From advertising to entrepreneurship, a sneak-peek at upcoming agencies launched by ad veterans

The biggest news of 2016 in the advertising domain was when R. Balki stepped down from his position of Group Chairman of Mullen Lowe Lintas

e4m by Sarmistha Neogy
Updated: Jan 11, 2017 8:13 AM
From advertising to entrepreneurship, a sneak-peek at upcoming agencies launched by ad veterans

The biggest news of last year in the advertising domain was when veteran ad man R. Balki decided to step down from his position as Group Chairman of Mullen Lowe Lintas, part of the global advertising conglomerate IPG. With this, he bade adieu to his 30-year long career in advertising to concentrate in full-time film making.

Ad guru, KV Sridhar also surprised the industry, when he quit his role as the Chief Creative Officer of SapientNitro to launch his own agency, Hyper Collective. In fact, it was also the first time that SapientNitro had actually created such a role for Pops in the organisation. FCB Ulka’s MG Parameswaran ended his long stint with the agency to start his own venture Brand-Building. Ambi as he is popularly known in the industry last year, also launched his eight book titled ‘Nawabs, Nudes, Noodles’, on the other hand, Pops is also done with writing his first book, published by Bloomsbury which will soon be released. 

Malvika Mehra and Satbir Singh, both of whom had left their respective agencies in 2015, announced the launch of their own creative hubs last year.

Most of these agencies have already added big clients to their kitty and have started their operations full-fledged. At exchange4media, we list down few ad agencies born last year, which one definitely needs to look out for in 2017.

R. Balki:

Last year August, R. Balki decided to step down as the Group Chairman of Mullen Lowe Lintas in order to focus on his movie-making career. As a film maker, Balki first released 'Cheeni Kum' in the year 2007, and then went on to make movies like 'Paa','Shamitabh' and 'Ki & Ka'.

Balki’s majority of advertising years have been spent in Lowe Lintas, which he joined in 1994. He has been responsible for the creation of some iconic ad campaigns for Unilever, Idea Cellular, Tata Tea, ICICI Prudential, Axis Bank, Tanishq, Fastrack, Britannia, Havells, Micromax, Saint Gobain, Maruti, Hero Motocorp, Bajaj Auto and many other clients of the agency. Under his leadership, the Mullen Lowe Lintas Group had consistently retained its spot as one of India's top agencies and a training ground for some of the best advertising minds of the industry.

KV Sridhar (Pops) and Hyper Collective Creative Technologies

In the month of October, KV Sridhar stepped down as the Chief Creative Officer from Sapient Nitro after spending two and a half years in the organisation to start his own venture called Hyper Collective Creative Technologies. According to Pops, his agency will be a disruptive new model in the field of communication. He has plans of revealing further details about his new agency in the days to come.

Sridhar joined SapientNitro in 2014 and has worked on accounts like DBS Bank, British Airways and others. Before his stint at SapientNitro, he was with Leo Burnett- India and subcontinent- for almost 17 years (non-consecutive) as the Chief Creative Officer.

MG Parameswaran’s Brand-Building

FCB Ulka’s MG Parameswaran announced the launch of his firm Brand-Building in April last year. The outfit is set to serve the larger brand building community in India by being a conduit for coaching and mentoring on a whole range of branding subjects including brand strategy, marketing communication strategy, start-up advisory, brand management coaching, and preparation of brand plans.

From 2003 to 2013, he served as the CEO and Executive Director of FCB Ulka and as an advisor from 2013-2016.

Satbir Singh’s Thinkstr

2016 started with Satbir Singh, former Chief Creative officer at FCB Ulka launching his own advertising agency ‘Thinkstr’ with a focus on digital. His agency made news, when government's premier policy think tank, NITI Aayog appointed Thinkstr as its creative agency, following a multi-agency pitch last year. It even bagged the creative duties for Glenfiddich, the single malt Scotch whisky brand from William Grant and Sons among some of the other account wins.

Singh had quit FCB Ulka in December 2015 after a year-long stint as the CCO. Prior to that, he led the creative at Havas Worldwide for almost a decade.

Malvika Mehra with Tomorrow Creative Lab

Malvika Mehra, former National Creative Director of Grey India launched her own outfit, Tomorrow Creative Lab last year. Through this agency, Mehra aims to explore new ways for brands to delight and inspire people and deliver an unforgettable brand experience.

The key focus of Tomorrow Creative Lab is on Design, Technology and Ideas. The agency has been working with Vivaana Hospitality for its Old Delhi Haveli Project, Desi Deli café in Mumbai and Mojarto, an NDTV venture. After working in the industry for 22 years and building brands like Bingo!, Vodafone, State Bank of India and Reliance Telecom, Mehra felt the need and saw the opportunity to stretch the canvas for a brand’s creative expression beyond ‘pure play advertising’.

Ninad Umargekar’s Onewall Monkey

Ninad Umargekar, who joined Taproot Dentsu in August 2015 as Head of Strategic Planning, last year launched his own venture, Onewall Monkey. Onewall is a wall design company, working for institutional clients to tell stories on plain and boring walls. He is partnered in this venture by his friends and entrepreneurs, Swapneel Thakoor and Aditya Jayawant.

Umargekar has about 15 years of experience in the advertising and media industry. His decade-long stint in advertising was with agencies like Percept, Lowe-Lintas (Now Mullen Lowe Lintas) and Famous Innovations before joining Taproot.

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