Marketing

India Cannes gets better

Updated on: Apr 13, 2011
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An engaging Goafest with action points for the future unfolded on the beaches of Goa from April 5 to 9, 2011. The extended sixth edition of Goafest packed in more than any previous edition, leaving delegates satiated, and perhaps a little drained. Be it in terms of seminar content, ideas exchange, celebration of creative and media excellence, or the Olive Crown Awards, ASCI's ‘Advertising with a Conscience' initiative

An engaging Goafest with action points for the future unfolded on the beaches of Goa from April 5 to 9, 2011.

The extended sixth edition of Goafest packed in more than any previous edition, leaving delegates satiated, and perhaps a little drained. Be it in terms of seminar content, ideas exchange, celebration of creative and media excellence, or the Olive Crown Awards, ASCI's ‘Advertising with a Conscience' initiative and ‘Ambassador Programme' for self-regulation or the rain dances, there was something to keep everyone occupied, all the time.

In the words of a senior ad pro, “Goafest beats Cannes any day, on all fronts, except the awards and maybe the volume of international speakers. Don't quote me - but the Cannes trophy is still more precious. Goafest is more fun. It lets you be. And it's possibly the best hunting ground in India for fresh talent.”

That observation just about sums things up. But to make this year's festival a delightful, memorable and controversy-free fun-cum-learning experience, preparations have been on, on a war footing. Organisers Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and Ad Club Bombay and several representatives from each deserve a holiday - preferably not in Goa.

Keywords until Goafest 2012

Digital, agency remuneration, talent: these three were perhaps the most repeated words at Goafest 2011. And there was no dearth of client representation on the panels that discussed the readiness of advertising for the next decade or the lessons that advertising could learn from other service industries, at the conclave preceding the two main days of the festival.

Rajiv Dube, Director, Group Corporate Services and Director, Aditya Birla Management Corporation; Mayank Pareek, Managing Executive Officer, Maruti Udyog; Farokh Balsara, Partner and National leader, Media and Entertainment, Ernst & Young; Sanjay Behl, CEO, DTH and IPTV, and President - Brand and Marketing at Reliance ADAG; Arun Tadanki, CEO, Yahoo India; and Thomas Simon, VP - HR, Tata Consultancy Services were among speakers at the conclave.

The focus was broadly on the advertising firm moving from being an ‘agency' to a communication partner, to help co-create a future where both client and agency shared the common interest of interesting and engaging consumers and activating them.

To do this, advertising needs to invest in talent, for which it needs to be remunerated better, it was argued. The discussions also put forth that the top brass at the client end needed to engage actively with the advertising process rather than relegate it to the juniors.

Is the advertising business ready with solutions for brands if - and when - TV sans ads becomes a reality? Neither advertising partners nor clients were ready for the next decade, admitted speakers on both sides. And there seemed to be some willingness to create an entry point through the fence.

Clients sought more accountability and, as they have for many years, said they were willing to pay more for work that worked in the market.

Walking the Talk

At the Conclave, Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World, questioned the panel on the dais on action points from the discussion being taken forward through the year. A question on many minds was voiced by the advertising veteran.

What can the AAAI do going forward from the points of discussion from this year’s Indian advertising carnival? Among other things, that’s what we asked Nagesh Alai, President, AAAI and CFO, Draftfcb Ulka. Excerpts:

Evangelising ‘Fair’ Remuneration

We will look at meetings with key clients in the market, with leadership teams from the advertising industry, to evangelise the appreciation of a fair remuneration and focus on bringing value addition.

Agencies have always been adding value. Earlier, CEOs at the client end were custodians of the brand. Over a period of time, they have gone into managing the environment; because of this, brand managers have become the brand custodians. So the level of engagement is not to the depth it ought to be. This is what we’re trying to get back, and it is linked to getting the right talent, retaining them, getting the fair price.

It’s not that the industry is in the doldrums. Some agencies are run very well commercially and some are not. The point is to make agencies which are not well managed understand the pitfalls. The idea is to stop them from getting into a vicious downward spiral. We need to spread financial literacy and that is the attempt. We are saying; ensure that you get a fair price. Recognise the intellectual property that you bring to the table.

Talent

Agencies at an individual level do associate with educational institutions. At our agency we have been recruiting consistently from campus for the last 23 years, irrespective of good years or bad years. We also engage with institutes continuously through lectures and other means.

Efforts are on at multiple fronts. There was a STACA course at Narsee Monjee which was discontinued. We will see if that can be revived. We have established schools like MICA, then you have schools floated by Walter Saldanha, then there is North Point… all these schools become sources of talent for us.

Years ago, we could attract people from the top B-schools like IIMs. It’s no longer possible because of constraints like the remuneration. Advertising is no longer a destination point - it goes back to the issue that we are no longer engaging the company’s CEO. If we could get in exceptional talent from good schools, we will get to a good place.

Look at how campus recruitment happens – you get a slot on the basis of the salary you pay. The idea is to first get your business structure right, so that you are able to pay competitive salaries, so that you can get a preferred slot.

Simultaneously, we need to be at these institutes and make them aware of the excitement that they can look forward to in advertising, the brands they can work on, and so on. It’s a slow and continuous process. But it will happen. That’s what we are working on. We are talking to some colleges. Things are under process.”

Published on April 14, 2011

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