Sanjeev Kotnala@Adfest: Well-choreographed storytelling

23 Mar,2015

By Sanjeev Kotnala


‘Seamless Storytelling’, ‘You Are The Hero’ and ‘Jury Crossfire’ were the central thought pieces theme that ran through Day 2 and 3 at ADFEST 2015 Pattaya. Amply demonstrated with engaging presentations that ran like clockwork. Hats off to the team behind the scene.


The thoughts that kept echoing long after the presentations were over and were too loud to be ignored, I share a few of them with you…


If you tell someone – he will soon forget it, if you show someone he may remember it but if you are able to involve him – he will understand it. First coined by Confucius remains as relevant as ever. As communication heroes we need to be doing that.


To do that, we need to be able to use the art of storytelling. A smart beginning, introduce character, middle where things get complicated, a turning point and a satisfying end. Sound even though art of storytelling is a natural art not everyone is good in it. Get a good storyteller in your team.


You have your own world and if you look in your life, you will have few distinctly memorable points of reference. That is your world. And we should operate in our world.  Our job is to make things memorable. As in life you get more in return for surprises and unexpected than for doing the expected. It is true for the communication, event, trigger you press with the audiences. And while you are at it- try thinking how will you create personally unforgettable experiences for your own life to expand the world you live in. Go ahead and in the next 180 days – do what has never been done before.


‘Virtual Reality’ and ‘Augmented Reality’ seems to be a medium that is set for explosions in terms of advertisers to adapt and the consumers to be delighted with. They truly engage the customer. In a way they have the capability of creating captive audience by drawing complete attention, focus and engagement. The way forward with software that is becoming of superior quality day by day and the ease of delivering it like- Google box- is giving that force needed to take it to another level.


Clients live and die by how well their brands are ding in the marketplace. Empathize with them. Use logic and reasoning to back up your sell. Clients are really wanting to be assured that they are doing the right thing. Show them the case studies and trends to convince them how other brands have succeeded doing something similar and how we could lose out if the competition beats us to the idea. But reassure them with a contingency plan. At the same time, you must demonstrate how passionately you believe in your idea. If even you are not 100% convinced wit your work, why should the client believe in it.


This was a title devised a long time back, when all you did was Advertising. Now you are hardly doing that. You are doing a lot more, lot more defined, at times niche but hugely more practical, relevant, engaging, involving and strategic. So, first change yourself in your approach to work. Try doing unexpected; bring in the most unexpected solution to an expected problem.

‘WORK LIFE BALANCE’ Pum Lefebure Idea

May not work till you see them as two compartments. Pum shared that at the start of the year she takes a cube and places the most important thing for her life (this year she shared it was health). On two sides she places two things that make her happy. Like Family and Creativity. Then on the other two sides she places the two things that make her professionally happy. Like Travel and something. And at the base she places her goal. Because it should be the foundation and not something you are trying to jump and access. And the most important thing should be at the top, without which nothing would really matter. She says she plays with that Cube a lot and it helps her keep her focus.

Adfest lived up to its promise of providing a creative forum and stimulus for learning. By showcasing every entry (not just the shortlist), the great cultural diversity of work was available to be absorbed. Some of it was stunning and one believes will continue to get more applauded as the year goes by.

Learnings from: Andrew Petch, Executive Creative Director of Ace Satchi & Satchi Manila, Gosling of Happy Finish- Augmented reality, Jonathan Samway, Executive Producer at Moth Projects, Sydney, Katsuaki Hashida (Hakuhodo Kettle, Tokyo) & Takahiro Hosoda (TBWA Hakuhodo, Tokyo, Lotus News, Oz Dean, Creative Director- We Are Social Australia. Pun Lefebure, Co founder of Design Army and Sa’ad Hussein, Chief Creative officer & executive Director of TBWA\Kuala Lumper


Sanjeev Kotnala is Head Catalyst at Intradia and believes the best way forward for an organisation is to enhance its interanal team’s potential and capabilities instead of depending on external resources. He is a Management, Marketing and Braand consultant and conducts specialised workshops in the area of IDEATION (Harvest and Liberate) and Innovation (InNoWait). To contact email  or tweet at s_kotnala visit


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