Bhavik Gajjar is a top rated creative with TAXI! Toronto.
Tell us about Cannes winning McDonald’s ad?
How did that change you life?
The ad took me to Cannes, Cannes took me to Brazil, I almost drowned in Brazil so it almost took my life. Kidding…not really! it did change life in a good way. It confirmed why I didn’t get into my dad’s business and got into advertising instead. But like they say, you’re only good till your last good ad which is true because I think these awards are really only suppose to motivate you to beat your last award winning idea.
The McDonald’s ad campaign came out of a simple question in my head. If we have B/W and colour ads on the same page in newspaper, why is it that the copy/editorial is always in black?
You work in Taxi that people call a sweat shop. Butmost agencies in India work the same. What’s yourtake?
I wouldn’t call TAXI a sweat shop, it’s just not a 9 to 5’er. There are days when I do see the sunset. We always try and push ourselves, sometimes that means not stopping till you’ve hit a home run. My take is it doesn’t matter how much time you put at work, at the end of the day(no pun intended) it’s the result that really counts. Late nights and crazy hours won’t make a bad idea good and vice-versa. And speaking from a creative’s POV, the reason we’re in this business are for those brilliant ideas.
How is Canadian Advertising different from desi?
Desi advertising I find is very big on celebrity endorsements these days. Also, we capture emotions in 60 sec well. I feel the rich culture and tradition we tap into from time to time(in a good way) stands us apart. The recent Eye Bank ‘Holi’ spot is a great example of that.
Canadian Advertising is more towards the humor side. There’s little to none celebrity endorsing a brand/product. There’s adaptation from the US market as well. When there’s any national print/TV campaign it runs in both English and French (most states in Canada are English speaking with the exception of one). So when we come up with ideas we keep in mind that it’s got to make sense in both languages, we also shoot spots twice with 2 different talents.
Were there any particular role models for you when yougrew up?
My Dad. The biggest thing I learnt from him is hard work, and never give up attitude. I learnt from him how you can find your way back on top if you ever hit a low. He’s always been and will be my greatest inspiration.ps: Dad, am I in your will now?
What do you think of the current state of PrintAdvertising versus TV in India?
Most of my encounters with Indian advertising is what I see at the award shows. My general feeling is we have some great stuff coming out in print and outdoor. Good TV spots are surfacing which is very promising, feel we need a lot more of that.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
From everyday people and things around me. I observe friends/ strangers, what they do, say, way they react to particular things. Their personality. I’m a strong believer that ideas come out of everyday events around us hence I feel it’s so important for creative people to get out of the office, have a life, interact with people other than just advertising peeps and absorb interesting nuggets from anywhere that may be a funny spot someday.
Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, dowell in the market?
Yes. Adidas, Guinness, Apple do great advertising and are doing well. But what compliments great advertising is also smart strategy, media buy(communicating the right message to the right people) and of course a good product.
What are your views on Scam Advertising?
I feel a more acceptable way to do ‘scam’ advertising is try and come up with a great idea for any of your existing clients, rather than coming up with an award winning idea and then looking for a client. At least in the 1st scenario its win-win for both you and your client.
Your agency already has a relationship with a client, the odds of getting it produced are better. Clients will appreciate and respect your ‘over and beyond the call of duty’ effort for their brand.
I feel an idea for a tattoo shop or a safety pin(I did that in my puberty days and it still haunts me) is short term glory but to grow in the business and feel more creatively satisfied, one needs to be able to create big brands and campaigns. We still remember the Onida ‘Devil’ and look at the ‘Amul’ billboards still going strong.
Do you think india needs a hot shop like Taxi, Zig, Rethink?
…and Crispin….and Droga5….absolutely. We lack more shops that are rebellious and willing to explore new grounds. A shop with strong creative ethics, that isn’t afraid to challenge clients when it comes to backing the integrity of a great idea.
Ogilvy mumbai or taxi toronto, who is hotter?
Ogilvy Mumbai. It’s 34 degrees celcius back home. Toronto is -12 right now.
We hardly get to see Illustration based Art Direction.What do you think is the reason? Is it that we don’t have any inspiring illustrators or is it the Client? I think we creative are to be blamed for it. The ease of all these softwares+stock sites at our disposal is eliminating the use of unique illustration based campaigns. I wouldn’t blame the client as they come to us for our expertise and if we don’t expose them to all these great illustrators out there how will they ever know.
Who would you want to spend a dinner with?
APJ Abdul KalamAdvice for desi students and creatives who want towork in canada…
I’d say if you want to work in Canada/US, look at what’s happening in those markets at that time. Check the websites/work of agencies you wouldn’t mind working with. Try to know the people there, email them, don’t be afraid to ask questions, get feedback on your work, implement(only if you agree with those suggestions), communicate well and don’t give up if you only hear from people once. These guys are super busy and reply to many people everyday. Like dad says “don’t give up”.
The most important thing is revisit your portfolio and make sure you have some global/simple/universal ideas. If you have to explain a particular idea because it’s brilliant and makes a lot of sense back home and in that market,avoid keeping it in you book, you won’t get the reaction you’re looking for.
Stay away from one offs, it’s OK to have a few but make sure there are some good campaigns in there as well. Integrated campaign is a good way to demonstrate you can think beyond traditional media. 12-15 great pieces/pages in your book are fine. If you have less than that, it’s OK. Go for quality not quantity.
What’s on your iPod?‘Taare Zameen Par’. Prasoon, you sir are something else.
Mac or PC? Mac till the end.
Bhavik Gajjar is a top rated creative with TAXI! Toronto.