Anil Thakraney: Full service agencies must return

07 Mar,2012

By Anil Thakraney


In my interview with Lodestar’s Shashi Sinha, we discussed how the advent of media buying global conglomerates has killed the media planner. Here’s a link to the interview, in case you missed it:


What gives me heart is that Shashi believes integration is the best way to work, and that he will re-start that structure in Interface. Good luck to him. That discussion also brought back memories of my days in advertising. When the client servicing, the creative team and the media planner would work under one roof and operate as one unit. And how that bonding facilitated many opportunities to conceptualize and execute cool media innovations for clients. Having quit the ad world a long time ago, I personally cannot even imagine working in an ad agency where there’s no media planner I can discuss ideas with. And nag her into making my crazy creatives come to life in the media. I shall go to the extreme and say that I consider the cutting off of the media function to be like an amputation, the loss of a limb.


In fact, so connected were we with the media planners back in my days as a young account exec at O&M (then called OBM), I vividly recall that one evening when the then fiery media chief, Rhoda Mehta, threw me out of her department, accusing me of spending too much time with the girls in the media. Yes, in those days the media department was packed with members of the fairer sex, and I must also confess it wasn’t just work that attracted many of us lads to that pretty department. So, Rhoda wasn’t exactly over-reacting, heheh.


On a serious note, it’s obvious that one of the reasons the industry produces such few media innovations is the break-down of the full service ad agency. A way has to be found to reverse things, and bring people back under a single roof. I am not sure how that can happen in these days of independent media buying outfits, and, therefore, we must all keenly observe how Shashi goes about things at Interface.


Like it happens in Karan Johar’s weepy flicks, the broken family must re-unite for the greater good.


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PS: Blast from the past! One cannot even imagine that a marketer would run such an advert in these times of militant feminism. The brand would get skewered on the streets. And what if this ad appeared on March 8, International Women’s Day?


The brand manager won’t live to tell his version of the story, haha.


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