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‘Disruption is key to creativity’

By M4G Bureau - March 11, 2024

Somnath Sengupta, CEO of INVENTECH talks about the expansive scope of creativity in the OOH space and how use of technology is proving to be the game-changer

INVENTECH, a technology innovation and Content production division of Laqshya Media group, is making strident progress since its inception some 2.5 years ago. The tech innovation company caters to diverse media channels including OOH, and has already recorded several firsts in the OOH space. INVENTECH is creating various experience centres and museums in different sectors.

Somnath Sengupta

Somnath Sengupta, CEO of INVENTECH, tells Media4Growth, “We do everything in-house. We were the first to do the anamorphic in India, for Tanishq. We were also the first to do CGI content, which we did for Marriott Bonvoy. Recently we did CGI for Marico and Saffola Honey.”

“We focus mainly on creating experience centres. We have done tech-led museum. As we speak we are doing a tech-led museum in Pune. We work very closely with various government projects, like we did for the G20 Summit. We have created various technical experiences for the Ministry of Environment,” states Somnath.

Inventech crafts experiential and immersive experiences for a gamut of brands and organisations. The team comprises 18 engineers. Somnath adds that Inventech is essentially an innovative, tech-led company. Edited excerpts of his interview with Media4Growth:

Would you say that Inventech functions as an independent division of Laqshya Media Group?

Yes indeed. We work as an independent company running along with Laqshya Media Group. We are an independent division of the Group, and I head Inventech as the CEO. As a team we undertake a variety of projects for various media channels including the OOH. 

When it comes to OOH, do you see scope for significant creativity, more so as DOOH comes on the scene in a major way?

The key to creativity for me is disruption. You get just about four seconds to convey your message. After all, we can't read OOH like a normal print ad. Viewing time for OOH and social media is 4-5 seconds. In case of an Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter ad, if you don't like it you just scroll. How do you get their attention? The only way is to disrupt with some kind of content that you might like or don't like. I feel there is a huge synergy of OOH and social media. That's the whole probability about how you can measure OOH and everything.  

So, ideas are amazing, creativity is amazing. But there are real time challenges to deal with. What challenges do you face when executing a disruptive idea?

There are a lot of challenges. For instance, it is not easy to create an OOH experience in India, like what one gets to see at the Times Square in New York. Here, to run anamorphic content, you need a plethora of permissions. But the regulatory environment is gradually changing for the better. That said, I might add that the airport media environment is cut out for innovations. A lot of disruptions can be managed there.

How important is recognition for creativity to prosper?

Recognition is obviously very important because the client likes it. Recognition is very important, PR is very important, the scalability of ideas through social media is very important. Awards help clients understand where the agency stands in the particular industry. 

How receptive are clients to disruptive ideas? 

Clients are very bold nowadays as they are very aware of what is happening. Sometimes, a client gives us the idea, and we develop it. We work with our clients in the spirit of partnership. There is transparency and justification for every action. Every client wants innovation and disruption. The market is totally jam-packed with normal ideas. A lot of stupid ideas also come up in the name of innovation. We have to keep those out of the way. I am very confident about technology being the game changer. We are already ahead of the curve. 

How much of your engagement is directed to the static and digital OOH media, respectively?

Greater effort goes toward the static OOH space, but digital is catching up, I think in two years’ time the whole algorithm would have changed. Static needs time, because we have to create some kind of an installation or something, and since nothing is moving in static, clients expect us to copy what is developed for the print or social media. They want to replicate because they want to maintain the synergy of the campaign. In digital, the same campaign can have different content, while keeping the synergy intact.

Yet, a lot of ideas and creativity go into static media? 

Yes. In static I personally feel what works is more of a disruptive installation. We should not try to make static a digital creative by simply putting a digital LED on a static media. 

With so many years of experience, what is your message to the new generation? 

My only message is just create a different kind of an idea with technology because that is what is going to help them and the client as well. That's how the client will retain you. Recently, we were the innovation partner to IIT Bombay. 

IIT Bombay students came to our office and we brainstormed. We thus came up with a digital graffiti created by an international artist. We made that graffiti AR-enabled. 

We also came up with a mind mapping technology for monitoring students’ mental health and help them overcome stress levels and suicidal tendencies. I am very proud of such collaboration.

What is your personal take on the OOH Advertising Awards contest that we organise?

It's very good. I have been seeing it from my Ogilvy days. The quality has been improving every year and it's very good. I have been seeing it for the past 10-12 years.

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