Advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on: SIMC Brand Comm Conclave

05 Oct,2015

By A Correspondent


Anything you knew yesterday is no longer valid, as something has changed while you slept. Creativity and ideas are no longer the preserve of advertising agencies.  It is the clients as well. The clients are thinking innovation, performance and that’s where change comes from. As advertising agencies, we have to see it as an era of new opportunities and new horizons. Make it simple, keep it simple and communicate in the simplest possible terms.” These are words of wisdom from Colvyn Harris, former JWT South Asia CEO and  now Executive Director – Global Growth & Client Development at JWT at the  Annual Brand Communication Conclave hosted by Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication, Pune, on Sunday (October 4).


Other than Harris, senior industrypersons present at the event included Josy Paul, Chairman and CCO, BBDO; Suman Srivastava, CSO, FCB Ulka; Ravindra Pisharody, Executive Director (Commercial Vehicles) and member of Board of Directors, Tata Motors; Ravi Deshpande, Chairman and CCO, Whyness; Jitender Dabas, NPD and VP, McCann; Bharatesh Salian, VP and Head Strategy, Razorfish; Michelle Suradkar, HR Director, Lintas; Kapil Arora, President, Ogilvy North; Hari Krishnan, MD, Zenith Optimedia; Debarpita Banerjee, formerly Executive VP, MarComm-Fox International; and Sumantra Sengupta, CEO, PI Communications. The panel discussions were moderated by Prof Chandan Chatterjee, Director, SIMC and Dean, Faculty of Media, Design and Communications, Symbiosis International University, Vikas Mehta, Consultant and Ex-GM, Havas Worldwide; Pradyuman Maheshwari, Editor-in-Chief and CEO, MxMIndia and Adjunct Professor, SIMC.


The theme of the Concalve was ‘Advertising at Crossroads’ and the attempt was find answers to the all-important question: Will suits, mavericks and right brain ones find new, path-breaking ideas to overcome the several uncertainties the industry is facing today?


While making his keynote remarks, Harris highlighted several issues the industry faces today like the deficient noticeability value in print. “The digital opportunity is amplification and engagement. Apps is a new thing, website will be fading and apps will be flourishing. App aggregates your information and makes your work easier. Since 2008, there have been 100 billion apps that you can download and on an average 119 billion apps for iOS users,” he said.


The first panel discussion was titled ‘Traditional Advertising- What about thou?’ Ravindra Pisharody said that the ever-changing nature of advertising may result in every new medium of today attaining the status of being traditional tomorrow, mentioning that “change will be continuous.”  Taking this discussion further, Hari Krishnan said, “First we need to understand there isn’t traditional or non-traditional media. The moment you take positions, dissonance happens. There is media and there is a lot of intertwining of media.” “It is true that there are multiple (consumer) personas. Humans are like smartphones, having multiple dimensions, each having a different persona. Therefore, media is becoming more exciting and challenging,” said Suman Srivastava.  Josy Paul believed that there is no single medium to address the cultural and social tension. It is about harnessing collective energy to solve problems.


Next up was the panel with the topic ‘Consumers don’t spend time with the technology, they spend time with emotions.’  Said Ravi Deshpande: “The consumers has moved way ahead and his response to brands is changing. In digital, if the experience is not smooth, people will move away. The emphasis is on creating great content and whether people can engage and spend time on content rather than the frivolous part of it. For, we simultaneously created content as the finance minister spoke. It was real time and a great success.”


Added Bharatesh Salian, “It is not about what the client wants, it is about what the consumer needs.”  The panellists also focused on creating an emotional connect with the consumers. Jitendra Dabas said: “Idea along with technology is a wow factor for consumers” and Sumantra Sengupta added: “The idea was always there but the format changed and that is technology… Technologically driven and bright people are needed to drive the big idea.”.


The third panel of the conclave explored the topic, ‘Talent Management: Honey you shrunk the talent’. Said Kapil Arora: “Specialised learning is important. If you can show that value, that difference. People with specialized learning will shine more. It’s not all gloom and doom. Both sides are still discovering. If you bring talent to the table then the conversation goes upstream.” “Its very easy to make things complex. At the end of the day there is a fixed budget. You need to be aware of all the options and “final synthesis in delivery needs to simple”

Michelle Suradkar expressed that the advertising field offers you the opportunity to working on a plethora of platforms, clients and products. The added excitement comes from seeing your work everywhere out there, influencing and changing behaviour and choices. She advised the aspiring brand communication professionals that, “Some passion for what you do, curiosity, and a hunger to learn will take you places.” Colvyn Harris, resonating with Michelle Suradkar quoted Jerry Della Femina’s famed quote: “I honestly believe that advertising is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.”  Said Debarpita Banerjee: “Twenty  back, culture was the tipping point. Now a lot of youngsters are looking for impact and the difference that they can make.”



The conclave also witnessed the finale of SIMCatalyst, an intra-institute competition which had the senior MBA cohort fight out fiercely in order to give the winning marketing and communication strategy presentation for the iconic American brand, Indian Motorcycles.


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