Why Indian Creatives Bring Great Ideas to Global Brands

Prasoon Joshi: An 'Alien Eye' Can Transform the Ordinary

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Lenovo recently announced plans to source its global advertising from India. Ad Age asked one of India's leading creative directors if other multinational marketers are likely to follow Lenovo's example.

The spotlight on India is moving from an outsourcing model to one of originating. And examples of creative work are on the rise. But there are two opposing viewpoints. One is that inherent understanding of local culture is critical, and work from another market will not hold.
Prasson Joshi
Prasson Joshi is executive chairman-regional creative director, South and Southeast Asia, at McCann Erickson, Mumbai, India.

The other is that a new and innovative advertising approach is required. I call the concept "alien eye." It's no secret that our world slips onto autopilot. Local sights and sounds blur, and native customs and wisdom become just acts and words. The familiar becomes a blind spot. But when viewed from a stranger's eye, this acquires a new hue. The ordinary seen in a different light is incredible and inspiring.

This alien eye can come from any part of the world, but India has an edge over other countries thanks to cost effectiveness, an English-speaking work force and exposure to Western culture. In addition, as a civilization based on introspection and creativity -- be it in arts, science, mathematics, spirituality or software -- India has given the world new ideas. Originality and creativity are deeply intrinsic to India.

During the past 5,000 years, India has been a recipient of varied foreign cultures, successfully assimilating them. Diversity is in India's DNA. There is no one India. Every few thousand kilometers, the dialects, food and ethnic nuances change. Despite this, pan-Indian advertising is done successfully. Indians also know how to express themselves in more than one language and how to live and communicate in more than one culture. This bicultural global outlook gives Indians unique insight into global trends.

As the focus of economic opportunity shifts increasingly to Asia, the global advertising industry will have to find new ways of reflecting Asian sensibilities. Sure, not all clients will come to India for global creative ideas. But the clients who do are the ones looking for fresh solutions to their business challenges.
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