As part of its exclusive industry interview series, Modern Marketing held an online industry interview with Loeries CEO Preetesh Sewraj, who discusses what he enjoys most about working in the industry, 2020 industry trends, advice for creating successful campaigns and more.
Sewraj attended university at a time when opportunities of getting into the marketing, branding and adverting industries for people of colour was very limited. ‘I was lucky to have been exposed to my university newspaper – where my love of branding and advertising came from. I was the advertising manager for that paper. I did not start off by studying advertising, I started off by really discovering my love for it, then figured out every way possible to get into it,’ he said.
He started off his career in the marketing department of Procter & Gamble (P&G). He then discovered a brand called Product of The Year – a global agency that helps brands advertise and work better. Sewraj brought the Product of The Year brand to South Africa and through that organisation opened various companies, which did television ads for brands such as Unilever, Plascon, Danone etc. He spent a few years there before getting a call from the Loeries.
What have you enjoyed most about working in the industry?
‘The people are amazingly talented. We have the most diverse group possible across any industry – those who are analytical, some who are artistic and others who have ideas of how to move communication forward.’ He said that he really enjoys the diverse discussions and sometimes the diverse arguments that he comes across.
Any notable industry changes?
‘The resilience of the industry to bounce back from major challenges. I remember the 2008 global economic crisis where budgets were cut and global economies were in turmoil. There were also talks about job cuts and shrinking agencies – basically a shrinking brand community. The industry was resilient and bounced back from all of that.’
While he acknowledges that the Covid-19 pandemic might be with us for a long time – based on his past experience with the 2008 crisis – he still believes that the industry is resilient and will bounce back stronger than ever.
Keys to being successful in this industry
‘It really comes down to understanding the consumer and being willing to challenge boundaries. Our industry is about creativity – let creativity be rooted in human thrills. If you can take the narrative of the human experience, and find a creative layer and outlet to communicate this to a wide range of people, then that is the right step to success.’
Sewraj studied archaeology and is obsessed with it. He relishes the opportunity to interact with archaeological relics and has a Roman ring that is 1900 years old. ‘I like the story of us and where we come from.’
To see Sewraj’s views on creating successful campaigns, using creativity for change and 2020 industry trends, view the video below.
Sewraj’s Dettol project, which he touches on in the video interview: