For ages the world of advertising has seen a set template. Brands outsource their marketing and communications to agencies, who handle everything for them, from ideation to execution.
But this is now changing and in-house creative teams are enjoying their time in the limelight.
Let’s take you back to 2014. Remember how Zomato rose to the occasion on social media, churning out content that truly shaped how brands in India would approach their own social media strategies. That was the magic of an in-house creative team.
Over the next few years, there was a steady rise of in-house creative teams which assumed larger mandates and pretty much started doing what an ad agency would do. Now, in 2022, right at the forefront of it all is BYJU’S.
A mini agency within a brand
In mid-2021, BYJU’S took the bold decision of building an in-house creative team, which has since gone on to win major accolades and awards. Earlier this year, the BYJU’S team became the first ever Indian brand team to create a campaign in-house that won a Cannes Lion. All of this, within one year of being set-up.
What made this possible is the incredible team that was put together by the Founders, each of them a creative powerhouse in their own right. The power-packed team completely transformed the style of BYJU’s creative work and hit gold immediately with their Teacher’s Day campaign in September 2021.
In today’s world of short-form content and even shorter attention spans, the team went on to create a 9 minute homage to the struggles faced by teachers during the pandemic-induced lockdown. And boy did it create waves, winning awards at the choicest of events like Spikes Asia, Clios, Webbys, D&AD, One Show, Kyoorius amongst many others.
The big change the team was about to bring?
- Moving away from communication which was purely product-focused and driven by celebrities.
- Creating narrative driven communications.
- Moving from the narrow scope of ‘education’ to a wider canvas of ‘learning’ as the key concept in all their communication.
- Bringing in an era of a larger brand purpose than just focusing on app downloads
And it this was just the start.
Leveraging topical moments
The very next month in October, came their Gandhi Jayanti film narrated by Manoj Kumar. More impact, and yes, more awards.
The brand released multiple campaigns on key topical opportunities over the next few months.
The love story with Sports
As the sponsor of the Indian Cricket Team, BYJU’S leveraged the opportunity to create communication that was relatable and beyond the core product itself.
In the lead up to the Women’s World Cup in 2022, their Halla Macha De campaign didn’t just cheer the women in blue but also got everyone talking about the brand’s initiative. The campaign took over short-form video and music platforms, with users adopting the music in their own unique ways.
The team also created a special anthem for the Kerala Blasters, made entirely in Malayalam.
And then came the landmark FIFA sponsorship announcement.
The biggest of them all, Lionel Messi
A goat for a brand ambassador, who would’ve guessed.
Let’s meet the team
Vineet Singh – former CMO for WeWork and Embassy, ex Google and Publicis veteran
Vishal Sagar – former creative champion at Webchutney with over 100 awards to his name
Hitesh Bhagia – former head of content and marketing whiz from IIM Kozhikode
Adityan Kayalakal – former head of content for NBA in South Asia, former Publicis and WPP and ad veteran
Priyanka Bajaj – former creative head at Urban Ladder
Monica Banerjee – former creative director at Ogilvy and McCann Erickson
Roshni Kavina – former national creative head at Impressario Restaurants
Original, bold and talented – the team has created some stellar work in the last year, garnering more than 1 billion impressions in a short span of time. They have revamped brand work, social media work, their marketing partnerships (with partnerships ranging from Universal Music, Josh, Moj, Firework etc) and have won awards by the dozen.
So, is this the future?
Will in-house teams eventually replace ad agencies?
The answer lies in the people. Building a team with the right people and the relevant skillsets is imperative to make this a possibility. This is exactly what BYJU’S has done as well.
They developed a team which had industry expertise, a massively diverse talent set, and capable leaders who set the tone right from the word go.
Let us know your hot take on this in the comments!