as either a breakfast or even a snack option. There are few inclinations, which are driving the growth of the snacks market in India. Increased health consciousness, especially in the metros and Tier I cities, has led to consumers having smaller portions through the day and more frequently. While breakfast, lunch and dinner are still prevalent, new short meals like pre-breakfast, pre-lunch, pre-evening, pre-dinner and an after-dinner are becoming a trend. As per a study conducted, pre-lunch snack is said to be the preferred meal among youngsters, on-the-go professionals and kids. Capitalizing on the trends and prevailing consumption patterns, the idea was to launch a product that can satisfy the Indian sweet palette and is yet healthy enough to make for a guilt free bite.

 

 

Why did you choose to enter this space with a cereal, Choco Popz? How did you arrive at the price-point?

 

We already have our presence in the snacks market – sweet snacks market is still not a big category and has a huge potential to grow with the right proposition. Our entry in the sweet snacks market with Choco popz is with a healthy yet indulgent offering to tap the bigger consumer market and open new consumption occasions.

Sweet snacks prevalently as a category was operational in higher price points only while savoury snacks starts from Rs.5/Rs.10 price points. To cater to the mass pool of the snacks market we have launched at value offering of Rs.10 price point for low pricing barrier on trials. Our Rs.60 pack for 140g is for our regular consumers, it is a re-sealable pack for easy storing/multiple consumption pack.

 

What is the TG that you are looking at?

 

Teenagers and Young adults are our primary TG for the product. The dark chocolatey burst that one gets will be the biggest attraction of our product. The multigrain shell is a healthy add-on and hence a healthy yet indulgent offering that this TG will be happy to eat without the baggage of unhealthy indulgence.

 

What is the marketing strategy that you are looking at? What is the media and which will be the lead medium?

 

We have a plan to advertise through mass media as well as digitally. We also have extensive plans to create awareness amongst consumers through in-shop activations and product trials. 

 

 

What is the growth that Agro Tech Foods has seen over the last year, in terms of sales and revenues?

 

ATFL, over a period of last few years, has seen a great growth in the foods business. We have grown our foods business by around 20% year on year. With the launch of Choco Popz and through our innovation pipeline starting with chocolate, we expect to grow our foods business by 25-30% on an annual basis.

 

Looking ahead, what can we expect from Agro Tech Foods…more product launches in the offing?

 

Definitely, we have a huge innovation pipeline for the coming years. You will start to see our broader presence in the Cereals portfolio and Sweet snacks segment. We are also going to enter the chocolate category with our new launches.

 

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