New Delhi 2013
Wieden + Kennedy
The next stop on our tour of the Indian capital is the headquarters of Wieden + Kennedy, one of the country’s most renowned advertising agencies. I met with its two directors, Mohit Jayal and V. Sunil, in their new offices near Saket mall in South Delhi.
Can you tell us about how you work with the photographers on your big accounts?
M. Jayal & V. Sunil : The photographer Bharat Sikka is responsible for the agency’s photography. He also produces many of the commercials for our clients. He selects the freelance photographers with whom he wishes to work. We seek to create a strong identity for the brands we manage, and photography plays a major role.
How do you build a brand’s image?
M.J & V.S : For clients like the famous Indian motorcycle brand Royal Enfield, or a line of ayurvedic cosmetics, or a chain of luxury hotels like Oberoi, we draw inspiration from Indian culture, from the high culture of the country’s heritage to the popular culture rooted in the daily life of Indians.
This approach goes against a powerful trend in India today where brands are becoming uniform. Something else that makes our work with these brands so exciting is that they are products of the Indian market, they embody India, they’re Made in India, but they also have a foreign presence.
With your magazine Motherland (which we previously covered here), and the exhibition and artistic projects you support, Wieden + Kennedy is an important cultural player in India. Can you tell us more about that commitment ?
M.J & V.S : You know, even now there are few places and platforms for culture in India. It’s not like in Europe where public institutions are involved. Here it’s up to people like us in the private sector to support projects and artists.
Like I said earlier, popular culture, the culture of the street and small villages, the unique local cultures found throughout India, the cuisine, the entertainment, the rituals—those are the cultures we’re interested in, and we support exhibitions and publications that call attention to them. Our latest event is Outside India, an exhibition and book by Robert E. D’Souza on the effect of globalization in India, from the country as a whole down to the neighborhood where we opened our new offices.
This interview has been edited and back-translated into English from the French. Mohit Jayal and V. Sunil's responses do not necessarily represent their actual words.