Anil Thakraney: Zero in digital work

27 Jun,2012

By Anil Thakraney


So, once again we did miserably in the Cannes cyber awards category. Here’s mxmindia’s story on this subject, and I must say it is pretty depressing.


I suspect the main reason we continue to languish in this field is the apathetic creative directors. Most large agency creative directors don’t get this new medium, and it appears to me they don’t even WANT to get it. Because we are a third world nation, for lakhs of people the television set is still an aspirational purchase. And, therefore, it is widely believed that it will take many years before the digital medium becomes truly relevant in India. This might be true, but that still doesn’t change the fact that the digital world is already at our door step… rather, it has walked right in… and many brands can benefit from it. And the winners will be those who move early.


Another thing: If the traditional ad agencies continue to ignore this space and treat it as a ‘supplementary’ medium, they run the risk of losing this business to specialized tech solutions shops. Such boutique digital agencies are already sprouting, and before the sluggish large agencies get their act together, this part of the business will be lost to them. Perhaps forever. All the more reason the ad agencies need to act before it’s too late.


It is also true that most of the senior ad agency leaders are old worlders and they are finding it difficult to connect with this medium. Their lives begin and end with the 30 second TVC. That’s all right, and they can continue to focus on TV commercials. But as long as they make sure their creative departments are packed with young ‘techno-creatives’, and these blokes are on the job from the very first client briefing. This would naturally lead to upping the staff budget, but this is an investment that will pay off in the long run. Just as when television started booming in India, ad agencies were compelled to start out a specialized films department, exactly that’s what needs to be done now.


Net net: It’s the traditional mind set that needs to change. A tall ask in an industry where some senior leaders pride themselves in not even trying to figure out how a basic internet tool like the social media works. Check for yourself how many of them are on Twitter and Facebook and you’ll know what I mean.


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PS: Must watch: Repellent Radio. Brilliant stuff. This is a good example of Brazil’s super advertising talent. And also why that nation always does marvelously at Cannes.





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