Creativity has to be used for effectiveness of clients: Arun Iyer

The Effie Awards India 2015 saw Mullen Lowe Lintas Group, India put up a strong show. The agency was adjudged Agency of the Year and also walked away with the Grand Effie. The agency’s metals tally included six Gold, five Silver and 13 Bronze Effies.

In an exclusive conversation with Shanta Saikia of Adgully, Arun Iyer, Chief Creative Officer, Lowe Lintas, speaks about the wins, the strategy behind the Paper Boat campaign which won the Grand Effie, plans for the year ahead and more. Excerpts:

AG: Were you expecting Mullen Lowe Lintas to put up such a strong show at this year’s Effies?

Arun Iyer (AI):: To be honest, we were expecting a good show. We had put out a good body of work in the last year. But did we expect all of this? No. So, it was gratifying to know that so many judges across cities thought that our work was worth it.

AG: What do you think clicked with the jury panels?

AI: I don’t know. Effies does not take creative people as juries. I would guess that it is the solid work. At Lowe, we very strongly believe that creativity has to be used for the effectiveness of a client, we don’t see it as two separate things – you have to channelise your creativity to make sure that it delivers for the client in the market. That solidity is what I guess showed in the work.

AG: Quite a few of the campaigns that went on to win Golds at Effies this year have a strong social cause orientation – for instance, Dabur Vatika’s ‘Brave and Beautiful’, the End Acid Sale campaign, ‘A for Anthem’ campaign, Saffola’s campaign. Do you think there is a pull towards more social-oriented campaigns?

AI: Not really. For instance, ‘Heart care for Women’ is very closely linked with what Saffola as a product also delivers, so I don’t think that it is social. But yes, if you take the case of ‘End Acid Sale’ or the Akansha Foundation campaign, they are both pieces of work done for NGOs, so naturally they are in the space of social campaigns. Dabur Vatika happens to be a case in point, which was about cancer. But there are equal numbers of Golds that are not necessarily cause related.

AG: Were you expecting the Paper Boat campaign to win the Grand Effie?

AI: To be honest, no. We knew that a lot of love, lot of care, a lot of detailing and a lot of thinking in terms of strategy and the creative had gone into the campaign. We are very humbled and happy that this kind of recognition has come its way because I genuinely think it’s a special brand. But I didn’t think that a Grand Effie was coming its way, because somewhere those are things that are outcomes and they are not things that you go into a project thinking about.

Paper Boat campaign


AG: Effies is one of the industry awards that lays a lot of emphasis on creativity that results in effectiveness for clients and brands. When you look at Paper Boat, it is a beautifully made campaign, but how has that helped the brand in terms of creating a place for itself in the market?

AI: Paper Boat had only one aspect to measure the campaign, and that was sales. And actually sales went up humongously. The thing about Effies is that there is great weightage given to results as it is for creativity – it is not separate. We know for a fact that is has worked fantastically well for the brand.

Going forward, what have you lined up for Paper Boat?

AI: The brand has tremendous potential. We came out with the ‘Hum Honge Kamyab’ campaign for Paper Boat at the beginning of the year. It is a video that we did where we had involved a lot of start-up people, who share what their wishes are and what they are doing to fulfil those wishes in the year through their companies. It was a New Year message that we had put up which went viral. There will be more campaigns during the year as we go along.


Paper Boat presents Hum Honge Kamyab


AG: Effies is the first major industry award of the year. What kind of a precedent do you think these awards are setting for the coming months?

AI: I don’t think it is setting a precedent for the coming months; it’s more a look back at the work that has happened in the previous year. So, it gives you a good sense of what you have done in the previous year and that kind of puts things in perspective for the year as well.

AG: What can we expect from Mullen Lowe Lintas this year?

AI: There is a lot happening in Mullen Lintas and Lowe Lintas. There are some very big campaigns lined up. We are hoping for another year where we can put out a body of work which we can feel proud about. I think that in the last two or three years we have consistently put out a very good body of work across a spectrum of brands and we are hoping that we can continue to do that again this year.


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