Agnello Dias aka Aggie, CCO, TapRoot India, says, "TV is instant mass popularity. People outside the fraternity would also have seen your commercial." A possible explanation is that each country has its favourite medium and India, with its oral culture and penchant for theatre - and now films - goes with TV. For example, at a point of time, the London Tube was famous for its underground posters. The most prestigious job for a copywriter then was to write a long-copy ad for these huge posters spread across the walls. So, if TV is the Indian creative's favourite medium, is the number of scripts in the portfolio of the applicant a popular way of weighing fresh talent? Most creative directors interviewed were of the view that there were several aspects to the question. For a junior copywriter, command over the language and ability to understand a medium is considered. However, when it comes to senior people, a healthy number of scripts with a sprinkling of awards helps. The second aspect lies in the brand or client requirement. Besides, it has to do with the nature of the client: for a TV-centric brand, scripts would be the order of the day, but for a client such as The Times of India (TOI), which focuses on print-led advertising, the requirement is different. On the flip side, creative folk have always favoured print and poster – and now new media – when it comes to winning awards because it doesn't cost much to create an ad and it is relatively easy to execute. Later, some of these award winning cream of the creative layer are pitched to clients to chalk out TV-led campaigns for their brands, even if the commercials are basic. It's a syndrome described as I-want-Picasso-to-paint-my-wall-white. Behind the smokescreen There was a time when advertising moved just that bit ahead of the consumer. Have creative professionals been left behind in their obsession with TV, even as the consumer is opening up to other media and other forms of communication? In contrast, the West has taken notice of the changing consumer and tweaked content and the medium. Today, the definition of a film in the Cannes Lions isn't restricted to an audio visual aired on TV, but has embraced films played on digital or interactive media. A recent example is the Philips Carousel campaign that swept the Film jury off its feet. Is Indian creative open to other possibilities at all? The answer may depend on how the agency's bread is buttered. Aniruddha Banerjee, president and chief operating officer, Publicis Ambience, says, "For a fee-based client, the agency would behave in a media-neutral manner and wouldn't think twice before suggesting radical ideas in digital or mobile. However, for a commission-based client, the agency is bound to be drawn towards TV." If only clients would pay for an idea, wouldn't that be ideal, wonders Banerjee. The shift to non-traditional media would also depend on how well the current lot of creative executives are trained. The lack of understanding exists on the agencies' as well as the clients' side. The irony is that the typical creative person in his 20s is extremely comfortable with online and mobile but can't seem to use this knowledge when it comes to creating advertising. Ravi Deshpande, chairperson and CCO, Contract Advertising, says, "The mechanics of understanding how a banner will unfold, how the flash content will behave, how the consumer would be led to a microsite and what he will do there, is a bit complex. So, people are taking the easy way out through TV." Another commonly accepted fact in the industry is that the big idea once cracked and executed through TV and print by the traditional mainline agency, is later tossed out and passed on to agencies in other media, leading to mere adaptations and reminder messages. This way, neither the idea nor the other media options are getting a fair chance. Ogilvy India, for instance, recognises this and is trying to physically integrate its other divisions under the same roof for greater integration. Other agencies, too, have taken similar steps. Banerjee of Publicis Ambience thinks that the answer lies in integrating the process first and not just housing everybody together. "Right at the idea or the creation stage, people from all media need to sit together and brainstorm, so that later when the big idea is born, it gets owned and believed by everybody alike," he adds. The solution for a brand first lies in the idea and not just a 30-seconder. Deshpande equates the partnership between people representing different media with the partnership between the copywriter and the ad film director while they work on a commercial. They collaborate intensely, although they don't even belong to the same organisation. The fragmentation of audiences even within TV, the number of channels continues to explode will force creative agencies to improve their expertise in other media. As Gowthaman adds, "The effectiveness of the individual medium is declining and today, I need multiple media to garner my reach." There is no doubt which way the world is moving and the creative folk will have to move that way. But for a few years more, it looks like they will have TV on their minds.