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Technology Shouldn’t Be Used By Media Agencies As ‘Shiny Toy’ But Only When Clients Need It: Navin Khemka

In his interaction with Marketing Mind, Navin Khemka, CEO- South Asia, EssenceMediacom, clarified that ‘technology’ is just a buzzword and not a game changer for media agencies to win at awards and hence his suggestion to media agencies is that one should use it as a can-do rather than a must-do as neither are all brands ready for it nor do all brands require it.

| Published on June 27, 2024

Technology Shouldn’t Be Used By Media Agencies As ‘Shiny Toy’ But Only When Clients Need It: Navin Khemka

Known for its mergers and acquisitions on both media and digital+creative front, if there’s one holding company that has been making headlines for the past few years- it’s none other than WPP.

Be it the merger of Essence and Mediacom to form EssenceMediacom or the coming together of Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R to make VML, WPP has surely reflected that consolidation is one of the major priorities for the holding company and its definitely not a result of short-sightedness.

That being said, while these mergers did start with some sort of a negative furore in the A&M industry, it was with the coming of time that both the newly rechristened agencies not only won businesses but were also celebrated at major award shows in the country and beyond.

Speaking to Marketing Mind, Navin Khemka, CEO- South Asia, EssenceMediacom, stated that while the media agency had shone bright at the ABBY Awards last year by being named Media Specialist Agency Of The Year 2023 and unfortunately missed the mark this year, he is ‘happy’ with the agency’s performance so far.

“Last year, the high was a different one altogether because we had won the title of Media Agency Of The Year 2023 and Grand Prix at the Abbys just after the merger of Essence and Mediacom. Having said that, this year has been a little different for us since some of our clients who have won at award shows and some of our work especially on Google and TCC which won big across award shows surprisingly didn’t win at the recently culminated awards gala- The Abbys 2024. And while I’m happy with our performance, I feel that this is something that we need to decipher internally,” he said.

As for one of the other award shows that culminated recently- Cannes Lions 2024, it is believed that the agency hadn’t sent any entry this year.

Commenting on whether ‘technology’ has become one of the major influencing factors for award shows across the globe today, he emphasised that such is not the case for he strongly believes that ‘technology’ is just a buzzword in the current time frame and not the sole game changer.

“It is essential to understand that technology is a can-do and not a must-do for campaigns as it all depends not just on the brand but also the maturity and journey on which various brands are today. That being said, we obviously are offering technology as a service to our clients but I strongly believe that neither are all brands ready for it nor do all brands require it,” he suggested.

With this, he also mentioned that media agencies need to stop using ‘technology’ as a shiny toy and do anything with it in the name of doing something but use it only when the need arises.

At the end of the day, in Khemka’s viewpoint, what media agencies need to do for clients is make a difference to their brand and marketing objectives and overall business.

Moving slightly away from the winnability at awards conversation to the business of media, he stated that unlike the current build up for ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 which has been comparatively slow, he is hopeful that the momentum will soon pick up for the tournament and that it will be ‘really fast’ from an advertising standpoint.

“It’s always a great event when India plays and there is a different high altogether when India plays against Australia, England, Pakistan, South Africa, etc. and since most of the key matches have been slated to happen during India’s Prime Time, the viewership is going to be obviously very good. Hence, from a viewership point of view, I have no doubt that the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 will surpass all previous viewerships,” he said.

Giving a sneak peak into advertiser’s interest for the impact property, Khemka also mentioned that since the World Cup is falling just after the IPL which has already sucked in large amounts of advertisers’ money, there still remains a question mark from a timing point of view.

“Currently the build up is a bit slow but I think it will pick up for sure and the momentum pickup will be sudden and really fast,” he stated.

Concludingly, he also clarified that since the benchmarks on the T20 World Cup are set in place already as advertisers and agencies are well aware of the viewership, nobody will be able to charge a premium and therefore stick with the right benchmark price.

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