Ko: Advertising veteran Piyush Pandey believes in the power of emotional connect in advertising. On the sidelines of the International Advertising Association (IAA) World Congress held in Kochi, the recently appointed global chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather delivered an address on brand communication for social change, highlighting advertising’s role in addressing gender and societal problems.

In an interview, Pandey talks about his global role, the state of Indian creativity and digital becoming a hard selling medium. Edited excerpts:

What excites you the most as the new global chief creative officer at Ogilvy?

I was part of the global team for many years; now I’m the captain of the team. I’ll just have to play well.

Do you think Indian creativity is becoming stagnant? Why don’t we have as many iconic ads as we used to in the past?

Not really. I think advertising has only evolved and we still get some great work. I don’t think India is behind anybody.

How crucial would be advertising for political parties this year?

Advertising does have a role to play during elections but it cannot be taken so seriously. It’s the work of the political parties, people concerned and knowledge of the voter which will have an impact on the elections. Advertising, at best, is an air cover.

How do you communicate and convince attention deficient millennials? Has the rule of the advertising game changed for them?

Millennials are not aliens. They are human beings and somebody’s children or siblings. One has to understand their ways of engaging with the brands or consuming media and treat them accordingly.

Have digital platforms reduced TV advertising to hard selling?

Not at all. In fact, I feel digital has become the hard selling medium. Television still has the scope of dealing with consumers emotionally. Some of the ads I presented during the session including Brooke Bond Red Label Hindu Muslim divide has touched the hearts of many through television.

What are the key challenges that Indian advertising faces today?

I want advertising agencies to remember that they should not forget the human being behind the message. If you are able connect with consumers as human being reach them meaningfully and get them involved. I also suggest to young advertising professionals that before you know your brand know your consumer and respect him/her. You will do great work.

What’s your next goal (both personal and professional)?

I have never made any targets. I take life as it comes. 

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