Whilst we heaved a sigh of relief at the end of 2013, with its shrinking budgets the advertising industry had its share of dynamic activities and controversies that shrouded the fraternity, but at the same time also saw some memorable and trailblazing work.
exchange4media takes a look at some of the faces to watch out for from the advertising world in 2014 (in alphabetical order).
Agnello Dias and Santosh Padhi, Co-founders & Chief Creative Officers, Taproot India
The duo has been in the news since they set up Taproot India in 2009. The four-year old agency with 40 people set an all-time new record of an Indian agency winning four Golds at Cannes last year and also bagged the ‘Agency of the Year’ at AdFest 2013. The duo’s motto of ‘Be human, be simple’ seems to be certainly working for the agency, with a recent of win Birla Sun Life Insurance added to their existing kitty of work for Pepsi, Airtel, Karbonn, and The Times of India, among others. This year, Taproot has created waves for the second phase of its Farmer’s suicide campaign for The Times of India. While some may condemn the TVC for portraying India in a poor light, the agency has stuck to its guns and continued with what it believes – depicting reality in a hard hitting manner. It will be interesting to watch what this duo has up its sleeve this year and if the two are able to re-create the magic of Cannes 2013 once again.
Ajay Gahlaut and Abhijit Avasthi, ECD & NCD, Ogilvy & Mather
Making India proud at the Cannes by winning the maximum number of metals, it will be interesting to see what the creative brain of Ajay Gahlaut brings to the table this year. The industry will expect enduring ideas from Ogilvy & Mather, Delhi under the creative leadership of Gahlaut. Bringing Google Search closer to the people, Abhijit Avasthi created the spectacular Google Reunion ad that highlighted the pain of two friends separated by boundaries. The campaign received overwhelming response and opened a window of conversation for people to discover the many more magical uses of Google. This industry will expect some path-breaking campaigns from Avasthi this year as well. It will be interesting to see the path ahead for Ogilvy, Gahlaut and Avasthi this year.
Amer Jaleel and Arun Iyer, National Creative Directors, Lowe Lintas & Partners
This creative duo has been low profile, but created waves with Lowe Lintas walking away with Agency of the Year Award at the Effies, a title that Ogilvy India has been winning in the past four years, with a shortlist of 31 case studies. The agency has been in the news for all the right reasons – its Tanishq TVC celebrated the subject of remarriage with the beauty and sensitivity that it deserves and struck the right chords, as did the Lifebuoy Gundappa campaign, which brought to light the threat of diarrhoea for young children in an impactful manner. Other memorable work by the agency includes Tata Tea’s Jaago Re campaign, OLX and Hero. The last two brands also awarded the agency their creative mandate last year.
Colvyn Harris, CEO, JWT South Asia
JWT has been in the news for varied reasons last year, from a senior exit that created a stir to a very recent few exits due to the agency’s restructuring, which JWT maintains is a step towards strengthening skill sets to leverage talent in an optimal manner. The agency is currently following a three-NCD structure, with no appointment of a Chief Creative Officer in the offing. Colvyn Harris, the Captain of the Ship, has stood seemingly unfazed and resolute in the face of all the controversies that have surrounded the agency. Will 2014 bring good tidings for the agency? Wait and watch.
Komal Bedi Sohal, CCO, Rediffusion Y&R
Rediffusion Y&R was just beginning to see a hint of stabilisation with the appointments of Sam Ahmed and Komal Bedi Sohal after a slew of exits, including N Padmakumar, D Rajjapa, Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, and Mahesh Chauhan, to name a few. But Ahmed’s exit rocked the boat again. Hence, there is a lot of expectation from the new creative face of Rediffusion, Komal Bedi Sohal. She will have to design refreshing ideas and superior quality product to bring stability to the agency. The agency has not clinched any big-ticket clients last year, so Sohal has a huge responsibility to bring new clients on board. She has to create some brave work with strategic planning team and cutting-edge consumer insights to fill the void created by Ahmed. Sohal’s work will be closely watched by the industry this year.
Praveen Kenneth, Co-owner, Chairman & Managing Director, Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi
It was a game-changer in the history of the Indies when Praveen Kenneth-led Law & Kenneth was acquired by Publicis. Saatchi & Saatchi India was re-branded as L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, and Law & Kenneth Chairman and Managing Director Praveen Kenneth will manage the new entity in the same role. It will be an eventful journey for Kenneth as there will be a new set of challenges in managing the clients of the combined entity and attracting new businesses. He will be responsible for retaining the trust and confidence of employees and both the parties have to work towards retaining talent. Kenneth will have to align the corporate cultures of both the agencies to prevent conflicts. This year demands a lot of action from Kenneth in the digital space also.
Rana Barua, COO, Contract Advertising
Undoubtedly Rana Barua has brought in an air of stability to Contract Advertising. Barua‘s taking on the role of COO was preceded by senior management exits, which included Ravi Deshpande, Chairman & CCO and Umesh Shrikhande, then CEO and COO of Contract. For the first six months Barua kept low profile, handling the anxieties of clients and focusing on building the agency’s new digital entity and building a solid core team with Ashish Chakravarty as National Creative Director and Prashanth Challapalli as Senior VP and General Manager, iContract. Barua has managed to retain 90 per cent of the agency clients and the results of agency’s recruitment spree are just beginning to show with new business wins, Acer being the latest, and expansion of existing business with clients like Dabur and Dominos. Will Barua be able to take the next leap and keep clients coming this year?
Rohit Ohri, Chairman, Dentsu India & CEO, Dentsu Asia Pacific South
With the new structure of Dentsu Aegis Network, Rohit Ohri, Executive Chairman, Dentsu India Group has been given additional responsibility of CEO, Dentsu APAC South. This year will demand delivering a wider range of distinctive products and services across the region from Ohri. After much speculation about the Rs 500-crore Congress pitch, it was learnt that Dentsu India has been awarded the creative duties of Congress to counter BJP’s NaMo charge. The agency released the campaign ‘Main Nahi, Hum’ (Not I, We) with Rahul Gandhi at the centrestage which was termed by the BJP as a ‘copied ad’. Hence, the leader will have to keep a vigil eye on every communication related to Congress for the General Elections. It will be interesting to see how Ohri creates a collaborative environment within the agency and strengthens the digital capabilities with the help of Webchutney.