Published: November 23, 2016 | ETBrandEquity | Toyoja Upadhyay & Priyanka Nair
MICA grabbed the winning title
While at Cannes Lions earlier in 2016, Rajiv Dingra, founder and CEO, WATConsult was hit with inspiration. The international festival of creativity plays host to the world's most inspirational creatives every year and Dingra wondered why India, a country bursting with robust, intrepid talent had yet to see such an event kick off on its soil.
Aching with the fantastic idea of birthing an event that showcased local talent on a global scale, Dingra, his team at WATConsult, and Dentsu Aegis Network , who are constantly looking at enhancing their talent pool, came up with WAT's Your Big Idea (WYBI).
WYBI was created to pass on the baton and give the coming generation a unique platform to pursue their dreams and live their passion. The participants, all students from various business colleges across the country, got an opportunity to work on live projects, understand the nuances of creating digital campaigns for notable brands and showcase their creative skills in front of the best brand marketers in the country.
Commenting on the initiative, Ashish Bhasin, chairman and CEO - South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network said, "The single biggest asset and constrain of our industry is people. Nobody is really expanding the area of the talent pool. Earlier, advertising was considered to be a premium profession but unfortunately, today, the best talent is not coming to advertising. Someone had to start creating a process that will help students relate to advertising. This is much bigger and smarter approach than poaching people from competition. I honestly didn’t expect the turnout to be this big, but I am glad WATConsult took this step."
This is not the first time that Dentsu Aegis Network has come forward to build a talent pool. In July 2016, The Northpoint Centre of Learning and Dentsu Aegis Network came together to announce a fast-track six-month post graduate career program in OOH Advertising (The PGP-OOHA), designed to provide a thorough working knowledge of out-of-home advertising and communications including retail, rural and experiential and how they are all inter-related.
WATConsult, as we know, coils itself under the aegis of Dentsu. However, unknown to many industry insiders, the two companies had been in acquisition talks for two years before signing papers. This long engagement gave both parties a clear understanding of changes that were headed their way, and helped them adapt and evolve well before the acquisition officially took place. Dingra added, "I must give all the credit to Ashish Bhasin for being a leader who ensured that while the protocols of a network are followed, the essence of entrepreneurship in an acquired agency is not lost. Dentsu had worked with us to cultivate WATConsult's own subculture and uniqueness and help it grow as opposed to snuffing it out."
It was this very equation that allowed WYBI to thrive. The event received an overwhelming response of 160 entries with more than 350 students participating across colleges. Participants came from leading educational institutes of India like MICA, SIMC, Amity University, XIC, IIMB, IIM (Indore), SP Jain, Jamnalal Bajaj NMIMS, MET and Jai Hind out of which 28 student teams battled it out with their presentations in front of the spearheads of heavyweight brands such as Jack and Jones, Radio Mirchi, Warner Bros., LYF Smartphone, HUL and L&T Mutual Fund.
Each brand associated with the competition shared a brief with the students pertaining to their target audience and the participating teams were tasked with choosing a brand of their choice from the mix and putting forth their presentations in tandem with the required brief.
While the event was underway, the air was suffused with ideas, raucousness, excitement and tension. Beside Bhasin and Dingra, the jury line-up boasted of industry veterans such as, Vineet Gautam (CEO and country head, Bestseller India), Kailash Kulkarni (CEO L&T investment management limited), Vishal Sampat (chief digital officer, Reliance Jio), Rahul Balyan (EVP head, digital initiatives, Radio Mirchi), Harsh Suba (senior brand manager-HUL) and Rohit Bhandari (sr. director and network head of English entertainment, Turner International, India).
The winning trophy and a congratulatory sum of one lakh was awarded to 'Team Tossed Salad' of MICA whose members, Akashdeep Sachdev, Angira Lahiri and Kushagra Gupta incredibly created and conceptualised their Jack and Jones project over Skype. They were followed by The Inexorables from Delhi School of Communications who chose Radio Mirchi as their preferred brand to execute their project on. Finally, in third place came 'The New Normal' of JBIMS who picked Pepsodent as a brand to base their presentation on.
Wrapping up the event, Dingra said, "I would like to congratulate all the winning teams. It was great to see young talent present in front of a well-known jury. We received a tremendous response from all the colleges in our first edition and look forward to scale the next edition to greater heights.”