Monday, August 31, 2015

“To bring smiles on consumers’ and clients’ faces, we have to toil really hard”: Almin Premani – AVP Operations, Candid Marketing

Delighting and surprising customers – that is the essence of any brand activation. But, it’s easier said than done; a lot of hard work goes into bringing about those smiles. There are countless challenges we face while executing an event or activation. Low budgets, high expectations, tight deadlines, the list is endless…

It begins with seeking permissions and licenses from the authorities, where, more often than not, red tape is the order of the day! And if the venue is an unconventional one, like the Gateway of India, India Gate, Juhu Beach, Carter Road, Marina Beach, etc, well, God help us.

Certain venues come with inherent problems. For instance, at airports, the time available for production is very limited – we get only 3-4 hours, that too strictly night! Besides, tie-ups with associates become a huge challenge, especially in remote areas and places like the North East. And imagine erecting the world’s largest umbrella  at Carter Road, Mumbai – right in front of the Arabian Sea during the windy, rainy season! But, for us, the show must go on, come rain or shine.

Then there is the issue of manpower – right from scouring for the right promoters, for which we have to find presentable faces with a confident demeanour, screen them, train them and then keep a hawk eye on them, lest they digress from the brief. Because, admittedly, there is a question mark over their commitment – remember these kids are not in for a career; most are students who take up the job either to finance their education or just to make their pockets bulkier for a flashy lifestyle. Not to forget, finding the right vendors and support staff to help us in creating and controlling innovative set-ups.

We also have to closely monitor and give daily updates to clients for manpower-driven activities, which is a logistical and coordination challenge, especially when an activation entails 1000+ touch points across India.

Last but not the least, is to have a roving eye on the activation landscape, globally – to keep ourselves abreast of the latest in technology and explore new possibilities and avenues to bring the most innovative ideas to fruition.

It’s hard to pick three of the most challenging briefs Candid has executed. Because, like I said earlier, every brief comes with its own set of challenges. But, these three are on the top of my mind as I write this – mind you, it’s just the tip of the huge iceberg of 40,000+ activations we’ve executed in the 20 years of our existence!

Nissan 370Z
For the launch of Nissan 370Z in India, the brief was to have an unconventional press conference. We began with an unconventional venue – The Pawan Hans Runway, Juhu! The car became the first ever car to have been launched on the runway in an action-packed (pun intended) way…
The next big task was to have a high-octane act involving two open roof double-decker buses and a trailer running side by side on the runway. We did that with renowned stunt master, Alan Amin, within the limited time available – just half a day!
Add to that the responsibility of adhering to the security guidelines, with 200 invitees from the Press in attendance for this rare spectacle, and you will know just how tough it was to pull this one off!

To promote SabTV’s ‘Sab Ke Anokhe Awards’, we had to erect the #SabseAnokhaUmbrella – the world’s largest umbrella (30 feet high, 60 feet in diameter) at a high footfall venue in Mumbai.
Now, the ideal venue for such an installation would have been a mall. But to ensure that the 2000 kg-heavy steel structure stood its ground, it required digging a 6 ft. deep hole to lay a solid foundation – something no mall was ready for!
So, we had to look for alternative venues such as the Shivaji park, BKC, Police Ground, etc.. But, we finally chose Carter Road, which offered flexibility in terms of digging required and the working hours, and also provided space for a stage with high visibility for the official unveiling.
We started digging on 15th July, just when Mumbai was awaiting its second spell of rains, and built the magnificent umbrella with huge scaffold structures that acted as wind-cutters from three sides, still allowing high visibility from the road.

We created a 3D model of Lord Hanuman that was big enough to attract eyeballs and light enough to be strapped to a drone in one week. As the drone-strapped Hanuman had to fly over busy locations, apart from getting the necessary permissions, we also had to hunt for locations where there were no cables at the height it would fly – which in itself was a task!

All’s well that ends well!
After a hard day’s work, if a job is executed well, the smiles on the consumers’ and clients’ faces also mirror ours – and that makes every drop of sweat we shed worth it.”, quips a broadly smiling Almin.


Akil Khan said...

Candid rocks .

Shankar Chellani said...

Hey Almin, Congratulations! I have always seen you as an assiduous person. Great going. Keep up.