Grand Jury Perspective with Rahul Nagpal

The AME Awards International Grand Jury represents some of the world’s most creative and strategic minds in advertising, marketing, and communications. AME recruits these award-winning industry execs who are known globally for their creative chops and tasks them with the job of selecting the World’s Best Advertising & Marketing Effectiveness.

With Juries representing 5 regions, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East & Africa, and North America, all AME’s entries are judged on cultural relevance. Following regional judging, all Gold-winning work from all regions goes through an additional round of judging with all entries reviewed by the full international Grand Jury to determine a Platinum Award for each of the five regions.

This week ‘s Grand Jury Perspective features 2018 AME jury member/Partner & Chief Executive Officer of Group Partnership, a WPP company, Rahul Nagpal.  Rahul brings over 24 years of cross-category experience to the AME Awards Jury.  He believes that as a communication professional “our job is to tell engaging brand stories…that resonate either the consumer and ultimately give brands a purpose.”

In 1998, Rahul, along with 3 industry friends, launched – The Classic Partnership Advertising. Started originally as an advertising agency, The Classic Partnership Advertising grew to become Group Partnership in 2014 with additions of 2 new verticals over the years.  A PR & Social arm under the name Raee was born 2007 and then a branding arm called Brandlab came into being in 2014. Over the years the agency has earned accolades from both local and international awards shows, taking home over 75 awards from Cannes to D&AD, Dubai Lynx, The One Show and more. 

In the interview below, Rahul shares his insights on judging, the evolution of the industry, emerging creative trends, the philosophy that drives his career and more.

AME Awards: What are the hallmarks of an award-winning campaign?

Rahul Nagpal: An award-winning campaign needs to take a situational challenge (be it business or otherwise) & present a solution that has an IDEA. The components of the idea need to have:

1.     Simplicity: It is easy to comprehend

2.     Memorability: Something in that idea sticks. It has an aftertaste that lingers on for a long time

3.     Scalability: Works across all mediums

4.     Effect: Has the potential to change behavior

AME Awards: How do you see the industry evolving in the next 3—5 years?

Rahul Nagpal: Data (An effective ROI measure), Delivery Channels (Digital, Social & Experiential) & the growing uneasiness of the geopolitical situation has changed & continues to change the communication business. While the geopolitical situation contributes to the business growth or the lack of it Data & Delivery Channels make the decision-making process a lot more complex. Like the IPAD, we will see the emergence of a category of Agencies that will Ideate, Create & Cascade. And in this narrative, the channels (Traditional, Digital, Social, Experiential & PR) will be par for the course.

AME Awards: What creative trends are emerging and how will those trends affect creative?

Rahul Nagpal: The creative trends that seem to be emerging are the demand for true communication integration from creative agencies. This is in turn challenging creatives to become truly well rounded as professionals.

The need of the hour is for creatives to get out of their comfort zones. They need to think and execute ideas that are media neutral and be proficient across all mediums.

The serious penetration of Digital and Social Media in the traditional communication mix are the primary drivers of this change. This trend is here to stay.

AME Awards: What was a defining moment in your career?

Rahul Nagpal: Setting up the Agency was a moment that I can count to be up there. But taking over the reigns from my partner in 2006 was truly defining. To sit there & think I can paint the canvas the way I want was surreal.

AME Awards: What’s your favorite ad that you created?

Rahul Nagpal: My favorite creative piece we have created to date is the Nazar Initiative for Aster DM Healthcare. The aim of Nazar was to provide free eye check-ups & glasses to the blue-collar workers of Dubai. Our first hurdle was how does one get these workers to read a traditional ‘snellen chart’ as he does not read or write. This resulted in us creating an option to the ‘snellen chart’ that could be interpreted by an illiterate person. It had a universal language & could be used by people anywhere in the world. It all started with an objective of distributing free eyeglasses but the result was a solution that defied the conventional. The idea won us a Gold & a Silver Lion at Cannes in 2016 & was also recognized at other international and local award shows.

AME Awards: In your opinion, what is your favorite ad that embodies both creativity and effectiveness?

Rahul Nagpal: There are a few pieces that easily address this dual requirement in all the work that’s been created in the recent past including Fearless Girl, The McWhopper Proposal, Boost your Voice, The Pedigree child replacement Program amongst others. Each idea is the perfect mix of creativity that has made a difference and proved to be effective beyond the goals of the brief.

My favourite is The Boost Your Voice Campaign that empowered minority communities in the US to vote by visiting Boost Mobile Store fronts that were converted to polling stations & giving them easier access to exercise their constitutional right.

AME Awards: What inspires you about the industry?

Rahul Nagpal: The ability for someone to create something out of nothing still baffles me every-day. And then to take that idea & tell a compelling story that has an impact on people’s lives is truly inspiring.

AME Awards: What philosophy drives your career?

Rahul Nagpal: Love is the single most important thing that has been central to my career. An insane love affair with the business. Love for the people who work at the agency & finally Love for the client & what they do. I often say a ‘happy agency produces happy work that keeps clients happy’. And dare I say if there is no love there would be no happiness.

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