The past few months have witnessed the trend of some talented creative directors venturing out and setting up their own agencies. Names that come to mind include Sajan Raj Kurup who formed Creativeland Asia, Prashant Gogbole who formed Ideas@Work, Ashok Kranik who formed Bread Communication. The latest to join the growing brigade is Jignesh Maniar, former Creative Director at O&M, who has set up a new agency called ‘ON’.
Maniar, who is known for his work for the Mentos campaigns, has set up his venture in partnership with Roshan Chowdhry, who owns and runs the media agency NAC.
Commenting on the agency model, Maniar said that ‘On’ would concentrate on the creative business of a brand. “There are certain things that you can do in your own way rather than in a global network. O&M is a fabulous place to have explored one’s creativity, but at the end of the day, you’re still a part of that particular global network. Thus, my idea to set up my own agency is in providing innovations in a different and interesting way,” explained Maniar.
He further said, “What I have noted is that clients are looking for better and interesting solutions. So, I guess in the scheme of big agencies, they often find that they do not get their due attention and these are the clients who are actually willing to experiment with new innovations. ‘On’ is going deliver not just ideas with results, but ideas with consequences, and at the end of the day, an agency with the client should add value to the business.”
Stating that he was looking to partner Indian clients, Maniar said, “We plan to have a set-up in Delhi along with Mumbai. We are already in talks with some clients as there quiet a lot of interesting businesses booming there. Very soon we should have our presence in Delhi.”
Addressing the pitch fees issue, Maniar said that it was a collective initiative that needed to be taken by the industry as a whole. He noted, “Pitch fee is extremely important for an ad agency because when a client calls 10 agencies and then it decides to stay with its incumbent agency, it’s not fair. The client should be pushed to make a shortlist of five agencies, or whatever the number is, and be given their due fees. I strongly believe that we don’t get the correct valuation of our ideas, maybe I guess we ourselves underestimate the power of ideas. So, I guess it’s the industry that needs to make the client realise about the issue. However, I don’t see that likely to happen in the near future.”
According to Maniar, awards were fabulous and were an important motivational factor to do better to any industry. He added, “I don’t know why we have hyped up this whole issue of participation or non-participation in awards. Awards are present in every industry and are a sense of pride in recognition and motivation. Had there been no awards, then how could we have possibly seen the best works in advertising? As for any industry, one cannot survive without recognition.”
Maniar is bullish about his agency’s success and has affirmed that by the end of the year, the kind of work ‘On’ would do for its clients would be work that the industry fraternity looked up to. He was confident of ‘On’ setting new benchmarks in terms of communication.