AG Talk| Cannes will expose me to a plethora of great works: Sanjay Mehta

Sanjay Mehta, Co-founder & Jt. CEO of Social Wavelength has been in the Digital domain for nearly 17 years. He was one of the few industry players who understood the importance of digital in the early phase and tailor made his projects around it. He has been part of a few digital startups before starting his own venture, Social Wavelength (social media agency). 

Social wavelength deals with social media marketing, media buying, online reputation management etc. Social Wavelength is one of the few popular social media agencies which is a part of the WPP group now.

Adgully caught up exclusively with Sanjay Mehta, Founder & CEO, Social Wavelength, he spoke at length on his being at Cannes for the first time, the work that he has seen and the importance of mobile in a marketer’s media plan amongst others. Edited excerpts:

Adgully (AG): This is your first time as a jury member at Cannes. What are your expectations?

Sanjay Mehta (SM): I am looking forward to the overall experience of being at Cannes. Since I will be a part of the mobile jury hence I will be exposed to the plethora of great works from clients and agencies all over the world specifically done in the mobile field. This will be a great opportunity to interact with other jury members from different parts of the world.

AG: Is there anyone in particular that you are looking forward to meet at Cannes?

SM:  Cannes provides an opportunity to interact with some of the best creative thinkers from in and around the world and I am looking forward to the opportunity of catching up with them. It will give a good platform to get a global viewpoint on digital, mobile and technological changes happening around the world.

AG: What kinds of work have you seen in the entries so far? Do you think that the decision to select the best is going to be easy?

SM: The decision to select the best is genuinely going to be tough. But I have personally seen almost 400 entries so far. In the 400 entries at least 200 to 300 are the kind that left me completely awestruck by their outstanding implementation of ideas in the mobile space. In some sense we are really behind when it comes to some of the work that we get to see in the mobile field in India.

AG: Can you give us some of the highlights of the entries so far?

SM: Since I am part of the mobile jury, in the mobile world its technology and hence innovation is the base of it. Most of the work I have seen has utilised mobile in a very basic way however there are some entries which have amazed me by the way they have used technology in a more deeper way.

Some of the innovative approaches of using mobile is Proximity sensing and augmented reality, e.g. in Proximity sensing if one is walking in a mall there are various sensors at different points which will  sense you to be at a particular location in the mall thus sending you specific messages leading to engagement. The context of the message could be either sale, discount or any form of interactivity. A lot of work is happening around Proximity sensing.

.Some of the concepts were very interesting like a Sunscreen brand in Australia has found a solution to people reapplying the sunscreen lotion. The created a microchip embedded to the cap of the bottle. An app on the phone of the user is synced with the chip and cap senses the sun, app sends a reminder, time to apply the sunblock again.

While Ice Bucket Challenge is the most popular work in this category, a number of CSR work has also been done using mobile. A lot of time there is creation of virtual product, it’s not just an advertisement but there is a product created around the mobile which has altogether a different take on a mobile world. So it’s a wide range of exciting work which I have seen.

AG: How has been the performance of Asian market in these entries?

SM: China, Japan and Korea have done some impressive work in this field. Both marketers and agencies in Japan have a very mobile centric approach thus there is lot of mobile related work from that market. Automobile and a few other sectors have fuelled the growth of mobile as a medium in Japan. Other than the Asian market Australia has a very large presence in the entries.

AG: How has been the performance of India in the entries?

SM:  There are a few entries from the Indian shores this year however I am hope full in the years to come it will be better. India as a market has not used mobile to its optimum, making me conclude that Indian marketers are not doing enough. There is a number of opportunities and growth in the mobile field if one could move beyond the missed call system of mobile advertising.

AG: What kind of growth have you witnessed in context to technology and its impact on the industry?

SM: As i said I have not seen much innovative work from the Indian Market. It tells us that a lot of work needs to be done in using technology to its optimum. We need more and more marketers who are ready to take the risk and create something out of the box. So I feel it opens an opportunity in the Indian market.

AG: Which are the markets that are using mobile optimally for its growth?

SM:  Brazil and Spain are doing some good work, other than the Asian countries like Korea, Japan and China. From the entries that I have seen other than the above market mentioned Italy and US have also done some impressive work.. So I do feel that India is kind of lagging behind when it comes to that.

AG: What kind of prospect do you see for creating ads for mobile? Has it become the need of the hour?

SM: It’s not just about creating ads for the mobile; it’s about using mobile in an engaging way more of an interactive manner. This is where the opportunity lies because finally it’s a device which everybody has all the time and this is a platform where one can get maximum engagement as the medium is being carried by the individuals as against other forms of media. The platform is with the consumer all the time so that gives an opportunity for engaging them at the maximum.  

AG: Do you think that mobile will replace every other screen in the coming five years?

SM: I don’t think there is any question of replacement at this point. Every time something new happens people talk about replacement but everything continues. If you look at it you still have print, television and Outdoor. But in terms of engagement since it’s a device being carried every time, presenting a phenomenal opportunity for brands everywhere to use the platform for maximum engagement with the consumer. So I do believe that brands will invest significantly more in Mobile advertising in the coming years.

AG: What kind of growth have you witnessed in the Social Media space?

SM: It’s growing in many folds because of innovation and development that is taking place. There has also been a growth in investment from Brands in recent time leading to growth in the sector.

AG: What do you have to say about the young talents in the agency? Do you think that their energy is being channelized in the right direction?

SM: I am very sure of what is required for a creative field is talent and we have that in abundance in India. It’s not that we don’t have creative talent in India; young people are especially amazing in terms of experiment and are ready to take risk. The need of the hour is seniors in the industry who will empower the youngsters to dream bigger.



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