Winning, the MullenLowe Lintas way

20 Dec,2016


Continuing with our interviews with Effies interviews, on Day 2 (of three), we bring you interviews with Subramanyeswar S, Arun Iyer and Amer Jaleel


Subramanyeswar S, National Planning Director – Lowe Lintas India:

Winning effectiveness and strategy awards:

Yes, and we are very happy to be there. It’s not just one grand moment for us, it’s the culmination of year-long efforts at various award shows and where we had done consistently well, fantastically well everywhere and something which I would  like to say is that it’s like a game of pole vault. In Olympics when you see the game of pole vault, the idea is not about how fast I run or how deep I have dug into. The question is how high have I jumped and once you do that keep raising the bar and keep jumping again and again and we hate coming second best.


Planning for the awards:

Planning in the sense of culture, it’s a culture that we have consciously built over many years and at MullenLowe you see that it’s a collective fund of intelligence between creative, planning, account management and the client where everybody comes together and this culture we have consciously built. A culture which actually breeds damn good ideas, ideas that actually win in the marketplace and become effective.


What’s most important for you: planning, creative or strategy?

It’s not about which is more important. Collectively together. Everything needs to come together into the play. You can’t say if batting is more important or bowling is more important or fielding more important? Everything has to come together. Of course there are times when one plays lot more than other but in the end it’s the collective fund of intelligence of all of us together and we thoroughly enjoy it amongst us and because I am a part of the system I know it, you always feel that energy and that momentum keeps us making it do again and again and we don’t get tired.


Arun Iyer, CCO, Lowe Lintas

If you have to list the takeouts from this years Effies in terms of winning, what would it be?

My biggest takeout is the fact that there are a lot more agencies which are actually in the game now and that is a very positive thing for our business. It’s a good thing that other agencies are really doing well in terms of campaigns. That’s my biggest takeout.


Any regrets of not bagging the Grand Effie?

No real regret but yes it’s actually motivating to make sure that next year we also need to get the Grand Effie and make sure we have a campaign that does that well.


We have noticed in various awards that most of clients are traditional clients of the agencies. There are very few new clients. Does that mean the newer, younger clients are not experimenting enough?

Not true because even if you see our list of winners, we have won big on Unilever but we have won enough on new e-commerce clients. We won on Byju’s, we won on Hike, we won on Freecharge. so there is a bunch of new e-commerce clients that we have won on as well. One of the things that we have managed well is the balance between old,  seasoned marketers and fairly new marketers. I don’t think it’s about the marketers and the muscle that they have. It’s just about what you do for them.


Any fresh thinking on participating in the creative award?

Not really unless it dramatically changes because for us it’s really important that what it did in the market place not because we have an opinion on the creative awards, it’s only because that’s the approach we take to our work. While we are thinking about creative, we are trying to push creative boundaries but it’s not pushing creative boundaries for ourselves. It’s pushing creative boundaries for the clients.


So the standpoint doesn’t change after Balki’s moved on?

This is a question I am asked very often. It’s just that Balki planned this very well. He has not been there on day-to-day basis for sometime now and it’s a culture we all believe in otherwise we wouldn’t be spending this kind of time in the agency if we didn’t believe in the culture. It was a culture that was introduced in the agency by Balki but it’s a culture we all believed in and I’ve lived it and we breathe that culture.


Plans for next year:

I am taking away a lot of learning. I am taking away learning like conventional media is not enough, we have got to do more stuff. So those are interesting learnings that I am taking back from a lot of the work that I saw. Some of the work that has won is the work that I personally liked very much. So I think there are a lot of learnings at an individual level which I am going to take back and hopefully translate it to the agency.


Amer Jaleel, Chairman & CCO – Mullen Lintas


Winning has become a habit for Lowe Lintas group at the Effies. Third time in four years…

For me personally the journey that we have started a new agency and we did a little bit of contribution this time to the MullenLowe group but I am very very excited that the work that we did on Bajaj Avenger sort of stood out and won some points for us. Next year, please watch out for us.


Is there some healthy competition between you and your older sibling?

Healthy, yes but we are not at this moment really competing but I’d like to say that we want to be a parallel agency. We have come with this objective of being a competitor not just to MullenLowe group but to the big networks, Ogilvy, JWT, to McCann of this world and we want to be that agency that makes a difference at the Effies hopefully in time to come as an agency on its own.


Agencies like Pickle which were merged to form Mullen Lintas did participate in creative awards…

I have a view on this and I want to say that whether it’s the Abby or any other awards I have always said that I would like the criteria to have a bit of contemporary input from the agencies and the thinking of today. As far as Abby considers the input from the people of today, the people who make the advertising today, if they are willing to consider the inputs of today then I don’t mind being a part of Abby


What about your clients? How have they contributed to the success at Effies?

Let’s take a case in point. Let’s take Bajaj brotherhood, such a huge and differentiated piece of work. We cannot pull it off without having our clients believe in the piece of work. So big big contribution.


A word on Bajaj Auto. Other than Avenger, its Bajaj V campaign has also won great accolades. We’ve heard it from the folks at Leo but what is it that makes Bajaj a dramatically different client than others?

I’ve been doing work with Bajaj for the last twelve or thirteen years and I think how they look at their brand, for example Avenger, you could say it’s a narrowly focused brand but in that narrow focus they work with the agency to make such a strong and incisive to the kind of audience they are talking about. If you look at the work for V, if you look at the work for Avenger, the work is so different and so incisive and so pointed towards the kind of audience that makes them of the leading clients today.


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