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India presents a dynamic and rapidly expanding market with immense potential for businesses seeking to expand their reach beyond borders.

JULY 11, 2023

The advertising industry thrives on constant innovation, creative ideation, and global collaborations. In a bid to foster closer ties and explore new avenues for growth, the advertising sectors of the United Kingdom (UK) and India recently came together for a roundtable discussion during Cannes Lions to discuss the future of the creative economy.

Moderated by Aisling Conlon, International Trade Director for UK Advertising, Advertising Association representatives from both markets were Stephanie Brimacombe ,Global Chief Growth Officer and CEO, EMEA, VCCP, Les Binet, Group Head of Effectiveness at adam&eveDDB, John Keane, CEO, Ardmore, Pete Fergusson, CEO/Founder of Nemorin, Partha Sinha,The Times Group, Rohit Ohri, FCB, Prasoon Joshi, McCann, Saurabh Jain, Reckitt, S.Subramanyeswar, Group CEO – India & Chief Strategy Officer – APAC, MullenLowe Lintas Group

The roundtable discussion between advertising professionals from the UK and the USA shed light on India’s emergence as a new and vibrant market and the prospects for all brands. Moderator Aisling Conlon commented that “UK agencies and brands should be actively looking to India for global growth opportunities. India presents a dynamic and rapidly expanding market with immense potential for businesses seeking to expand their reach beyond borders. With a population of over 1.3 billion and a growing middle class, India offers a vast consumer base hungry for innovative products and services.”

The session encompassed a diverse range of topics including.

Driving Innovation and Creativity:

Saurabh Jain, Reckitt commented that “India is a growth market…five years ago they had 70 brands and today they have 780 brands” India’s economic reforms and government initiatives aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and foreign investment provide favourable business environment. This, coupled with India’s emergence as a global hub for technology and innovation, makes it an ideal destination for UK agencies seeking to expand their global footprint. 

Stephanie Brimacombe from VCCP acknowledged the demand for their services in India, stating, “Clients want VCCP to establish a presence in India.” John Keane from Ardmore commented that the Indian market, with its 1.4 billion population, might feel daunting and elusive. However, the roundtable participants graciously shared valuable advice and information that completely changed his perspective. He commented on the impressive readership of over 13 million for print editions, as well as the fascinating collaboration between traditional and modern advertising with Google and Amazon as major print advertising clients.

The challenge of talent

The digital revolution has transformed the advertising landscape for both markets. As the industry continues to evolve and adapt to the fast pace of change in the new digital age, there is a growing demand for skilled professionals who can navigate the complexities of modern advertising and deliver innovative campaigns. The rapid pace of technological advancements and the shift towards digital marketing have created skills gaps. Discussing the rapid rise of Chat GPT, Partha Sinha, The Times group commented that “A lot of the skill is in writing the prompt which is now a new skilled that is required by the global industry… prompting for Chat GPT has the potential to become a business in itself.”


AI was a prominent topic of discussion during Cannes Lions, capturing the attention of tech-savvy markets. The future of AI was a central point in the roundtable, with Malcom from The Times Group noting the absence of the metaverse this year, unlike the previous year. Les Binet highlighted the significance of AI’s rise, emphasizing that its adoption by cab drivers indicates its widespread acceptance among consumers. However, it was agreed that it is important to strike a balance between the capabilities of AI and the human touch. While AI brings efficiency and automation, the creative vision, emotional intelligence, and strategic thinking of human professionals remain invaluable. The collaboration between human creativity and AI technology is where the true power of advertising lies.

All present agreed that Digital measurement has revolutionised the advertising industry, making it easier and more efficient for businesses to measure the success of their campaigns. Les Binet noted that “around the world TV still remains one of the most effective mediums for reaching consumers and inciting an emotional response” despite the hype about AI, Innovation and advances in digital measurement.

India’s emergence as a new and vibrant market offers exciting prospects for advertisers. The roundtable discussion between the UK and India advertising sectors marked the beginning of a promising partnership. Participants forged connections and established relationships that extend beyond the event, paving the way for future collaborations. “The India roundtable provided us with first-hand, real-world insights from a range of potential partners in one of the biggest economies on earth. Candid conversations with c-suite decision makers that you just wouldn’t get via other methods of engagement or reach out.” Pete Fergusson, Nemorin

To find out more about UKAEG can support your UK business contact Aisling Conlon, International Trade Director, Advertising Association

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