I hate to be a part of the rat race because even if you win it, you will still be a rat. We want to grow ourselves into an organisation that will proudly be having made more brands and will be linked up with successful stories. That will be the biggest achievement for us. Also, in the next five years, we also want to establish An-yahh!! as the world’s first art brand and set up the chain of retail stores across India, starting with North India.
Asheesh Sethi is founder and President of Noshe Oceanic Pvt Ltd, a leading advertising agency in North India, with a sharp focus on retail.
At the early age of 19, in 1989, Sethi set up Noshe Oceanic as an advertisement collection agency in Daryaganj, New Delhi, for the Indian Express Group. This was his first entrepreneurial step, but not his first brush with advertising.
The initiation into the world of advertising began much earlier. As a student of Class IX, St Xavier’s, Sethi was selected by the World Federation of United Nations Associations to be President of the India chapter. This was a closely contested and high-profile position. He was nominated for the President’s position by an International Steering Committee. Sethi became the coordinator for UN Associations in India. The exposure, in his own words, was tremendous and beyond the imagination of any student. He was responsible for the promotion of UN Students Associations across India. This led to regular interaction and engagement with diplomats, politicians and members of the international community. During his two-year tenure, Sethi also organised an international meet in India, for which he closely interacted with advertising and event management companies. As he says, he greatly appreciated their focus on strategy at the time, which left a deep impression on him.
Noshe Oceanic is a pioneer in retail advertising. In early 1990s, there were hardly any serious players in this sector. But right from inception, Sethi focused on retail and became a regular visitor with retailers and shop-owners.
Along with garnering advertising for special features published by the Indian Express, this hands-on experience stood him in great stead in later years as the agency evolved. The jump from an advertisement-booking outlet to an advertising corporate came when Noshe successfully created and published a series of retail advertisements for his first client, New Ways Department, Chandni Chowk, in the Indian Express.
The intuition was not developed easily. In mid-1989, Sethi lost his father and the family moved to Dubai. In the six months he spent in Dubai, he assisted his uncle in his garments business. Dubai was, at the time, the world’s retail hub and the various formats of retail in Dubai were almost futuristic in context, feels Sethi today. Retail was the big opportunity waiting to be encashed, and he did not waste the opportunity of learning the art of retail.
With early success, Noshe Oceanic became a full-service advertising agency. From 1991-95 was a period of consolidation and strengthening the foundation of the organisation. This was when some leading retail players like Ritu Wears, Chunmun Stores, Vansons Shoes, Harisons Furnishings, BonTon Inner Circle, Paul Garments and Bombay Selections became Noshe clients. 1995 was the dynamic year when the agency came into its own.
A decade later, Noshe services over 140 clients in all sectors of retail. To its longstanding credit, it has never lost a client. What began with an undying spirit, Noshe Oceanic has capitalised billings of Rs 120 crore. It has set for itself a target of Rs 150 crore in this year and by 2011, billings are expected to be in excess of Rs 200 crore.
In conversation with exchange4media’s Preeti Hoon, Sethi speaks about how the agency beat the slowdown, vision for the agency, tapping the mobile and Internet medium and why Noshe stays away from awards.