<b>Shailendra Singh</b>, Joint Managing Director, Percept Limited, <b>Harindra Singh</b> Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Percept Limited

<b>Harindra Singh:</b> Percept had been in the traditional services business wherein we came up with entertainment, media and communication solutions to help deliver on the client’s objective, such as traditional Advertising, PR, Events, Production, Branded Entertainment, Media buying and so on. But such a business is very transactional in nature i.e. once the job and billings are completed we move on to the next project, and so on and so forth.

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Dec 23, 2011 12:00 AM
<b>Shailendra Singh</b>, Joint Managing Director, Percept Limited<br><br>, <b>Harindra Singh</b> <br>Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Percept Limited

Harindra Singh: Percept had been in the traditional services business wherein we came up with entertainment, media and communication solutions to help deliver on the client’s objective, such as traditional Advertising, PR, Events, Production, Branded Entertainment, Media buying and so on. But such a business is very transactional in nature i.e. once the job and billings are completed we move on to the next project, and so on and so forth.

Harindra Singh laid the foundation of the country’s largest and one of its kind entertainment, media, communications conglomerate on January 2, 1984, when ‘Percept’ came into being as a full service advertising agency. Percept is today recognised as one of the leaders in the entertainment, media and communications domain. Today, Percept has a team of around 1,000 people across 62 offices in India and the Middle East; and has a capitalised billings of about Rs 26 billion (FY’11).

Having begun his career in 1980 at Interads, one of the top 10 advertising agencies then, Harindra rose from being a Management Trainee to a Regional Manager. He is today regarded as one of the thought leaders in the field of marketing communications. Harindra has been instrumental in making Percept a truly global organisation. He led the Percept partnership with Aegis Group Plc, a leading media company globally, with brands like Carat, Posterscope, Isobar, Vizium, amongst others; and with Hakuhodo Inc, the 8th largest advertising agency worldwide and the 2nd largest in Japan.

As the Founder-Promoter of Percept, it was his vision to build an indigenous organisation with global imprints. With network offices across 19 countries worldwide including the US, the UK, Japan and the Middle East, Percept is well on its way to being a globally competitive player in the entertainment, media and communications industry. He has played a key role in mapping out the growth strategy of Percept though the M&A route that brought in immense value into the business. He led the Acquisitions of Tiger Sports Marketing, Eventus, Swift, Imageads and the Merger of Bydesign with Imageads to create IBD Brands, a leading creative agency, today.

Shailendra Singh is the Joint Managing Director of Percept Limited. His expertise and contribution over the past two decades to the arena of Advertising, Sports, Talent, Movies and 360-degree communications are unparalleled.

Shailendra’s passion for innovative and creative communications with mass audiences translated into over 2,000 ad campaigns being rolled out from the Percept stable over the past two decades. He has received numerous national and international awards including the Promax BDA Awards, Graphis Advertising Awards, Abby Awards, ICE Awards and the Golden Awards of Montreaux.

His interests in the creative sphere in the entertainment genre drew him to research and led to the birth of Percept Pictures. Today, Percept is one of the leading corporates with a fully integrated value chain offering for film production, distribution and marketing. He foresaw the importance of creating, owning and marketing Intellectual Properties and created and launched a series of innovative and successful IPs in the Entertainment, Media and Communications arena, including Sunburn, Bollywood Live, Fight Nights, Champions of the World, Goa Super Sixes, Good Luck India and Slamfest.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Sai Prasanna, Harindra Singh and Shailendra Singh speak at length about the key factors behind Percept’s success, the major account acquisitions recently, and the road ahead…



Q. Regarding the events and activations, what brands are you taking care of and when will the promotions kick off?

Shailendra Singh: We are doing activations for clients who have been with us for long like MasterCard, Canon, Wrigley, L’Oreal Dabur and Birla Tyres. In fact, we have just completed the activity for a large 36-city activation for Birla Tyres to support their operation Bloom to increase their market share. We have also acquired some new accounts such as Samsung, Nerolac Paints, Sandvik, Gpi, Lava , MSD, Olympus ,MPS and Bihar Tourism, to name a few. We are also scaling our network in SAARC countries. We have recently done some work in Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Q. ‘Percept Activ’ was established last year to focus on activations. How has it fared over the past year? Name the significant accounts bagged and the successful promotions executed by Activ? Shailendra Singh: Earlier, Activations was a part of Percept Sports and Entertainment. We had done remarkably well over the past three years and the scope of work was increasing every day. The business was growing at 100 per cent, so we decided to start an entirely different SBU. We realised that this pie is very large and growing every day, moreover, the big media companies were investing hugely in buying out agencies. So we decided to get into this space dedicatedly. Worldwide BTL spends have been much higher compared to India, where it is still at a nascent 10–12 per cent, so there is tremendous potential for growth.

Q. What are your plans for the Sunburn festival? How do you plan to take it to a bigger platform? Harindra Singh: Sunburn has become a brand that’s larger than life and extends beyond just a three day fest in December in Goa. In 2009, Sunburn was ranked No. 1 in Asia and ranked as the ninth largest Music festival in the world by CNN. Sunburn has put Goa on the world map today and people come from all over the world to visit Goa in December to experience Sunburn. This festival has also helped the Tourism Board of Goa. Sunburn is now valued at $100 million to $150 million and is projected as a home grown brand that’s making waves the world over. Percept is also looking to open Sunburn – The Club in Mumbai. Moving ahead, Sunburn will become a platform to create star performers. Future plans for Brand Sunburn include taking the festival across Asia – Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and Bali. We will definitely cover two international Asian markets in 2012. Furthermore, brand extensions include Sunburn Club Lounges, Sunburn Merchandise, Sunburn Talent, Music Record and Video Labels, Sunburn Records, Sunburn Radio, a Sunburn Television property.

Q. Can you share some clients that Percept’s creative arm has recently won? What have been the account sizes and how has it affected Percept’s overall business? Harindra Singh: The creative arm of Percept has recently bagged many prestigious accounts like Canon Cameras, FedEx, Ackruti City, Wave, Logix, Next Deos, Sonalika, BSNL, Omani Farms, TVH, MyTVS, Hyosung and Sobha Developers, to name a few. With all the above mentioned clients, the creative arm’s revenue of Percept has gone up by 25 per cent.

Q. Please elaborate on the major accounts you are presently working on. What is the development so far and when are campaigns for these brands expected to take off? Shailendra Singh: Some of the big campaigns that are in the works include Ackruti City, Hyosung and Pantaloons. Other big accounts on which work is currently underway and expected to roll out early 2012 include Fedex, Sonalika, Toyota Innova and Canon.

Q. Percept completed 25 years in 2008. What are your future plans and focus areas? Harindra Singh: All along, Percept had been in the traditional services business, wherein we came up with entertainment, media and communication solutions to help deliver on the client’s objective, such as traditional Advertising, PR, Events, Production, Branded Entertainment, Media buying and so on. But such a business is very transactional in nature i.e. once the job and billings are completed we move on to the next project, and so on and so forth. It’s a never ending process and just a means of survival in this space. We realized that if we created solutions that were unique, innovative and needed by a TG, we could create properties that could become a pipeline of revenue for eternity. In other words, the focus was now shifting from simply creating only solutions for clients to simultaneously creating solutions for ourselves. These copyrighted solutions or Intellectual properties could be shared with clients and monetized for a long time to come. We have been in the ‘Ideas’ business for the past 27 years and have been instrumental in creating many ‘Intellectual Properties’ in the past for our clients. However, now it was time to consolidate our efforts in the area and take ownership of our Ideas. IPs were simply a further extension to our existing knowledge and expertise in the Entertainment, Media and Communications domain. Our vision was to convert them into Assets to create long term value for us as well as our Clients and Investors.

Percept also envisions a great future in Bollywood and aims to grow Bollywood Tourism in Mumbai. Percept’s Bollywood Corporation will include Bollywood Cafes, Walk-through, a Bollywood Hall of Fame, Bollywood Museums, Bollywood Theme Park, Bollywood Rides, Bollywood Sets, Bollywood Tours, Bollywood Memorabilia, Bollywood simulator experiences, 3-D virtual gaming booths, merchandising and a host of other experiential offerings to Bollywood aficionados. We have done all that we could do in terms of planning, in terms of creating the right concepts, and in terms of registering them. Now the next stage is implementation. Our partners will co-invest in creating the physical forms that we need and are upbeat about the revenue potential of Percept’s Bollywood Intellectual Properties.

While we are growing in the Intellectual Property space and creating experiences for our consumers and elevating events in India to another level, our affinity for the Media & Communications business has not reduced and we are setting new benchmarks and staying a step ahead of the game on all fronts of the Media & Communications business.

Q. Sunburn completes 5 years this year. What are some of the highlights of Sunburn 2011 celebrations? Shailendra Singh: For its 5th anniversary, Sunburn promises to be bigger and better than ever before. This year, Asia’s biggest festival brings all its cards to the table – a larger arena in Candolim, music that will be streamed live to over 80 countries, more high-profile DJs, music conferences and its ace of aces, British performing arts promoter Harvey Goldsmith. Over INR 30 crore worth investments will be poured in to the extravaganza in Candolim. There is a promise made to take technology to a level so amazing.

More than 40,000 people partied at Sunburn last year. More than double of that number is expected this year. Sets will have video mapping for the first time, this has never been seen in India before. There will be dry ice machines and an 80 foot stage, which is going to be a killer. Percept has roped in organisers of a multi-national annual dance music festival global gathering who are set to give the crowd a taste of their technology. The festival will be streamed live to over 80 countries with around 2 million pairs of eyeballs registering hits (approx). There will be four big stages and four small stages playing different genres of music. This will create a wholesome 360-degree music experience going.

In a bid to slash traffic jams omnipresent in that area during that time of the year, we have looked to Barclays Cycle Hire for inspiration – The public bicycle sharing system launched in London last year involves users hiring cycles, returning them to one of the many docking stations around the city and picking them up where they left off if required, all for a nominal fee.

There will be double the number of DJs playing on stage as compared to last year, a spiritual spa, and a larger arena with six entry-exit points. Even the website has been overhauled to feature tweets, posts, games, competitions and newsletters, as well as guides to the festival and Goa in general. A float parade from Candolim to Arambol and an amusement park are also work-in-progress to be a part of the atmosphere, albeit in different locations, the idea being to spread the festival, reduce congestion and involve more locals in the experience. The number of stalls at Sunburn has ballooned in four years – from ten to 90 – and they feature anything from eco-friendly items to vegan snacks. The number will cross 100 easily in 2011 with a wider range of F&B and offering keeping in mind the diversity of the audience attending. In addition, complete with top-of-the-line sound and sets, four stages, Sunburn Cafes, merchandise and lots of surprises, Sunburn 2011 is sure to give you the ultimate festival experience to blow your minds!

To inculcate environmental responsibility within youths, Sunburn has introduced an eco-friendly campaign entitled ‘Leave No Trace.’ The campaign will encourage Sunburn fans to celebrate the fest in an eco-friendly manner along with recycling garbage cans for plastic, glass and other items during and after the event. There will be festival pledges to support energy conservation when the entire lighting of the Sunburn event will be switched off for five minutes.



Q. Which are the prominent accounts whose media duties you are handling? What stage is the each campaign at and when are they expected to take off? Harindra Singh: Future Group, Panasonic, Sahara Group are a few of the biggest accounts we are handling media duties for. We have just finished a hectic festive season, wherein most of the brands of these corporates have been super active and received positive results from the campaigns. Future Group is unveiling a campaign for Big Bazaar’s 10th anniversary which is at the planning stage and is expected to break in November 2011; Sahara One is unveiling some big launches and is going to make its presence felt strongly in the media in the coming months. Panasonic has just finished a huge festive campaign for their LCD brands and will be launching their AC campaign soon which is in the planning stage. Other big accounts are Tata Motors, Panasonic, Levi Strauss, Specialty Group of Restaurants (Mainland China, Oh Calcutta etc.), Mahindra and Mahindra, Samsung India Pvt .td., ITC Foods, Tafe, Adani, Manforce and Bajaj Electricals.

Q. How is the growth in revenue from last year? Which arm of Percept has performed well and why? What growth rate you target this year? Harindra Singh: Today, the Percept Group comprises over 20 companies with a team of over 1,000 people across 62 offices in India and the Middle East with a capitalised billing of Rs 26 billion (FY’11). The focus is to make Percept a multi-dimensional media company. If we put our numbers in media and advertising together, I think we would be not too far away from achieving the target of Rs 4,000 crore billings. In media, our consolidated buying would be between Rs 1,500 crore and Rs 2,000 crore. In advertising, our revenues would be nothing less than Rs 150-200 crore, which means the capitalised billing is anywhere between Rs 1,000 crore and Rs 1,200 crore.

Q. What are the accounts that Percept’s media arm has recently acquired. What are the sizes of these accounts and what impact do they have on your business? Harindra Singh: Some of the key blue chip accounts acquired recently on the Media Planning & Buying front are Fedex, JSW Cement, Daiki, Samsung Mobile( Western Region), Tupperware, Sai Prasad Media and Sonalika Tractors. In the Out-of-Home business domain, some big account wins include Mahindra Two Wheelers, Wipro, Pashmina Developers, News Express, Marks n Spencers, USL, Tafe, ITC Foods, Samsung, Pepsi, Asia Motors, Lemon Mobiles, Agri Gold, Adani, Pepsi Foods, Manforce, Bajaj Electricals. The Digital Media side of our Media business has developed some innovative & unique solutions and services for the mobile and online marketplace. In 2011, the company specialized in Mobile VAS solutions and focused on providing rich media content to consumers. A strategic tie-up with Alcatel Lucent ensured its ability to expand the distribution of digital entertainment content to consumers across India on their mobile phones, Tablets, PCs and TVs. All of this has helped to augment the top-line Media business by around 15 per cent, and will go on to contribute more as they mature with us in terms of spends and growth.

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