Glen Lomas, Global President and Chief Operating Officer at DDB Worldwide believes that India is one of the top ten markets for the creative agency. In a sit down interview with businessline, Lomas discussed a range of topics including their upcoming political ad campaign for the Congress, impact of AI on creating ad concepts and what makes creating ads for India different from the rest of the world.


How is creating ads different for India in comparison to the rest of world?

In many ways it is not different from anywhere else. You are trying to engage a youth that is very unengaged. You have got a very sporadic media environment with an audience with an unfocused attention span. The creatives need to grab this audience’s attention. The difference with the India market is that the audience is a lot younger than the rest of the world. This makes it an extremely dynamic and interesting market to create for.


Which firms drive the most business for DDB in India?

Consumer package goods are still big spenders in term of spending for television ads. I see that diminishing in the rest of the world. Globally you will have telcos dominating the media but given the muted competition amongst operators in India, that is not the case here. There are stricter rules in India for gambling companies which makes the Indian advert market quite interesting in my personal opinion, as it opens up opportunities for a large number of brands. Tech companies are also becoming big spenders here, but it has not diminished the importance of consumer goods in the ad space yet.


You are running Congress’ electoral campaign. This is the first time DDB is entering political ads, can you talk a bit about your experience?

Advertising Agencies relationships with political parties is interesting. I ran the Labour election campaign in the UK, so I can tell that there are many advantages for an agency. You get a better and a different understanding of the consumer. You gain the ability to really see the data and what people really feel about where they’re living, or how they are, what they’re feeling, and the things that really matter to them. These things are fundamentally important to an agency. So the first thing about any sort of electoral involvement of an agency is that it will benefit all of the agency’s clients working for the opposition in this case, you’ve got to be exceptionally creative, to be really noticeable in order to stand out.


AI is also going to start playing an important role in production, what do you think it means for creative agencies like DDB?

Innovations like AI are as transformative as smartphones were back in the day. It is fundamentally changing many aspects of people’s interactions. AI definitely gives one an edge for creating initial concepts and shortcutting and bring cheaper production model. But creativity is still indispensable. We set up the world’s first AI generated agency, a creative agency, it was an online experiment where you could create ads by putting 3-4 prompts. Sometimes the ads were brilliant, but, 99 out of 100 times it was terrible. So you still need the human touch to discern between the good and the bad, use our judgement, that is still necessary. The advances give you the ability to create 90 per cent of the piece of communication, and creators can be inspired more quickly than ever before. It can also help with ancillary tasks. I don’t know if you have ever worked with creatives but we really hate filling our timesheets. Those processes can be automated using AI. To me having an AI is like having an extremely smart gadget, which will quickly execute the tasks you set out for it. But humans and experience will still be directing its outputs in the backend.


How important is India as a market for DDB?

It is definitely in the top ten. More importantly for all our global customers, India is an indispensable market. No company’s ad campaign will ever discount India.