Ogilvy & Mather, India


Indian Millennials


Insights into the culture that will enable Ogilvy to approach potential clients with a compelling new story.


Anecdotally, and partially driven by some historically research we have undertaken on behalf of senior people at this agency, there is some suspicion that millennials have started socialising and behaving in a way that is completely new.

Because of our experience in getting underneath the skin of cultures internationally, we were approached to undertake a nationwide study, that would put millennials under the microscope, at work and at play, with a view to understanding where big changes were afoot.

We had to give very careful consideration to research approach, for 2 reasons –

(i) We were expecting people to talk openly about behaviour, some of which might be construed as illegal, in a culture which can be very oppressive, particularly with regard to police behaviour.

(ii) The standard of qualitative research in India has generally been very lacklustre.

We didn’t have the time to run the project with Murmur staff bouncing around 10 disparate locations in India.

At the same time we had no desire to harness local research companies, traditionally not that great.

We needed to find individuals who could help us out in the field – individuals with inquiring minds, lots of social contacts, a degree of understanding re their local culture and no sense of reluctance or reticence when it came to approaching people for interviews.

Plus because we might be expecting people to open up about things which they might not want to discuss in front of strangers, we thought our research approach needed to involve our target.

So we ultimately briefed savvy and articulate local millennials to go out into the field and interview their peers.

We journeyed to India and spent 1 week with a team of 6 planners, pulling together a research approach which enabled them, supported by us, to generate findings with integrity.

This approach revolved around a kind of Trojan Horse model…

We identified the key locations where the research should be undertaken, including places that no researchers traditionally ever travel to.

We utilised a mixture of discrete online conversations and advertising, to identify intelligent and articulate potential research partners, usually savvy and articulate postgrad students, who had access to local cultures that we wanted to understand and could very quickly be trained up to undertake the kind of qualitative interviews we were seeking to run.

For each location we appointed a male and a female research partner – who we subsequently invited to the agency’s headquarters, for a 2 day briefing on how to go out into the field and find / interview the right kind of peer.

Each individual was told to identify up to 10 of their peers – whom we checked to ensure recruitment was bang on – and to interview them, utilising a guide we pulled together, and which covered everything from how they felt their culture was different to their parents, via identifying where male and female behaviour was increasingly converging, to what the trends were in preferred intoxicants, or what might be shown to someone from your parent’s generation that would represent complete new news.

Murmur and agency personnel journeyed out to appropriate areas to shadow research partners, for a period of time, to make sure they were correctly undertaking the interviews.

After 3 weeks of fieldwork, our partners were flown to the agency and downloaded their findings to us – both in the form of (i) their own analysis and (ii) the raw data in their field recordings.

In the wake of this download, our agency planners sat down to undertake their own analysis of the data, supported by us, in the form of appropriate guidance and consultancy.

Once the planners finished their analysis, we joined them in India and helped them put their findings into relevant silos – and in the wake of this, ran a couple of day long sessions with them, in order to extrapolate meaning, insight and foresight from these findings, with a view to framing them in an exciting, future-facing report construct.