Delhi-based public relations company, Vaishnavi Corporate Communications, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japanese advertising giant Dentsu to launch an advertising agency in India.
To be called Vaishnavi-Dentsu, the Indian company is likely to have a majority stake in the joint venture.
Vaishnavi Corporate Communications’ chairperson and managing director Nira Radia admitted that negotiations to seal the joint venture with the Japanese conglomerate were on. “We are close to finalising the finer details,” Radia said.
She added that the new advertising agency was in the process of head-hunting as well as pitching for business.
For starters, a full-service agency, Vaishnavi-Dentsu will have offices in Delhi and Mumbai. Sandeep Goyal, former Zee group managing director and Denstu's representative in India, will be on the board of the new agency.
Interestingly, the Japanese advertising major is setting up more than one company to get a foothold in India. Two other companies, Dentsu India in Bangalore and Dentsu Communications in Delhi, have already been put in place. Meanwhile, Dentsu also has a presence in India through Rediffusion-Dentsu, Young & Rubicam.
According to Radia, this is not the first time that Vaishnavi has explored the possibility of getting into the advertising business. "We had been looking out for buying out a smaller, homegrown advertising agency," she said.
"But now we've found a good fit with Dentsu," she added. In fact, Vaishnavi has already worked on Tata Tea's print and television campaign as well as its packaging.
The 30-month-old Vaishnavi was launched with the mandate of handling the PR business for all the Tata group companies. So will it automatically inherit the advertising business of the Tata group?
Vaishnavi's strategic planning head, Sudeep Purkayastha said the agency would have to win its own advertising business. "Though there may be synergies between advertising and PR, the two businesses will be run as completely separate entities.
Also, he said the company had managed to win several prestigious non-Tata clients for PR, namely, Singapore Airlines, Sun Micro Systems, Star World, ITC Foods and Himalaya Drug Company, among others.