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Ashish Bhasin, CEO - APAC and Chairman India, Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific, commemorates how important this advent...
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DAN’s Ashish Bhasin reflects on the decade that went by and how digitalisation shaped the advertising industry

Ashish Bhasin, CEO - APAC and Chairman India, Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific, commemorates how important this advent...
  • We bring to you a series of columns from industry experts, looking back at the last 10 years. The columns will explore how the media, marketing and advertising industry has transformed in the last decade.
  • Last decade was full of ups and downs for the advertising industry. While a lot of things have changed, one thing has remained constant -- digital taking precedence in every aspect of the industry.
  • Ashish Bhasin, CEO - APAC and Chairman India, Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific, commemorates how important this advent of digital media was for the advertising world, advertisements that stood out in the clutter, things that industry should have done differently, and trends to look forward to in 2020.

The biggest, most noticeable trend in the last 10 years has been the advent of mobile along with digital and its impact, not just on advertising but overall on India's economic and social behavior. And if I had to pick one single biggest change in the last 10 years, it would be in the area of mobile and digital. It has spawned a completely new set of skills, a new set of requirements, a new pace, and that has happened in a young country where our average age is sub 27 years.

Digital adaptability has really amazed us, particularly because the data prices fell, accessibility to smartphones became easier as they became cheaper. So, there's been a digital revolution in the last 10 years and not just advertising but consumer behavior has changed too.

A lot of shopping is now done through e-commerce; if you're booking your movie tickets you will book digitally, banking has moved to digital too. Digital and mobile have permeated the day-to-day lives and behaviour of the consumer.

However, in the bargain, the consumer today is also leaving a huge digital footprint in the form of data and therefore, the ability to handle data and data analytics has gained tremendous prominence. So, if I had to pick one area of change, I think I would pick this.

One ad that stood out in the decade:
'Har ek friend zaroori hota hai' by Airtel was an ad that stood out for me because it encapsulated the best of both worlds. In some ways, it was representative of the digital era which is about mobile and telecommunication. And yet, at the same time, it held the value of social connection, friendship and touching human emotion.

While everything else around us has changed, including advertising, the one thing which has not changed and hopefully will not change at least in my working life, is human emotions. We still laugh. We still cry. We still find something funny and something else sad and that ad captured both the progress of India and the human emotions very well.

One thing that the Industry should have done differently:
We should have paid a lot more attention on developing talent. Everybody did lip-service to it but most of our focus was to poach from one agency to the another. However, we did not invest enough on creating high quality talent and pivoting old talent to new skills.

Trend to look forward to in 2020
Voice and performance will gain much more prominence than they did so far in the industry. With the emergence of OTT and data rates going down, there is a natural preference towards digitisation amongst younger audience. Equally, voice is so intuitive, it will be naturally driven more and more on a daily basis -- whether you are driving or use some voice assistant on your phone, which will be simplified with time. On the other hand, clients are also under-pressure to deliver results every quarter, hence, they will be far more interested in performance rather than just pure brand-building.

- By Ashish Bhasin, CEO - APAC and Chairman India, Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific

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