The executive chairman, Ogilvy India and creative director, Ogilvy South Asia took guard at the IAA Retrospect and Prospects session in Mumbai by taking a leaf from his past as a cricketer. "When I was a cricketer in the last century, after every match we would sit and analyse what did we do right or wrong," he said and quickly added that a review of this kind needs a little bit of maturity on our part.
Pandey thus laid out the ground rules for what was to follow, by citing that it would be the right spirit to analyse how we saw the year go by.
He started off with the plus points. When a brand associates with issues that involve society, we have done a very good job of that.
He said that advertising in this space had shown the depth to adopt such ideas in our country and make a difference.
He then showed four pieces of work.
Savlon Chalk Sticks
From emotion let's move on to morbid things, he told the audience consisting of senior leaders from advertising, media and marketing.
In the day-to-day work, agencies have not done a great job.
There are poor jokes and a lack of depth. He said agencies kept harping on how demonetisation and GST hurt their business.
"A reduced budget can be understood, but that should not be the reason for reduced creativity," he said.
Shifting to celebrity endorsement he said that if brands hired celebrities, they should work ten times harder on the idea.
"Brands stop thinking when they spot the celebrity. We can never wish celebrity endorsements away but we can make it interesting," he said and showed four ads to support his argument.
Shifting gears to other media he said, the print scene for creativity in advertising is pathetic. Newspapers getting thicker, but there are very few examples of neat, clean and elegant ads like Lodha.
"Double jackets, what are they... The inside ad is a vest," he said half mockingly.
On a lighter note, he said that he would hold his judgment on outdoor and radio to an offline interaction after the awards show, hinting that 'real creative' work will be in short supply.
He said that digital has to be embraced, but also made creative. Learn from the medium and people who know the medium. "No media will ever die. Nothing will kill anyone. Make use of every medium from what the medium has to offer," he added.
To end his presentation, Pandey made one prediction for the year: FMCG multinationals will not go to B schools for recruitment. They will instead go to Yogashrams and Ayurveda schools and get their executive to abandon their clean look and grow long beards, he said in a clear reference to the emergence of Patanjali Ayurved and other brands in the space.
This article was first published in Campaign India on 8 February 2018.