AAAI announces ‘Creative Block Busting’ workshop

AAAI announces 'Creative Block Busting' workshop

Sridhar Ramanathan will lead the session scheduled for 23 August in Mumbai Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) has announced a workshop ‘Creative Block Busting’, which is scheduled for 23 August in Mumbai.

This workshop will be led by Sridhar Ramanathan, innovation facilitator, consultant and coach. Sridhar was a part of Ogilvy & Mather for 25 years and started the direct marketing vertical under the agency.

The workshop follows a seven step process and aims to helps clients explore out-of-the-box options. This workshop which is aimed at CXOs, senior managers, creative minds, activation experts, online and offline media professionals from advertising agencies.


Nine challenges creative agencies face while pitching

Pitching is an integral part of creative agencies’ DNA for acquiring new business or even retaining the existing business. For something so integral to the success of an agency, it is alarming to know that the pitch process is mostly notoriously distraught. According to a Provoke Insights study done in 2015, approximately 47 per cent of advertising professionals surveyed said that they were dissatisfied with the current approach to pitching.

For agencies, pitching new business is often a drain on resources, time and morale, and it doesn’t always result in the best pairing of clients and their creative partners. interacted with industry leaders to weigh in the pain points of creative pitches.

Problems related to creative pitches are a vicious circle and to come out of it, one needs to identify them and then find solutions. This listicle is divided into two parts. The first part talks about the problems related to creative pitches and the second part will talk about the solutions.

This compilation is based on the conversation with Govind Pandey, CEO, TBWA; Kapil Arora, President, Ogilvy Group Companies, North, ‎Ogilvy & Mather; Ambarish Ray, Director, COO, Metal Communications; Shiv Sethuraman, The New Business; Vistasp Hodiwala, CCO and Co-Founder, Underdog and Shivil Gupta, ECD, Dentsu Impact.

No time for creatives to ideate

When a pitch is called by clients and a particular time is allotted to the agencies to prepare, most of that time is spent by the strategy and planning people on the pitch and then the creative directors are approached to look for an idea.

Gupta added, “The ratio of time spent by planning and creative is not right. More time is taken by the planning and strategy people and very less is given to the creative ones, which makes difficult to find insights.”

Also, time gap between briefing and calling for presentation is not enough. Sethuraman added, “Most clients don’t plan for enough time between briefing and asking for presentations. As a result, they don’t get great output and have to do multiple rounds.”

Say no to speculative creative pitches

Agencies should be careful before jumping into the speculative pitch well. One should do a proper background check on the brand, its expectations, scope and ambition before even agreeing to pitch. In the run to maintain business P/L, agencies tend to pitch for any brand without giving a much thought. A senior agency official said, “This generally happens with agencies that are either independent or struggling to maintain costs or the bigger ones that have pressures from their parent network and have too many people to deploy on any kind of a pitch.”

Pandey said, “The fact that you have limited number of people, you need to be choosy with the kind of brands you want to work with. A new business pitch is a big cost. A lot of time and resources are spent on it and that itself should limit the number of pitches you want to do.”

Trouble creative agencies for the pitch sake

Another problem that creatives talk about is that at times CMOs call pitches just for the sake of completely mandatory requirements of calling a pitch. At times, the marketers already have a set agency in their mind but call for a pitch for the sake of it. This happens when a marketer joins from another company and favours an agency he has worked with.

Excessive pitching depletes quality of creativity

A major contributor to long working hours, and in some cases staff burnout, is excessive pitching. It’s tough on the creatives because they are constantly being asked for new ideas. It is a demanding process.

Evergreen pitch fee problem

Agencies not being paid for pitching is a vicious problem for the industry. Unity is needed to come to a permanent solution and that is not happening soon. On the one hand, the agencies say they should be paid as a lot of time, money and creativity go in making even a sample presentation. On the other hand, many agencies are willing to present bids for free if clients don’t oblige. Although, there are a few agencies that do not pitch until they are paid a fee.

Pitching for projects

Although projects bring monies to the agencies in the short-term, but preparing for project pitches is a nuisance because it is for the short-term and agencies have to come up with ideas each time. There is no surety that the client would come back to the agency for another project or a longer term agreement as well.

Arora said, “The ticket size is so little that it makes the process very unviable. It is time wastage to spend one month of pitch preparation for a two-month project.”

Money matters!

Generally, the final discussion on money matters happens in the final round of any pitch. The agency charging les to the brand has a chance to be selected which puts the other agency’s hard work in vain. A senior official, who didn’t want to be quoted, said that it has happened with them a few times that in the final round when they are almost about to win the account, the client selects the agency that charged less.

Too many participants in the pitch

It is also another big problem where clients call too many agencies for a pitch. This wastes the client’s as well as the agencies’ time. The flocking number of independent agencies joining pitches throws competition to the bigger ones. Too many ideas also make it difficult for the clients to choose and simultaneously put unnecessary pressure on the agencies to compete with the bunch of fellow colleagues from the industry.

Pandey said, “The clients who don’t know their mind and what they are looking for, generally invite everybody. The pitch meetings become crowded with too many agencies.”

Evaluation metrics of agencies not clear

Sethuraman explains this point really well. He said, “In the best conducted pitches, the clients’ criterion of evaluation is always clear. For example, they might decide to give significant weightage to the past work of the agency and its local office strength and low weightage to the actual pitch campaign. But often this is not transparent so agencies don’t know what they’re being judged on.”


Brazil artists turn former government building into creative centre

Image result for Brazil artists turn former government building into creative centre

Creativity is blooming in one of the least likely of places in Brazil.

The 13-storey Ouvidor building in the heart of Sao Paulo used to be a local government building before it fell out of use.

Empty and derelict, the site was wasted until 300 painters, sculptors, circus performers and musicians moved in, transforming it into an artistic hub.

Now, they want the house officially declared a creative centre.

Al Jazeera’s Daniel Schweimler reports from Sao Paulo.


How To Be More Creative

CREDIT: Getty Images

Most people, regardless of their age, operate like small children.

They never truly grow up.

What does this mean?

Most children are focused completely on their own needs and wishes. They want more, more, more.

As a foster parent, I see this every single day. We get our kids something, and within a few moments, they are asking for something else. They have an insatiable desire for more. It can never be fulfilled. They are never satisfied.

Of course, we teach our kids to be grateful and appreciate what they have. But they are in a dependent state. They are, after all, children. So it’s reasonable that their focus is entirely upon themselves and their own survival.

Unfortunately, most people never grow out of this self-centered and consumptive approach to life.

Most people do things only for what it will bring them in return.

Don’t get me wrong, doing things for compensation is completely fine. But is that compensation the core motivation for the work you are doing?

Very few people do incredible work because they are more focused on what they can get than what they can give.

People want promotions not so they can give more, but so they can get more.

Very few people take on greater responsibility so they can work more. Very few people position themselves in leadership so they can work harder.

Hence the quote from Abraham Lincoln, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Most people want “power” for the benefits they get from that power. Few people want power only for the purpose of giving more of themselves to a cause they believe in.

Only a select few people ever grow consciously beyond their own needs. Only a select few develop convictions strong enough to give their lives for. Only a select few will commit to something with such force that they are willing to transform themselves to uphold that commitment.

Only a select few will become something, not for the accolades and outcomes, but for the purpose of intensifying the process of their work and contribution.

So I ask: What is your core approach to life?

Do you primarily want to receive?

Or do you primarily want to give?

It’s a simple question. It’s one most people wont answer honestly.

But the answer to that question lies at the heart of what you’ll do and achieve in your life.

If you’re primarily motivated by what you can get from something, then once you get that thing, your motivation will be gone.

I’ve seen this again and again. I’ve even experienced it in myself, which has caused such a deep meditation on the subject.

For example, when someone starts writing, and they put in lots and lots of work to eventually get a book deal, they find that they no longer desire to write. Now that they have the accolade and the recognition, they are satisfied. That’s what they truly wanted deep down. It wasn’t actually about the writing, but what the writing could get them.

The same holds true for relationships, which is why most relationships end poorly. If the relationship isn’t giving you what you want, then you no longer want the relationship.

The best work (and relationships) can only come when you give yourself entirely to it. That must be your motivation. Of course you need compensation.

Hence the saying: Don’t work for money. Make money so you can do more work. Yes, you need money. You need resources. But those things are means to doing more of the work you so desperately believe in.

Why Most People Will Never Be Successful

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.” – Viktor E. Frankl

Most people will never be successful because most people remain children, consciously, and never evolve.

They remain purely self-indulgent and self-absorbed.

They never develop convictions that drive them to dedicate their lives to a particular service and audience.

They aren’t willing to learn and transform themselves for a commitment. Instead, they only commit to something so long as it benefits them. Once things get tough, their “commitment” disappears.

In order to be truly successful, and to make an enormous impact on the world, you must give yourself fully to something. It can’t be about you anymore. You must be driven to serve. To help other people, and to solve specific problems.

This is the very reason few people ever actually experience love. Because they engage in relationships only for their own benefit. Love isn’t about you. It’s about the other person. And the only way to truly experience love is by giving it.

When you’re driven by giving, you already know you’ll receive abundantly in return. The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers.

When you are completely motivated to serve and give, you have complete confidence the outcome will be successful.

Success isn’t hard, because it’s not your obsession. It’s an unintended consequence. It’s a byproduct of everything you’re putting into your work.

Success is a habit for people motivated by something greater than themselves. Success is easy when you’re not focused on yourself.

However, when you’re focused on yourself, success is SO HARD. It’s hard because it’s fleeting.

It’s fleeting just as the joy is fleeting for my child when I give them a toy. As soon as they get it, they want something else. It’s all about what they can consume, not about what they can create and give.

Only those who care more about helping others will keep going, long after all of their needs are met and long after they receive enormous accolades and “success.”

It doesn’t matter how many accolades you acquire if those accolades are the reason for what you’re doing. Because, soon enough, you’ll stop doing the work that got those accolades. You’ll be satisfied with your “success” and those who are driven by something more will keep going. They’ll keep digging deeper into the problems of this world and they’ll be the ones who solve those problems.

When you’re driven by giving, you run toward problems. Most people run away from problems. They don’t want to deal with them. But the world is filled with problems, and those problems need solutions.

Embrace problems.

Your life can be measured in direct proportion to the problems you seek to solve in your life.

Some people are content solving the problem of getting through the day.

Others are seeking to solve world hunger, or providing education to children in need, or a host of other important issues.

Why are you doing what you’re doing?

Is it for what you can get, or what you can give?