Cannes was no fluke, creativity has been always alive at JWT, says Rohit Ohri

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | July 12, 2005
Rohit Ohri shares his vision for JWT Delhi

JWT has always maintained that changing its logo & #BANNER1 & # was not a fad. It was to do with the new idea and the philosophy at JWT. And, it's about how the agency would like to do advertising in future. That transformation also apparently reflected the agency's moving away from traditional 30-second TVCs towards communication through the Internet, video games and blogs.

In a tete-a-tete with agencyfaqs!, JWT vice president Rohit Ohri describes the life and times of the new JWT. Excerpts of the interview.

From a servicing oriented agency, JWT, it seems, is serious about focusing on creativity with a vengeance. Will you agree?

I will say creativity has been always alive in the agency. The Pepsi adverts that we have been producing for years have always been a success. Whether it's 'Yeh Dil Mange More', or 'Yehi Hai Right Choice Baby", or the current 'Oye Bubbly' campaign, our work has always caught the imagination of the nation.

But yes, if you are referring to JWT winning record-breaking nominations at Cannes this year, or the agency winning the prestigious Stevie Award in New York, I will say that the recognition reflects the hard work that our creative professionals are putting up. These awards were no fluke.

Our work for Pepsi is the most well-known, but let me tell you that JWT Delhi has also done extremely good press work for realty player Unitech. The recent Pizza Hut advert featuring Malaika Arora is also one of the good works. Another recent good work is for Lipton Ice tea. I would also advise you to watch out for the creative for Hero Honda's CD Deluxe bike. The TVC will be on air soon.

If you are doing so well in creatives, why is the agency desperate for a national creative head? You do have Anil Warner in Delhi and D Ramakrishna in Mumbai…

Yes, we are looking for a national creative head. But that has got nothing to do with the work produced by Ramki, Warner or our other senior creative directors and their teams. Each of our senior creative directors is handling blue-chip clients. But the JWT senior management feels that there ought to be someone who would be the overall creative head; someone who will command universal respect. We are looking for a person, who has talent, is charismatic and an intelligent personality. And also, who could change the direction of this huge ship, called JWT.

I sincerely believe that great work can only happen when both the creative and servicing teams interact as one big team. That has been JWT Delhi's strength. And, I would like to see more of that.

How are you encouraging the youngsters in your creative team?

After I took over JWT's Delhi operations, the agency is practicing 'Show One'. It is an unique concept created by the creative people of JWT. Show One is essentially an ideas show where every single person in the creative team has to put a creative idea in front of the entire JWT Delhi team. We rate the work between zero and 10.

This allows the creative team attached to a particular brand to come up with ideas regarding another brand - leading to a free-flow of ideas, bonhomie and a sense of belonging to the agency as a whole, instead of little cubicles.

And, that's not all. The best ideas are taken to the client for approval. Recently, two ideas have been accepted by clients; one involved Dettol, while the other one was about Apollo Tyres.

Tell us, why is that we hear strong rumours about Pepsi making an exit from JWT from time to time? A few months back, he heard about Pepsi favouring Conquest…

That's news to me. I have only one explanation for such rumours. Our competing agencies must be very jealous since Pepsi has been with us for 14 years. Did you know that it's only in India that Pepsi is outselling Coca-Cola? A similar thing is happening in a few Arab countries, but Coke is a late entrant there. I suppose JWT India must be doing something right to keep Pepsi on top of the consumers' mind.

There is lot of trust that the client has in us. In fact, that's the reason why the other brands of PepsiCo are with us as well. Take for example, the Gatorade brand. We are servicing the advertising business of this sports nutrition beverage brand. The TVC will be on air later this year.

When JWT changed its logo, that apparently reflected the agency's moving away from traditional 30-second TVCs towards communication through the new media. Now where's the new media in JWT India's body of work?

I guess you haven't heard of what's happening to the 'Oye Bubbly' campaign. Do you know there has been an astounding 9 lakhs-plus downloads of the campaign's ringtone? The cellcos, I am told, have made quite a bit of money from the mobile download. Can you imagine the benefits accrued to brand Pepsi? Plus, we had also produced a music video on the campaign. That's a great success as well.

Among the brands that JWT Delhi handles, which are the ones that you are most bullish?

There are many but I will single out Kurkure from Frito Lays. This is a product which is developed in India for Indians and it's doing very well. That's one better example of the quality creative work that's produced by the Delhi branch.

The market for Kurkure is huge. I don't see any competition from the organised sector apart from Haldiram's. Kurkure has been growing phenomenally and it will grow even further. Our current campaign focuses on Kurkure being an ideal tea-time snack. More such campaigns will be on air this year. You better watch out.

© 2005 agencyfaqs!