Advertising Interviews

Manish Bhatt

Founder Director | 14 Feb 2014

We want to build a strong creative culture. Delhi is the headquarter of opportunities, while Mumbai is the headquarter of execution of big ideas. To build the perfect balance between the two by syncing the talent pool in Mumbai to opportunities in Delhi is also going to be key focus for us.

Manish Bhatt, Founder Director, Scarecrow Communications started his career as a site engineer at Gujarat State Fertilizer Corporation plant after a Diploma in Civil Engineering. But he soon got bored with, in his own words “machines, boilers and chimneys”, and decided to enter the world of advertising. On completion of his Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from MS University of Baroda, Bhatt joined Contract, New Delhi in 1995.

From an aspiring start-up to one of the most sought-after independent agencies in the country today, Scarecrow has carved its name in the industry in just four years.

Bhatt talks to exchange4media’s Priyanka Mehra and Aditi Raval about how far Scarecrow has come and how it continues to evolve as a full-fledged services agency.

Q. Scarecrow has completed four years. What, according to you, have been the milestones for the agency in these four years?

We started Scarecrow in 2010 with just three people and today, we have a team of 70, with offices in Mumbai and Delhi, over 35 clients in cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Bangalore. We established our own design division in Mumbai. Other milestones include working with Nestle when we were just one-year old, winning several prestigious awards across categories for our creative body of work, and being named the second happiest place to work at by Monster.com. We are also proud to work with MNCs such as ITC and Danone. Today, Scarecrow Communications has carved an identity for itself, which is beyond the faces that made it.

Q. What have been some of the game-changing moments?

It has been a constant journey, and not some select few moments of glory that can be called game-changing. The agenda has always been to be a financially strong, recession-proof company that is capable of getting new clients and sustaining existing ones with equal effectiveness. The aim is not to become just a boutique agency or a creative hotshop, but rather be recognised as a full service agency that is continuously growing, transforming and outdoing itself.

Q. Which is your favourite Scarecrow campaign?

We did good work with Quikr and Religare. But with the launch of Danone’s B’lue in Pune, we ventured into a new sphere of activation. It was a successful campaign, which was very well-received. It won the Abby Award in Branded Content against the likes of Coke Studio and Sound Trippin.

Q. Any campaigns (not done by Scarecrow) that you find commendable?

I really liked the Maruti Suzuki ‘Kitna Deti Hai’ campaign as it presents a strong and enduring argument in a very appealing way to the Indian mindset. The recent Titan ad, ‘Joy of Gifting’, is also a great ad that reflects the Titan legacy.

Q. Is the agency today in a place where you wanted it to be?

Yes. It is a model grown by design, not by default. We have steadfastly worked with many clients from different sectors, and not just one big client. We believe in building Scarecrow brick by brick, and not with one large stone. We are one of the fastest growing agencies in the country. We don’t want overnight success, but wish to build a strong foundation for ourselves. We want to create strong second and third lines of command, an autonomous creative culture where the legacy of Scarecrow translates into excellent work, and end to end solutions for clients. Scarecrow aspires to be the biggest hub for global businesses coming to India as well as Indian businesses going global.

Q. What can we expect from the agency in 2014?

We want to build a strong creative culture. The more the opportunities, the more is the need for talent. We want to continue to build great campaigns for our clients. Additionally, we would like to focus on our Kolkata operations as we have a number of big clients such as ITC, Rupa, Emami and Joy. Delhi is the headquarter of opportunities, while Mumbai is the headquarter of execution of big ideas. To build the perfect balance between the two by syncing the talent pool in Mumbai to opportunities in Delhi is also going to be key focus for us.

Q. Scarecrow is an unusual name for an ad agency. What does the name Scarecrow signify?

The name stands for a dynamic, creative, out-of-the-box communication device. The name is symbolic of our identity. Rustic, rooted yet progressive and innovative. Also, we wanted a disruptive name. ‘Scare’ and ‘Crow’ have negative connotations in language. But when put together, the word stands for a pragmatic innovation without barriers.

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