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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

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MD Santosh Menon captures Mauritian imagination:

BBDO Lanka creates brand magic at inaugural TEDx event in Mauritius

BBDO Lanka MD Santosh Menon was one of five international and local speakers at the first ever TEDx event in Mauritius that was held to great acclaim at the Star Cinema in Bagatelle on January 31.


Jose Therese, Graham Hill, Chad Le Clos, Santosh Menon and [centre] Viti Kothari - Curator, TEDxPlainesWilhems at the event

Menon opened the floor with his well received talk about ‘Brand Magic’ – about brands making a positive difference in the communities they operate in and utilising creative ideas to not only create advertising ‘magic,’ but also making a genuine difference in the lives of the consumers.

Speaking about his experience he said: “It charged me up to witness such an interested audience and looking at the efforts that went into making this a world class event, I decided that we had to actually create ‘brand magic.’ Listening to Chad Le Clos and his coach Graham Hill, I felt inspired and motivated to drive my team in Sri Lanka to aim to be the best. A great job done by the organisers and the TEDx crew. Congratulations and merci Maurice! (thank you Mauritius).”

Commented Zaheer Allam, one of the members of the select audience of Menon’s address, “Beautiful talk at TED. You were very confident and had a very positive vibe. Hope to get to see more from you soon.”

Organised under the theme of ‘Going Beyond,’ the well attended event also featured other accomplished speakers of repute from a wide range of disciples. 2012 Olympic swimming champion Chad Le Clos, who shared his experience of breaking down the psychological barriers to beat Michael Phelps and reach the top of the world, was one of the highlights of the event.

Other speakers comprised technologist Marc Israel, Office Division Lead at Microsoft Africa, who took the audience through the journey of how technology as a tool aims at augmenting basic human capabilities to take us to the next level, saxophonist Jose Therese, founder of the Mo’Zar Atelier de Musique School of Professional Music, who described how music could provide kids from slums a future even when the education system fails and the national South African swimming coach Graham Hill, who shone a light into the unseen world of physical and psychological pain that a champion endures in his journey towards triumph.

TEDx PlainesWilhems or TEDx, is a non-profit and independently organised event operated under license from TED which is devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Having begun as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives.

The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at www.ted.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Julian Assange, Philippe Starck, Peter Gabriel, Richard Branson, Gordon Brown, Bono and Frank Gehry.

Viti Kothari, Curator, TEDx PlainesWilhems, stated: “TEDx PlainesWilhems seeks to bring hope and freshness of ideas in the intellectual community in Mauritius. It’s a platform for inspiration and action. An event which celebrates diversity, thinkers and doers. Where individuals from varied disciplines, age and gender come together to share their one idea worth spreading.

And it’s as much about the attendees as it is about the speakers. This was an amazing journey that helped Mauritius ‘go beyond’.”

Menon has been an advertising pro since 1991 and has honed his skills across a varied range of locales and cultures. Since August 2011, he had spearheaded BBDO Lanka, the Sri Lankan affiliate of the global BBDO network, which soon after only its first year of operations was awarded Campaign Asia-Pacific magazine’s ‘Rest of South Asia Creative Agency of the Year 2012’ – Silver.

BBDO Lanka, under the helm of Menon, is uniquely positioned in the advertising industry having launched its Force for Good initiative in 2012 by becoming the first carbon neutral advertising agency in South Asia. It also launched Asia’s first ever mechanical air purifying billboard and contributed to the ‘Bikes for Life’ initiative, which provides children in the North with bikes and thus a means to get to school and not miss out on an education.

Most recently, it teamed up with the iconic Lankan Country Music Federation concert for charity - Country Roads - which this year, in partnership with UNICEF, will renovate three high courts to be used only for the hearing of child abuse and other juvenile cases as well as provide training for judicial staff on how to properly interact with the children.

BBDO Lanka is also the only Sri Lankan advertising agency with branch operations in Mauritius and since 2011 has been engaged in doing truly exciting work for Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB). MCB is the oldest and largest banking institution in Mauritius and a true pioneer in its banking sector. BBDO Lanka also does projects for the Mauritian Edendale Ltd.

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