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Goafest 2011: Where is the upside in this profession?

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, Goa | In Advertising | April 08, 2011
At the fourth and last session of the Goafest Advertising Conclave, speakers assured a better future for the Indian advertising industry as the golden days are back.

The fourth and last session of the Goafest Advertising Conclave, which took place at the Zuri White Sands, Goa, on April 7, took an optimistic look at the future of the Indian advertising industry. Asserting that with the rules of business changing fast, more business coming from new sectors, and predictions of a healthy growth, the speakers said that the best days for the industry are yet to come.

Sam Balsara, chairperson, Madison India moderated the session. The speakers for the session included Josy Paul, chairperson and chief creative officer, BBDO India, Ashish Bhasin, chairperson, India and chief executive officer, Southeast Asia, Aegis Media, and Arvind Sharma, chairperson and CEO, Leo Burnett.

According to Sharma, while it's true that the Indian advertising industry is on a downslide, with agencies being compensated less and the 15 per cent commission no longer being paid, thus forcing it to hire poor talent, the optimistic or the upside part of the business is that the industry is still growing by 20 per cent per year. Last year, the Indian advertising industry grew by 27 per cent, which is good news for the industry and its people.

Sharma added, "It is also a truth that the old sectors such as FMCG, which used to be one of the big pay masters for the advertising industry, is vanishing, while the industry at the same time is witnessing the growth of other sectors such as retail, healthcare and design. Therefore, the industry needs to tap the emerging sectors."

Bhasin emphasised that the size of the Indian advertising industry is US$5 billion, and it is only expected to grow at an explosive rate in the next four-five years.

He said, "If at present the bulk of the population in India is the youth, by 2025, the bulk of the population in India will move from youth to the middle-aged group, which should be news for the advertising fraternity to be happy about as the buying power lies with this age group, which is also the productive part of the economy."

Bhasin explained that to match steps with the evolving world, the advertising industry needs to adopt digital quickly and should listen more to the consumer as in the future, it is the consumer who will build a brand.

Meanwhile, Paul cited an example of how the client, till date, acknowledges new and unique thoughts. He said, "The client till date appreciates new thoughts which are unique. For example, during a creative pitch for Aviva Life Insurance, I had simply said that instead of people investing in insurance policies, they should invest in education, as education is insurance. The client liked the idea so much that at a time when we thought we had lost the business, we were called back."

Paul also stressed on the fact that the Indian advertising industry's work is acknowledged worldwide and that should be a motivating factor for the industry.

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