dentsu gets vote of confidence from old client, Maruti Suzuki

Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, says dentsu must put firewalls in place to ensure confidentiality

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: Sep 14, 2021 9:57 AM
Shashank Srivastava

dentsu has clearly played a Reverse Uno card changing the game after going on an all-out acquisition spree in the last decade. This time they are consolidating the multiple agency brands they had acquired into three streamlined verticals, which will favour their six global agency brands. This is also a far cry from the times when networks created multiple agencies to take up competitive businesses.

The question is can dentsu, which handles a wide array of competing brands especially in the automobile sector, ensure that their clients co-exist peacefully under one roof? One of dentsu’s biggest and oldest clients, which goes back 15 years with them, has given them a vote of confidence in this regard. Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, says he is confident that the agency will do whatever that is needed to service them even if it is by putting firewalls in place to ensure there is no exchange of information between teams handling competing brands.

Excerpts from our conversation:


What are your thoughts on the recent slew of exits at dentsu and how do you think it will impact you as a client?

At the moment, we don't see any effect on our dealings with dentsu and on the kind of service that they offer to us as a brand.


Every agency has a leader who defines the culture of that agency, with many of them gone at dentsu, are you envisaging a marked change in your dealings once the old guard is completely out and the new guard takes over?

Can’t say about the future but for now we don’t see any deviations from the normal on the projects and campaigns that we have been working on, so there is no change in essence yet. But of course, we will have to wait and watch to see if there is any adverse impact of the exits. dentsu has been with Maruti Suzuki for around 15 years or so. We have found that normally they would induct whatever resources are required for servicing clients such as Maruti Suzuki and I am confident that they will continue to do so in future as well. I can say this because of their history with us and our past association. But it's too early for us at the moment to say whether there is a fundamental change in dentsu’s operations or nature of the agency. Let’s wait and watch.

Maruti Suzuki has worked with Dentsu Impact in the past for Swift, but consolidation is the way forward for the network wherein they are planning to shrink 160 global brands into six. For example, five creative agencies in India will come under the Mcgarrybowen group which means all competing automobile businesses like Toyota, Maruti, Honda, etc may come under one agency, as a client, are you comfortable with that?

Normally when such situations arise, we insist on firewalling to ensure confidentiality. For example, at an operational level, it was about different systems, different set of people and floors on which they work etc, before work from home became the norm. Through such methods, you could ensure firewalls between different operations. I'm not sure whether I can comment on the consolidation of creative in one agency, one company or one vertical and whether it's going to remove those firewalls, because I have not seen the exact outline of the restructuring that is happening. Once we know about that, we will probably be in a better position to comment on it. But as a client, I would obviously like them to have a clear firewall between their clients or operations and a clear distance being maintained from teams handling our competitor’s brand because a lot of exchange of information, data, strategy, etc takes place.  

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