On Creative Talent and the Creative Approach
With BBDO's Josy Paul
In one of the most highly rated sessions at LIONS Live, Josy Paul gave a raw and honest account of his career journey and shared how the more he’s brought his whole self to work, the more it’s enhanced his creativity. Josy talked openly about failure, rejection and embarrassment and how by embracing them, you can create celebrated agencies, cultures and work. Here, Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of BBDO India, responds to your questions on how to seek out creative talent and how to adjust your creative approach.
Chairman and Chief Creative Officer
How did you find your voice as a young creative in the work you did?
I think it was my belief that everything in the world is connected and that it is my creative duty to find the connection. I was a physics major, so I was constantly looking for patterns in the universe. When I came out of college it was quite natural that I came with this belief. And that game would go on. And then I remember, at work, I would tell people, “Throw me anything and I will connect it.” People would show me images or a statement and say “Josy, why don’t you connect it to this brand or problem?” and something would happen. And that’s how people began to notice me.
What are you looking for when hiring creative talent? What stands out in a creative portfolio? The truth is that you hire people, not portfolios. You are looking for difference, you’re looking for diversity. You’re looking for people who can bring you new influences and new backgrounds so that your work can be richer. And often a portfolio may not reflect that, because the portfolio tells you about the past. The person tells you about the future.
How has the advertising landscape changed in the past ten years and what should we look out for? Very early, at the start of our agency, BBDO in India, we realised the fragmentation of media is resulting in greater pressure on the idea. And that the idea has a responsibility to bring the media together. The idea was the glue. And so we chose action to bring it all together. And we said create acts, not ads. Because action is media-friendly, action is media-neutral and action is commitment. And you know, there’s credibility to action. And so we created a lot of work that was based on action and many of them were turned into brand movements that were recognised worldwide. But going forward, what’s next?
Everybody is looking for the next big thing. But it’s too early to say. The wheel is still spinning and nobody really knows where this is going. You know that the future will still belong to storytellers and story-doers. But how? I think the next big thing is going to be small. It’s going to be about small, potent story actions that create instant impact.