Leo Q+A: Thoughts From the GPC in India
Leo Burnett Mumbai’s Gunjan Poddar and Prajato Guha Thakirta and Leo Burnett Chicago’s Veronica Puc chat about their experience at the latest creative conclave
Leo Burnett India hosted the latest Global Product Committee (GPC), comprising our top creative leaders from around the globe who gather to evaluate the work from the global network. Over the course of a week, the GPC views, discusses and rates the work using our 10-point HumanKind Scale. Work that receives a 7-point rating is considered to be the benchmark for excellence in craft. To learn more about the GPC and the HumanKind Scale, watch this video.
We asked Creative Director Gunjan Poddar, Executive Creative Director Prajato Guha Thakurta from Leo Burnett Mumbai and Head of Production Veronica Puc from Leo Burnett Chicago about their experience at this year’s GPC in Mumbai.
What’s your key takeaway from the GPC?
GP: It shows you how your country and its work is performing in comparison to the rest of the world, with different points of view and a platform to get feedback and improve the work.
PGT: This might sound very clichéd, but the exposure to the great work across all our offices gave me perspective like nothing else has in a while.
VP: Being at the GPC reinforces how much we have to learn from each other, and how important it is to share our work. It’s not just looking at work and commenting on it, but giving constructive feedback in a way that will inspire others to take ideas from good to great—that’s the heart of it.
What was your favorite work by other offices, and why?
GP: The McDonald’s work from our London office. McDonald’s as a brand has been legendary for years, and coming up with something fresh, new and interesting on regular briefs all the time is a challenge, and they have cracked it beautifully.
PGT: Of the multitude of great work, I would single out the Loterias y Apuestas del Estado "Summer" campaign by Leo Burnett Spain. Such a wonderful, impactful film. Apart from that there was the “Flash Drives for Freedom” campaign by Leo Burnett Chicago—an idea so simple and bold that it will stay with me for some time to come. Another campaign that stood out for me was Leo Burnett Beirut’s “#Undress522” campaign for Abaad. The use of the blood and medical gauze as a makeshift wedding dress was so effective and powerful. That one really was extremely effective.
VP: There was some crazy good work this quarter. From new technology to new products—what we are doing as an agency goes beyond advertising. We are solving basic human problems in completely innovative ways. One of my favorites is “Roads That Honk” from the Mumbai office. The idea takes a form of communication, honking—which is a language of its own in India—and uses technology to bring that language to life in a way to save lives and make roads safer every day. Another standout is for Car One, “Brothers” from Leo Burnett Argentina—beautifully crafted and such a simple message told in an entertaining and unexpected way. The McDonald’s “Calendar” ads from Germany were clever and fresh—telling the storyof someone’s day through their calendar entries—and really brought the people to life. I could visualize them, even though I never saw them. And I can’t leave out Leo Burnett India’s “Salaam Loans” from Tata Capital—a new way of getting loans approved for deserving but “unloanable” people who need them to help bring their ambitions to life. Putting the power of loan approval into the hands of the people, not the bank.
What was it like to be working so closely with some of our global network’s top talent?
GP: It was an awesome experience. Seldom do you get the chance to meet anyone from your network residing in other countries. It's great to meet them, understand what they do, tell them what you do and get their points of view. Above all, it has made us realize we all are connected with one thread: the passion to do great work.
PGT: Again, it is about the perspective you get from all the wonderful people you meet from other offices. Their thinking, their experiences, their thoughts on your work only enriches your mind. And it also gave me a chance to steal a Sri Lankan colleague’s shorts so I could go swimming in the hotel!
VP: The opportunity to connect with incredible talent across the globe was an inspiration in itself, never mind the work! We all engage with different clients that have different problems, but we all have the same task—finding that simple human insight and delivering work against that insight that impacts human behavior in a positive way. And craft the hell out of it along the way.
The GPC’s schedule can be quite rigorous. What survival tips do you have for future attendees?
GP: Sleep well before it starts, because once it's on, there is no closing of your eyes and resting of your mind.
PGT: Please have a light lunch every day. I learned this the hard way.
VP: A good pillow, open mind and sharp pencil.