Innocean Worldwide – An Interview with Saurabh Das Gupta

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Agency: Innocean Worldwide
Name: Saurabh Das Gupta
Designation: NCD

From Santro Xing to Creta, how has the digital landscape changed during your journey at Innocean?

Way back in 2005 when I took over the duties for Brand Hyundai, Santro Xing was the most popular. There wasn’t much of a digital landscape that time. But interestingly, things were happening in the social space. Not the way we refer to the term these days though. We found out that there existed a unique kinship between Santro owners. A Santro owner acknowledged every other Santro owner as a smart, sensible, prudent kind of a person just like himself. And together they were like a cult of sorts.

Fan acquisition, engagement, kinship and the birth of a ‘gotta belong to’ clique that everyone wanted to be a part of, where the entry ticket was the ownership of the brand. The campaign ‘Santrowale’ was social media of 2005.

Today things are different. Music being one of the top category engagement drivers for premium hatchbacks, the campaign ‘ Drive mein Junoon’ done for the Elite I20 featuring Arijit Singh and Clinton Cerejo was a fun video that got a whopping 11 million views on YT and was among the top 10 most shared ads in 2016.

What according to you drives the Indian Consumer?

Every 100 miles you will find a different India. It is very difficult to typecast and find the average Indian consumer. But if I were to roughly find a psychographic mean, I would say ‘value’ drives the Indian consumer. India or a vast majority of its population is still struggling with economic issues such as uneven distribution of wealth and opportunities. So ‘more’ is what everyone wants. But there are pockets of affluence where the buying behaviour is very different. Motivations change with Socio-economic classifications.

3 digital trends you foresee

  1. I foresee AI playing a much bigger role as intelligent street salesmen in the alleys of the internet.
  2. Too many platforms with too much content will lead to a serious need for infallible influencers.
  3. Brands and their eco-systems will have to take matters of digital security very seriously.

Is it a long drive ahead for the Indian Digital industry to catch up with the global counterparts?

We are damn good with ideas but it’s our execution that needs much more investments in terms of money, effort and most importantly time. So whether the drive is short or long will depend on how much agencies and clients are willing to invest. Will everything be performance driven, short term, ROI centric or are we willing to build long term enduring properties in the digital space.

What is your sense on main line driven ad agencies/clients in India, how poised are we to take on the digital wave.

I know print and TV still command respect in the minds of traditional media planners. They will always have some numbers to prove their efficacy. My logic is simple. Whats the point of setting up a shop in the middle of the Sahara desert? We have to be where our consumers are. How much time do we spend on our phones versus flipping pages of the leading daily? We have to be honest with ourselves.

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