Children’s Day: MediaCom’s Navin Khemka walks down memory lane

Yeh daulat bhi le lo

Yeh shauhrat bhi le lo

Bhale cheen lo, mujhse meri jawaani

Magar mujhko lauta do bachpan ka saawan

Woh kaaghaz ki kashti, woh baarish ka paani...

 As Children’s Day approaches, Adgully partners with Discovery Kids to bring you our section #TheInnerChild where industry leaders share their fondest childhood memories.Discover the formative experiences that led to them being who they are today.

Poignant words that portray a longing for one’s childhood days. In the lead up to Children’s Day this year, Adgully speaks to some well-known names in the M&E industry to relive their childhood days and share the experiences that have shaped them.

Featured first is Navin Khemka, CEO, MediaCom South Asia. Khemka has over two decades of experience across various categories and brands as well as a nuanced expertise in media strategy, planning and buying. He joined MediaCom South Asia as CEO in July 2018.

Khemka started his professional career with DDB Mudra, where he played a key role in successfully launching brands like McDonalds, Samsung and Mitsubishi Lancer in India. At Mindshare and Carat, Khemka engaged with brands like PepsiCo, Airtel and Hero Honda. As someone, who believes in surprising his clients and striking the right partnerships, Khemka played a key role in signing up prestigious clients like Samsung and Hyundai during his two-year stint at Cheil Communications. He was also responsible for setting up its media department.

At ZenithOptimedia, Khemka handled various brands over 9 years that included Nestle, HP, Reckitt Benckiser, Honda, Toshiba, Uninor, McVities, Karbonn Mobiles, HTC, Panasonic, Godfrey Philips, Olx.in, Jabong.com and Yatra.com. His work for HP on Serena Williams & Fashion Week won the bronze in both the ZO Global ROI Awards. The KBC Compaq Case was shortlisted at Cannes Media awards. During his tenure, ZenithOptimedia was RECMA A+ agency in India 3 years in a row on new business performance. Khemka believes it is important to think like an entrepreneur and not as a manager to help the business grow.

During his recent stint at Wavemaker, Khemka was the team leader for its North & East regions. He also spearheaded the agency’s new business efforts for clients like Olx, Shopclues, Nokia, Amway, Fabindia, Mccain, Jabong.com, Droom.com and Mother Dairy, apart from retaining existing clients like Pernod Ricard, AkzoNobel, Policybazaar.com and PVML. Besides these businesses, he also worked on Hero Moto Corp, Haier, RSPL, GoDaddy, Benetton, Paytm, Sofy, SBI Cards.

Khemka led the Paytm-BCCI deal for all cricket in India for 4 years in 2015, the first by an Indian agency. This was followed by the Paytm IPL Umpire 5-year deal again with the BCCI in 2018.

A skilful problem solver and a people manager, capable of handling both creative and business fronts, Khemka brings his balanced perspective and invaluable knowledge to the company.

A childhood memory which is unforgettable?

My first holiday in Puri, when I caught the glimpse of the Bay of Bengal for the first time. It was a magical moment to see the sea, sand and blue sky!

A childhood lesson you learnt that still motivates you?

Discipline is critical for success. Have seen it in my school and also at home. I firmly believe that only if we are disciplined can we be focused in our tasks – personal or official.

A hobby that you still have?

I used to collect stamps and first day covers. Since we do not receive any physical letters nowadays, I keep adding to this collection when I visit a new country and go to the Philatelic Bureau.

A person you looked up to or a mentor who shaped you as a person?

I would not name a person. I was lucky to have a great set of teachers who did this for me.

As a child, the one thing you and your friends used to do that children today no longer do?

We used to spend a lot of time playing games and also just having an ‘adda’ session. There were no mobile phones and we were never distracted.

What were the shows that you watched on television as a kid?

As a kid I would love watching the ‘Knight Rider’ (Bangladesh TV) and I loved ‘Lucy’.

When it comes to kids’ content, what do you think is the role of the broadcaster?

Content that will shape the kids’ future – intriguing, safe and encourage them for a lot of outdoor activity.

How do you see the evolution of kids’ content in India?

A great deal of investment is going into this space. Earlier, most of this content was dubbed/ imported. Now, broadcasters are investing in local content that is well researched.

What are the 3 things from your childhood that you feel should return?

Simplicity, carefree days and a childhood full of experiences.

How do you see children of today impacting buying decisions of the family?

On products that they will consume, children are decision makers! On others, they are influencers.

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