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Dentsu lacks creative reputation in India; TapRoot fills that void

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Dentsu lacks creative reputation in India; TapRoot fills that void

Ever since TapRoot India commenced its operations in 2009, the agency has had a line of suitors eyeing a piece of the pie. Reason: the creative duo - Agnello Dias and Santosh Padhi – that came together to form TapRoot.

Dias had left JWT India to launch TapRoot. Known not only for a glowing creative track record that included the only Grand Prix India has won at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity till date but also for the ability to bring disruptive thinking in a cluttered communication environment, Dias is seen as a talent leading the creative future for India. This is also the reason that had won Dias the IMPACT Person of the Year in 2011. Added to that was another creative hotshot – Padhi – who had left his job at Leo Burnett, once again with numerous awards in tow.

For those who understand that the advertising business is about people, TapRoot was already an agency to watch out for. The early inkling of this was visible in the first year itself. Starting as a single-client agency handling The Times of India, in 2010, TapRoot was already ranked by Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity amongst World’s Top 20 Independent Agencies and was also the Best Performing Indian Agency at the festival that year.

In 2011, TapRoot entered into the rosters of multinationals such as PepsiCo and Bharti Airtel giving both companies, two of the most talked about campaigns of 2011. TapRoot was also recognised for the work done for Mumbai Mirror at Cannes Lions this year. On the back of its work, some of the other advertisers that have ensured TapRoot maintains an enviable growth graph are Nirma, Marico, Karbonn Mobiles and the recently won Polycab.

Dentsu’s creative focus
The relationship with Dentsu has two underlying points for TapRoot - the agency will have access to Dentsu’s scale and global expertise. And, for Dentsu, TapRoot would be the shining star in its offer. Dentsu India at present has at least three full service agencies to talk of but they are yet to make their mark on the industry. Shashi Sinha, Lodestar UM’s CEO, commented, “Dentsu lacks creative reputation in India. The operations have to yet make a mark of any kind. But TapRoot has already proved again and again that they understand the creative pulse of this country. TapRoot would be the star offer from Dentsu to its clients in India, and globally.”

From a TapRoot viewpoint, being a part of WPP (that owns Ogilvy India, JWT India, Bates India, Grey India, Contract Advertising, Young & Rubicam) or Omnicom (that owns DDB Mudra India, BBDO India, RK Swamy BBDO India) or Publicis Groupe (that owns Leo Burnett India, Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Ambience and Publicis Capital) would have meant becoming the number fifth or the sixth creative agency offer. Nearly all holding companies have at least two or three creative agencies that are doing well in India. But TapRoot has earned more reputation than any of Dentsu's present creative agency offers, and hence it would be a stronger proposition to make for Dentsu clients.

Independence: A thought Dentsu understands
Creative independence is easier said than offered. But Dentsu comprehends this. An example in point would be US-based McGarryBowen that was the largest creative independent Dentsu until bought over the company in 2008. Launched in 2002, McGarryBowen, like TapRoot had earned a formidable creative reputation and was awarded Advertising Age’s Agency of the Year and listed in its A-List several times.

Dentsu’s buyout allowed McGarryBowen to operate independently and achieve growth at its own steam. Unlike other holding companies, where a dip in financial can easily to lead to mergers – case in point, Enterprise by WPP – Dentsu understands creative independence. This too would have played a crucial role in TapRoot's decision to tie the knot with Dentsu.

In line with Denstu’s India plan
The development is in line with Dentsu’s global expansion strategy. The Japanese ad giant is out to strengthen its footprints in various markets. The UK-based holding company. Aegis Media, deal was on these lines too. Dentsu has maintained that markets such as India are cornerstone for its global growth strategy. The move to acquire TapRoot is a big step in that direction.

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