#SS40Under40: Creative Commerce brings the element of conversion to brand experiences – Arpan Jain

Arpan Jain

Arpan Jain, VMLY&R Commerce shares his perspective on the A&M industry, speaks about marketing trends seen, and gives advice to the up-and-coming professionals

Arpan Jain, ECD – VMLY&R Commerce and a winner of of Social Samosa 40 Under 40, 2022, talks about top marketing trends, how the pandemic has impacted work-life balance, and more in this chat with Social Samosa.

3 ground rules/principles that have helped you excel in your career

  • An idea doesn’t have any value until it’s executed: Throughout my career, right from my first Black Elephant at Kyoorius to my first Cannes, I’ve always done whatever it takes to bridge the gap between ideas and reality. You have to be hands-on to ensure that your creative vision comes to life in the best way possible. 
  • Stay true to the idea: Every idea should be a solution to a client’s problem. If you work truthfully to solve a problem, awards will follow. 
  • Power your people: A true leader rises by lifting others. I’ve always gone beyond face value to unearth the true potential of my team members. When your team knows that you’re constantly there to support them, they’re inspired to become the best version of themselves.

One takeaway from the pandemic & the whole WFH situation

I have always encouraged people to work from wherever they can deliver their best. I recall how different stakeholders would react and raise a red flag when I would allow a team member to work from home. But today, most of us are working from home. You don’t need a pandemic to teach you better ways of working or influence a better work culture.

What are your views on work-life balance? How do you achieve it in your daily life?

Jeff Bezos once said, “If I am happy at home, I come into the office with tremendous energy. And if I am happy at work, I come home with tremendous energy. It actually is a circle; it’s not a balance.” His words really resonated with me because I also believe that it’s more about ‘work-life harmony’ than ‘work-life balance’.

One moment that changed your career…and how?

Awards prove that you are doing the best work for your client. Sometimes, better than your competition. I realized this only in 2015 when Andee, my mentor, initiated me into the world of awards. He told me that it’s important to see how your work fares in comparison to other creative masterstrokes in the industry. My first win was in 2015 and here we are in 2022, where I’ve won close to 150 awards for esteemed clients including Unilever, Google, Meta, Pepsi, Audi, Nerolac, Zydus Wellness, Hotstar, and Star TV.

Top advertising & marketing trends that you have come across in the last year – these can be takeaways from your daily work-life experience

You would have noticed the shift to Creative Commerce at Cannes. A few months ago, we reached out to the festival’s organizers with a proposal to reimagine the creative e-commerce category and they heard us. Actually, the thing is when we say e-commerce, people’s minds immediately go to those product pages on websites. This shift will broaden the horizons of creativity for business and talent for years to come.

Creative Commerce brings the element of conversion to brand experiences, making sure we give customers the option to buy online or in the physical space. People can draw inspiration from Smart Fill, our Cannes-winning work for Hindustan Unilever. It has a purpose at the heart of the consumer experience and actually has the power to bring about change in ways that are transformative for the business.

Another trend we’re seeing is that the IPL has become India’s Super Bowl. Advertisers wait the whole year just to score big during the cricket frenzy with contextual work. People compile and discuss the best ads of the season. 

It’s all about making advertisements as entertaining as possible. From using cricketers to catchy jingles, to star power, to 90’s nostalgia, to humour and Bollywood tropes, brands are deploying every tactic in the book. Brands think that if an ad becomes a part of the discussion in this nail-biting chase, then it has done its job.

Today’s shopper seeks convenience with every action. The commerce canvas is constantly expanding, and technology has made it possible for consumers to make purchases from anywhere and everywhere. They’re interacting with brands while walking, travelling, watching movies, and even while napping! The agencies and brands that manage to make this commerce moment engaging, entertaining, or purpose-driven will emerge as winners.

Also Read: #SS40Under40: Influencers for their profession should be called brand endorsers says Richa Tandon

One thing that you would like to change in the Indian A&M industry.

I strongly feel that creatives shouldn’t be forced to think inside the box by being labelled as ATL/BTL/Digital creatives. I believe that great ideas and great work can come from anyone, regardless of the field they’re most familiar with. 

Any jargons that you think needs to be banned from the A&M lingo?

We’re in the business of communication, so it’s very important for us to keep it simple. 

One message for aspiring A&M professionals.

My advice to the youth is that when you are crafting ideas, be like a yogi. Ignore all negativity and distractions of the outside world and focus on quality-driven hard work. Fate will align itself to fulfil your dreams.


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