Happy route to success

26 Jul,2012


By Tuhina Anand


When they are not playing successful admen, Kartik Iyer and Praveen Das, are dutiful husbands and loving fathers. Five years back, the duo joined hands to launch Happy Creative Services and there’s been no looking back since. Interestingly, the duo had never partnered before and their first work together was at Happy. What makes Happy an interesting story is that these men were no celebrities before they started their venture unlike many on the entrepreneurial road who have reached at the helm of an agency and then decide to go on their own. So pretty much a risk that Iyer and Das took but a risk definitely worth taken.


L to R: Praveen Das, Kartik Iyer

Happy was first noticed for its work on Lee which came to them when they set shop. Since then they have gone on to do many notable work. Their association with the e-commerce behemoth Flipkart has won them both awards and accolades. In fact, Flipkart works have catapulted Happy if one may say in a ‘Happy state’ as these works have been noticed by many. Besides, the works have helped Flipkart in debunking many myths related to online shopping and the biggest achievement being that it helped in creating the brand Flipkart. If people know of Flipkart today the credit to a large extent also goes to Happy for helping in creating the brand.


Mr Iyer in fact pointed that with changing economies and new age companies being launched, there has emerged a need for new age agencies. He said, “The world is changing at a rapid pace.  While there are old school companies that are married to their agencies and the creative team might come and go or the quality may differ but it would not impact their relationships as they are pretty much set in stone. But in an era when new businesses are being born not from HUL and Tata, there also is a need for new age people and new age thinking.”


“In any market one is willing to try anything that is new but the key is that you should be good to succeed. Initially when we launched, I think we were like a new packet of juice in the market, every client wanted to meet us especially after the Lee campaign but the challenge is to take new businesses and delivering quality work which is superior and consistent.”


The Bengaluru-based agency has recently expanded its footprint to Mumbai. However, the decision to be in Mumbai has to purely do with the fact that it helps them in servicing their clients better who are based in the city. The base camp very much remains Bengaluru. In fact, their inspiration to set shop and be successful in the laidback city of Bengaluru which is known more for its IT than its creative prowess comes from the city’s other success story- Nirvana Films. Nirvana has done several successful big brands films even though they are based in Bengaluru  so pretty much a good example to follow for Happy.


When Messrs Iyer and Das who were both at Ogilvy decided to start on their own, they pretty much didn’t have a plan in place but oodles of energy and enthusiasm. They chatted and discussed for almost 30 days and from there emerged Happy. Mr Iyer said, “That’s the secret of our story that we didn’t have any plan. But yes as we talked, we became clear how we will be different, what will be our offering, what will be special about us and that’s how a broad framework emerged. Even today we are totally open to learn and adapt. I think the uninformed choice is much better which we followed when we started.”


Mr Das, the quieter of the duo however added, “It’s definitely not been an easy run but both of us are ambitious as well as driven to make Happy happening. If we were to start all over again today and knowing what all we had to do in the process, I don’t know if we could do it.”


The agency takes pride in the fact that almost 80 percent of their clients have come back to them for more work in future. As any business, there have been hits and few misses but the key has been to move away as quickly as possible once realizing that it’s a bad deal they have got into.


On the Happy edge, Mr Iyer pointed, “We try and work on big ideas. We are good at building brands and that’s our forte.”


Mr Das too added, “There is no bigger joy than creating a brand from scratch. We can always do campaigns for existing brands but to create something new is where we excel and that is our difference. We bring enthusiasm and new energy to brands we work on.”


The agency has 35 people on board and that’s been a conscious decision on their part to not grow mindlessly but be small and be involved personally with their clients brands. Focus being to deliver work that is result-oriented after all that is what matters – creativity that is geared towards achieving results for the brand.


As for the duo and their equation with each other, as Mr Iyer puts, “There are no arguments or fights, that’s not a culture we endorse in our agency. We listen to each other but there are no ego clashes. If there were any, we wouldn’t be Happy people!”


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