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Dentsu Creative Group India’s Amit Wadhwa on defining modern creativity

Dentsu Creative Group India’s CEO tells Storyboard18 how and why the campaign ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’ stood out at Cannes Lions and other global ad awards.

By  Priyanka NairJul 29, 2022 6:15 PM
Dentsu Creative Group India’s Amit Wadhwa on defining modern creativity
'The Unfiltered Tour' for VICE World News. Dentsu Creative Group India CEO Amit Wadhwa says the aim of The Unfiltered History Tour was to decolonise a part of the Internet and make it educative.

On June 22, on Storyboard18, we wrote about Indian adland becoming more mature in matters of credit. There seems to be a sudden renewal of sorts in the industry’s intention to foster a credit culture.

It started with Dentsu Webchutney’s award-winning campaign.

Dentsu Webchutney (now rolled into Dentsu Creative Group India) is the agency behind India’s historic win at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this year. And it also helped set the right example for this positive trend around credit.

VICE World News’ ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’ that fetched India three Grand Prix, one Titanium Lion, ‘Global Agency Of The Year’ title, and a troop of other Lions, was a work led by PG Aditiya and Gautam Reghunath when they ran the show at Dentsu Webchutney. The duo left the agency to set up Talented, a new creative shop. Dentsu Webchutney continued to celebrate the work and entered at multiple awards shows across the globe, giving everyone their due credits.

Eighteen months were spent putting together a guided tour for visitors at the British Museum, which houses some of the world’s most disputed artefacts. Through The Unfiltered History Tour, visitors to the museum could scan the artefacts using Instagram filters and unlock an augmented reality (AR) experience that visually teleported the objects back to their homeland. Dentsu Webchutney, Aditiya, Reghunath, and an army of creative and tech professionals who were behind the campaign cheered each other all through the week when the campaign picked Lion after Lion at the Oscars of advertising.

The applause also came from other agencies present in Cannes and from back home.

Then, at Cannes, there came another big announcement for the agency. As a part of Dentsu International’s global transformation strategy, Dentsu Creative Group has official come into force. The group has aligned all its creative agencies into one unit. While Dentsu Webchutney as a brand name will not exist anymore, the agency’s people and work have roared to grab global attention, for one last time.

Storyboard18 spoke to Dentsu Creative Group India’s CEO Amit Wadhwa to understand what made ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’ a standout campaign and what the Indian market means to the global network. Read on: 

Dentsu Webchutney’s work ‘The Unfiltered Tour’ for Vice has put India on the top of the world creative map. What according to you made it a standout campaign?

India has always had a vast and fabulous history of creativity. Just look at our story - from the Indus Valley to creations like the Taj Mahal. What this campaign has done is shone a spotlight on our inherent culture of creativity and our ability to make ideas shine. It has been such a profoundly moving and humbling experience to have this campaign be a conduit for showcasing the larger Indian story of talent and creativity.

The fact that this campaign resonated with people experiencing the tour both at the British Museum, and at home says a lot about the discourse of colonialism itself. How we don’t talk about it enough, and yet so many people live with a narrative that doesn’t do justice to their culture and heritage. The campaign’s impact came from the authenticity of activities, professors, and contributors of the campaign. Their pain of the past seamlessly touches the hearts of so many people. We couldn’t be more grateful to our client, and the people who worked towards bringing this piece of work to life.

We understand ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’ took close to 18 months to put together. What was the core idea of the campaign and what were the client’s expectations?

The core idea was simple - how can we build a narrative around these disputed artefacts that are not perceived from just one end of the spectrum and consequently, make it as educative as possible. The potential of the concept grew as we moved along and VICE was an integral part of the crafting and development of this campaign, the perspective they brought on the table aided in fuelling the overall creative product you see today.

Our mission to decolonise a small part of the internet, making educative material available for future generations to come, developing assets after multiple rounds of fact checking, making sure we’re doing justice to the communities we’re representing — Dentsu Creative and VICE worked hand-in-hand for every step of the way. 

A lot has changed since the campaign took off and bagged awards across the world. The core team that worked on the campaign moved on. Dentsu went through a global restructuring. How did you manage to stand united while submitting work at award shows?

While working on the project for 18 long months, it goes unsaid that what fuelled this project was sheer passion. The team, then and now will continue to be proud of the project they put their hearts into. Because at the end of the day, this is more than just a project. This campaign is an instigator for creative businesses to take the discourse of colonialism into the future.  

What does it indicate to the industry when a campaign like ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’ wins big during award shows?

The Unfiltered History Tour as a piece of work is a reaction to the complexity of the modern world, the competing narratives around history seen in the British Museum and the contrasting stories that are told around its exhibits. As such it’s a clear example of what we term modern creativity – the sort of work that creates culture, changes society and invents the future – it’s exactly the sort of work that Dentsu Creative and all successful agencies should be striving to create.

Clients want to differentiate their brands in new and meaningful ways and help consumers to navigate this complex world, so this win is indicative of the types of work that clients who want to prosper should be championing. 

Where does India stand on Dentsu Creative’s growth map?

India continues to be a strategically important and scaled market for Dentsu Creative. Between the pace of economic growth in India combined with our creative accomplishments, India has a firm place within Dentsu Creative’s growth agenda. Winning numerous creative accolades year after year is a testament to their understanding and delivery of modern creativity for clients. This creative success will be amplified by the way we are organising ourselves as a network so that great creative can be impacted everywhere.

First Published on Jun 30, 2022 12:26 PM