The most impactful ad copy today is contextual: Rajdeepak Das

Karuna Sharma
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Rajdeepak Das Leo Burnett

Rajdeepak Das speaks to Social Samosa about the idea ownership debate, the power of contextual advertising, the future of the industry, and more.

This year, many powerful agencies have come together to combine their strengths to cater to their clients’ needs. Rajdeepak Das, Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett, is now hopeful that in the coming year, the advertising industry will get to witness the ‘power of one,’ where data, technology, and commerce finally come together to create powerful stories. In this new combined world, Das says that contextual advertising will be the need of the hour. 

Edited excerpts: 

After two years of lull, the advertising industry is reviving this year. We have seen some beautiful campaigns. What is it that the pandemic taught you? Something that changed your outlook towards advertising and campaigns.

Empathy. Post-pandemic, we are seeing that society is changing at a rapid pace; this pace being that the definition of a decade has become a year. So as creatives, it is really important to keep your work contextual and relevant. This could mean creating platforms for people to interact, services, utilities, branded content, and meaningful partnerships to help your brand connect with people in a real way.

I believe in work that creates a positive impact while driving business outcomes because, in a country like India, brands can make a positive impact on billions of lives.

What are some of the challenges that the advertising industry and creative heads are facing this year?

We are seeing a lot of new economy brands, in a few categories that have hit a bump and are not brave enough to take any creative risks. As an industry we are as creative and as bold as our clients – so this trend will also impact our industry as well.

Another debate that has been going on for decades -- who owns the idea - the client or agency. It was recently sparked by another creative agency. What is your opinion?

No one owns an idea. But an idea is only as good as how well it's executed and at what scale.

In this case both – the client and agency have to come together to give the idea its purpose. This is where our expertise as creatives comes in. But of course, as an industry we thrive on our ideas, and plagiarising is never okay and not giving credit where it’s due is unfair.   

As advertising continues to evolve, what do you think makes an impactful ad copy today?

Today the most impactful ad copy is when it is contextual. In today’s world where people are constantly bombarded with images, messages, and news, how relevant and contextual your ad copy is will decide its impact on your audience.

Another talking point this year has been the metaverse and NFTs. Is LB planning to exploit emerging formats?

Of course. We work very closely with different platforms partnering with them to create work that is innovative for the said platform. Of course, a lot of people love NFTs and the metaverse, but we strongly believe don’t do it because it exists, only do it when it is relevant to your brand and your consumers and is a part of your idea.

Also Read: There is merit in brand & agency co-owning the idea: Mukund Olety

What have been some of your focus areas in your new role at LB? Anything else that we expect this year?

Hopefully, in the next year, you will see the Power of One work its magic when data, technology, and commerce will come together to create powerful stories.

What are your expectations from this year's Sammie entries?

SAMMIEs has always been a platform for the best-in-class digital work to get its fair share of the limelight. In the past year, we have seen some tremendous changes in this space and I am looking forward to seeing work that is creative, purposeful, and at the same time driving business outcomes for the brand.

Can you share what is the winning formula that participants can take note of?

In my opinion, work that makes a real impact will always stand out. Work that demonstrates the possibilities of creativity and the role that brands and agencies can play in the world, is very inspiring to see. The other thing is collaboration – when we see innovative use of technology or unlikely collaborations.

future of advertising Advertising industry Leo Burnett Rajdeepak Das advertising 2023 idea ownership