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Having to beat your own benchmark is a very good position to be in: Sumanto Chattopadhyay

Ogilvy & Mather Group put up a strong show at the Effie Awards India 2018, securing the second spot with 177 points. The agency took home the Grand Effie award for the ‘Nayi Soch’ campaign done for Star Plus. Ogilvy also bagged 4 Golds – Pizza Hut campaign (‘Dominos Loves Pizza Hut!’), Perfetti Van Melle India’s ‘Chupa Chups - Take fun seriously’ campaign, Rajasthan Tourism campaign (‘Jaane Kya Dikh Jaye’), and ‘Inspiring India’s New Dreamers’ campaign for 

In a brief interaction with Adgully, Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Soho Square, The Ogilvy Group, speaks about the Grand Effie win, creativity in the era of AI and agency-client relationships. 

On winning the Grand Effie at the Effie Awards India 2018...
We had put our heart and soul into the Star Plus campaign, so this recognition is truly gratifying. Gayatri Yadav at Star, with whom we worked closely to develop the campaign, told me as we were walking off the stage with the trophy that we have to beat the benchmark of this campaign. I agreed with her, adding that having to beat your own benchmark is a very good position to be in. But yes, you don’t really get to rest on your laurels in this business, because you have to dive right back into the trenches to face another year of challenges. 

What was the creative brief for the campaign?
The brand represents both a beacon and bellwether of change in the life of the Indian woman. As she takes on her husband’s name, a woman’s name is forgotten. It doesn’t get passed down to her children. And along with her name, her contribution to their upbringing and success is sometimes forgotten too. Addressing this was the ‘Wear Her Name’ aspect of the campaign. A second dimension was to recognise that success is not gender-biased – all a woman needs is a level playing field to realise her potential. This was the focus of the ‘&Daughters’ leg of the campaign. 

How do you think creativity is affected or changed in the presence of technology, big data and AI?
The more things change, the more they remain the same. However much technology changes, storytelling remains at the heart of creativity. So, while the television commercial may be peaking, video is exploding on the mobile screen; while the print advertorial is waning, native advertising is on the rise. It’s a case of old wine in new bottles. 

Big data should inform – and not dictate to – creativity. Creative practitioners need to be au fait with big data, so they can get the best out of it, rather than being buried under its weight. 

Harnessing AI for creative development still seems a bit futuristic. With respect to our consumers, those born after 2010 are Generation AI. They have never lived in a world without, say, digital personal assistants. By the time they are grown up, the landscape will have shifted dramatically – AI will have become ubiquitous – changing their media consumption and buying behaviour. But, just as we learned to cater to the millennials, we shall adjust to this brave new world as well. 

How much more challenging has it become for agencies to have long-term relationships with clients today?
I think agencies are becoming more and more like competing detergent brands in a supermarket aisle. Clients will push their shopping carts along, make a repeat purchase of a tried and tested brand – perhaps because it is giving a discount. Or it might go for another leading brand because it’s come out with a new variant. Then it might experiment with fabric conditioners, stain removers, bleach or other specialised laundry aids. 

Meanwhile, ad agencies are thrown into a spin cycle. The ones with tenacity –with both brand-building and business-building rigour woven into their fabric – will ride out the cycle, emerging clean and bright, with client relationships intact.


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