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We hope to be among top 4 media agencies in India: Dhunji Wadia

Dhunji Wadia, President, Rediffusion Y&R, speaks to AdGully on the Cannes Lions 2016 wins, creativity, delivering value to clients and more. Excerpts:

AdGully: 2 Silver Lions, 1 Bronze Lion and 5 shortlists at Cannes Lions 2016 - how would you define Rediffusion Y&R’s performance at Cannes this year?

Dhunji Wadia (DW): The work has not been created with awards in mind. We are happy to receive the awards. And it’s good because it shows there’s a peer recognition and on a global stage.

AG: Do you think that this year, India's performance at Cannes hinged on a few marquee campaigns and lacked a fair spread?

DW: I feel we did pretty well because we got the Agency of the Year, we got a Grand Prix in the Glass category. So, I think overall the performance has been good and the number of awards has been pretty good and so it has been an equaliser. It's not the privelege of a few; it is across agencies, size of agencies and different agencies have been able to perform well.

AG: How can India improve its performance at international awards platforms such as Cannes?

DW: I think the critical recognition is that good is not good enough today. So we have to make sure that we try and raise the stakes.

AG: Quite a few in the industry feel that India lags behind when it comes to presentation of their work. What, according to you, is the reason for this? What needs to be done in this regard?

DW: We put lot of effort in creating the work, but then we somehow make a documentary while we are utting the case study together. And I think the critical thing would be to elevate it each year and make sure that you grab the attention of the judges.

AG: When it comes to creative ideation, execution, how do Indian agencies compare vis-à-vis their global counterparts?

DW: They are equal and able to match up to the best in the world.

AG: So there has been a perception that Rediffusion Y&R is not too strong on digital. How true is that perception and how you are going about changing it?

DW: We have our presence in the digital space. We have an offering across – whether it is portals and collaborations creative media planning, enterprise solutions, mobility, social media, social advertising or innovative solutions. So the entire gamut of activities is available. We have a pretty robust client list also, people that we have worked with. But there is a lot that can be done, because the medium itself is very dynamic. So there is a lot that we have to do. Obviously as we go forward we hope to add to our digital prowess.

AG: How has the 360 degree integrated marketing revolutionised the advertising world?

DW: I think there are two elements - content and context. Making sure that today content is key, whether you put in whichever medium, the idea will be media neutral and then you decide which is the best medium to reach out to your target audience and then you talk to them. So content is key and the other bit is context. You will set up a context to the people you are talking to and then give them the content.

AG: How is your association with The Social Street panning out?

DW: We have done pretty well. In fact we have whole host of business that we have acquired on the media front. And going forward we hope to be among the top 4 media agencies of the country.

AG: What have been you major account wins?

DW: Our major account wins in 2016 so far have been – British Council, Reliance Digital, Balmer Lawrie, Ambuja Realty, Rising Pune Super Giants, Amplifon, UIDAI (Aadhar), L&T Realty, Emami, Make In India.

Major account wins in 2015 were – Tata Power, Hamdard, Hero Motocorp (CSR), TAFE, SIDCO,UNICEF, MIDC, SBI Capital Markets, Experion, Mani Group, Kutchina, Hygia Magic, Everest Building Solutions, and Resurgent Rajasthan, among others.

AG: Mapping out the future and focus areas for Rediffusion Y&R.

DW: I think creative is the key. When I say creative, it's obviously strategically sound creativity. So the link between what you create and the end product is important. Creativity is key because if you get that right, everything else falls in place. Your brands will do well, the agency will do well, you will have money to pay bonuses.

Adgully: So there are these lot of small agencies that have come into picture now, maybe they are a part of large companies. How would you like to define the bigger agencies?

DW: There is a market reality, and they do their work and we do our work to the extent that we can convince our clients with our work, we should be good enough. We welcome competition. Actually that helps us also keep abreast, make our resolve also that much more stronger and work harder.

Adgully: In terms of client pitch, whenever the whole team goes for a pitch, what are the category of clients that your team would prefer to work with? Is there a comfort level in terms of a category which you would want to work with?

DW: No actually we would be happy to work across. I think we are best when we talk to clients, identify the issues and address them. So all the businesses may not have been wanting multi-agency pitches. So we just want spoken to clients, and in the way that is also much much deeper because we identify what are the core issues and then we address them as opposed to a fashion show where people are coming in and going out and a different agency is coming and presenting. And the other key has been that we do not have spectators from our side. Irrespective of how many people go to the presentation, everyone present will have a role to play. So, generally you'll find that there are only one or two presenters, the rest are spectators. So, we feel that spectators should be from the client side and not from our side., If you are going then you need to justify why are you are going. If you don’t have a role to play then you should stay home.

Adgully: Ideally, in a pitch when the client gives you a brief, how do you analyse that entire process, the problem and how do you come up with a solution?

Dhunji: I don’t think it would be different from any other place because what are you are trying to demonstrate is your capabilities. So one way of looking at capabilities is the work that you have done, but tomorrow your clients will be interested in knowing what we can do for them. So which is why that is important and we recognise that it's a sampler, because you are going in to explain to them why we would be worthy partners and then of course, we would want to work with the client, so over a period of time understand their businesses better and then then give them counselling accordingly.

Adgully: Do you think you would want to kind of pick up a niche and say- Hey, this is what I am an expert at and then I would like to channelize my energy and direction in that?

Dhunji: We have a full-fledged healthcare agency. They will be far better for the inputs in this space. We want to be the worthy partners for our clients, so that is most important. So what is best would be how you would define our role.

Adgully: What are the other things that you think you need to work on?

Dhunji: Actually there is so much because if you take the entire gamut of activities today - you are looking at entertainment, retail, rural- all these places are unexplored. We need to really build them on a much stronger basis.

Adgully: Any revenue expectation, any game plan that you have set for yourself in 2016?

Dhunji: The style has been to work and let the results do the speaking. So what we believe is to talk less, deliver and let the work do the demonstration.

Adgully: How important is to win awards, not only in Indian context but international arena? Does it help you in acquiring good talent, going for larger pitches?

Dhunji: First of all, work is never created keeping awards in mind. We work keeping the objectives of our clients in mind. We love to win awards, but the focus has been to first deliver value. I think it is a recognition amongst your peers, where the work you are doing can stand out. And when you take it at an international level, it is international peers and you are able to stand up on a global stage and it does help in people noticing us, it does help people wanting to join us. So those elements do make a difference.

Adgully: What about the young team members? Do they keep that in mind that the work they are doing needs to win an award? Do you think the youngsters today come with that mindset?

Dhunji: No, I think everybody loves to win awards. But the critical thing is to make sure that you deliver value to your clients.





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