Rewind 2013: The year has gone by in a bit of a blur - Ajay Gahlaut

While campaigns such as Lifebuoy Kumbh Mela 'Roti', Tanishq 'remarriage', Google 'reunion' grabbed attention, the ECD of Ogilvy & Mather wonders why there wasn't more work like these through the year

e4m by Ajay Gahlaut
Updated: Dec 27, 2013 9:11 AM
Rewind 2013: The year has gone by in a bit of a blur - Ajay Gahlaut

How has the year 2013 been for the advertising and marketing community? Firstly, is 2013 over? Already? Personally speaking, it has gone by in a bit of a blur. Seems just like yesterday that we were groggily picking ourselves up from the debris of New Year revelries to bid goodbye to 2012. The hangover appears to have lasted all through the year. It is said that Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones doesn’t remember living through the 70s. We understand completely. The year 2013 has been much the same for us.

Still, some lucid flashes do come to mind.

It was a great year for us at Ogilvy, Gurgaon. We picked up eight metals at Cannes. This has made the industry sit up and take note of this agency from the creative boondocks of New Delhi. And this has made us very happy.

We also did some interesting mainstream campaigns – Philips, Incredible India, Sprite and Voltas spring to mind.

But that’s enough about us. The industry did see some interesting work this year. What swims out through the fog of memory is the Lifebuoy Kumbh Mela ‘Roti’ campaign, with the ‘Have you washed your hands with Lifebuoy?’ message branded directly on the rotis. This was truly disruptive advertising. No one thought that you could use the ubiquitous roti as an advertising medium. But HUL did. With great results I’m told.

The Tanishq ‘remarriage’ film was another stand-out piece of work. Truly a brand making a progressive social statement. The fact that it struck a chord with people was borne out by the amount of earned media publicity it generated.

But etched clearest in memory is the Google ‘reunion’ film created by Ogilvy. A heartwarming story of two friends separated by the Partition and brought back together by Google. Fantastic film-making, great track, seamless product integration and wonderful performances make this the best of Indian advertising in 2013 for me.

And while these were excellent pieces, one wonders why there wasn’t more work like these through the year. Is it just my failing memory or has there been a fall in the quality of output across the industry? Maybe that’s a function of the revenue crunch that agencies are facing. Maybe the talent is leaving advertising and migrating to greener pastures. Maybe clients are becoming increasingly demanding and asking for more and more while paying less than ever before. Maybe agencies are chasing their own tails instead of sitting down together and finding a way to get the profession the respect and remuneration it deserves and enjoyed in the past. Maybe it’s the world wide economic depression. Maybe it’s Karma kicking in, or some disturbance in the space-time continuum. Maybe it’s all of the above. Or none. Or some.

Don’t ask me. I’m just the creative guy.

Ajay Gahlaut is Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather.

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