Ashutosh Munshi | The Innovator 25 2016
Ashutosh MunshiThe Innovator 25:

Ashutosh Munshi

Director — Creative & Content


"Never let hierarchy come in the way of ideas. Stand up for what you believe in — to your bosses and your clients."


As Edelman's first creative director in India, Munshi has overseen a renaissance in the firm's work, thanks to a free-thinking ability to generate unconventional ideas to disrupt traditional categories. A campaign for Tata Global Beverages, for example, used virtual reality to bring a new coffee brand to life, and there have also been acclaimed efforts for KFC and Tata Tea. Driving these programmes is the multidisciplinary creative newsroom that Munshi has created, which includes designers, ethnographers and planners.

How do you define innovation?

Innovation is the magic created by a state of constant curiosity and a desire to do something better.

Most innovative comms/marketing campaign you’ve seen in the last 12 months?
I don't believe it's possible to single out just one. But I really liked "The most dangerous town on the internet" by Norton.

What brands and/or agencies are most innovative when it comes to marketing/PR?
Droga5, Wieden+Kennedy.

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider ‘innovative.’
We had a simple brief from our client, Tata Global Beverages – to market a new coffee brand (Tata Coffee Grand) in an entirely new way. With formats changing, viewing patterns are changing and for the brand to stay relevant it's not just what the story is about, but how you are communicating it.

So at this time of diffracted storytelling and saturated conversations around coffee, we decided to do something new. Something inspired by the coffee itself. What makes this coffee special is the fact that it is plantation fresh – homegrown and hand picked from the Tata plantations in Chikmagaloor.

We wanted to communicate this plantation fresh story to brand stakeholders. This included media to begin with, but also internal stakeholders, channel partners, business partners and the like. I believe that today, the experience is the message. So we really wanted them to experience the Tata coffee plantations. But since we couldn't take all these stakeholders to the plantation, we decided to take the plantation to the people.

We shot the entire plantation and converted this footage to a 360 degree virtual reality film that could be viewed on Google Cardboard (at the launch press conference, internal presentations, retailer POS), but also as a film meant to be shared on social media.

In what area of marketing/PR do you see the most innovation?
Social media & online marketing.

How would you describe the communications/PR industry’s level of innovation?

More innovative then other marketing disciplines

Where do you see the greatest opportunity for marketing & PR to become more innovative?
Content & creative.

Who most influences how innovative a brand’s marketing/PR is?
CMO. Innovation comes at a price. The decision-maker may vary, but it's the CMO who controls the budgets.

Who is your mentor and why?

A combination of inspiration and experience.

How do you find inspiration?
I talk to the local cornershop owner. I buy things you wouldn't imagine. I people-watch in bars across the world. I play with my dogs. I look at what brands are doing and where technology is heading. Because the meeting point of creativity and technology is where the magic happens. I dream and wake up and make notes and dream again.

Advice for people seeking to bring new ideas, ways of doing things to their organizations?
Stay forever curious and open minded. Porous, almost. Never let hierarchy come in the way of ideas. Stand up for what you believe in — to your bosses and your clients.

In your opinion, what’s the most innovative place in the world?


What’s your favorite time of day and why?
5:30am. Because on weekdays, that's when I get the most work done. And on weekends, it's when I'm out on the open road with my Harley-Davidson.

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