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Raj Kamble and John Hegarty on BBH’s creative future

18-April-2011
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Raj Kamble and John Hegarty on BBH’s creative future

A big announcement came from BBH India last week when the company announced the appointment of Raj Kamble as Managing Partner, finally filling the gap that Priti Nair’s exit had left. Now, BBH India has four Managing Partners – Subhash Kamath and Partha Sinha, Paul Ward who has been deputed back to the agency a month back and Raj Kamble.

Needless to say, John Hegarty is very optimistic on road ahead for BBH India. In a conversation with exchange4media, speaking on Kamble, Hegarty said, “We are very excited about Raj joining us. It is very important for us that the company has creativity at its heart. It was very unfortunate when Priti (Nair) decided to leave us but those things happen. I am really pleased we found Raj. I have always admired people who have crossed borders in some way or other. Great creative people do that because they cannot stay in the narrow way. Apart from the fact that Raj’s work is fantastic, he has physically crossed borders by working in the UK and the US. I believe that has made him a better creative person.”

Hegarty insisted that BBH’s target list is never about the size but of being the best agency. The role hence is cut out for Kamble. Speaking to exchange4media, he said, “In fact, 70 per cent of the job is done for me. John and the other founders have set the benchmark - it is too high and now it is up to us to live up to it. BBH has maintained its culture and identity and all we have to do is be honest, have integrity, work hard and enjoy what we are doing.”

How do they view industry conversations that BBH has yet not taken off in India? Hegarty observed, “That is the kind of fairly stupid thing people would say because they have very short memories. But in two years time, they would look at BBH and say, my god it is absolutely amazing, I wish I cud get a job there, and they would have to change their mind. When I started working in TBWA\London in 1973, it was difficult. We were pushing water uphill. It took us five years to settle down and all of a sudden, the work started coming out.”

Kamble added here, “Even the biggest of agencies are facing tough times and shutting down offices. BBH rides on culture. BBH is not a person, it is an idea and idea is bigger than anything else. BBH was the reason I have come back. Many agencies in India had asked me to come back as NCD and similar offers but that was not tempting enough. I am a creative person and I don’t want to sell my soul. When John Hegarty called me, I told him you are the only agency in the world that is constantly doing good work. The secret is the agency’s culture, and I want to be a part of this culture.”

And what’s Kamble target ahead? He replied, “My only target is that we would be proud to be where we are.” A sentiment echoed by Hegarty.

With Kamble, BBH too has made a senior creative appointment from outside India. Some of the earlier examples are JWT Delhi’s Adrian Miller and BMB Madison’s Patrick Burns. Is there a dearth of senior creative talent in India? Hegarty replied, “It is the other way round. People are looking at India now and saying this is the place to be. Why did people go to New York once? India is the place now with great opportunities. People talked about India and China but I have always believed India would be more exciting – this is why you are seeing senior talent opting to work in India.”

Kamble is still in the process of moving base to India. He was at present based in New York.

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