Independent or align with a global network?

31 Jan,2014

 

While the advertising industry has been abuzz with rumours on Law & Kenneth selling a majority stake to Publicis Groupe since last year, there are mixed sentiments on yet another independent agency (that is not a part of an global media services network) succumbing to the pressures. We asked two agency heads – Sajan Raj Kurup who continues to be an independent and says he will never sell stake to a international superpower and Santosh Padhi whose Taproot aligned with Dentsu two years back for their views.

 

 

Sajan Raj Kurup, Founder & Creative Chairman, Creativeland Asia

 

While each agency will have its own reasons, how do you react to one more independent agency getting aligned with a big network?

Every agency has its reasons to sell. To each his own. As long as they are happy who are we to judge.

 

Is this something that you at Creativeland are also looking at now or eventually?

If I wanted to start a place to one day sell it as an advertising agency and cash out, I would called it adland. Fortunately or unfortunately, I am not adland. I am Creativeland. And I have a plan 🙂

 

In fact with each passing day I am lesser and lesser of an advertising agency. And I still enjoy what I am doing. There is a good chance I may fail and what an epic failure it would be. There is also a good chance I may succeed. But I am not thinking about it.

 

Some of the reasons why L&K decided to sell stake was to increase scale, get better funded and increase its set of clients. Is that something that’s a huge pull as the agency size grows?

Obviously scaling up and investments are a part of any business. Mine is no exception. I am not averse to conversation for strategic investments. But I am reluctant to talk with advertising networks. They are myopic. They don’t invest. They buy to kill and devour. Not to grow. That is not my game.

 

 

Santosh Padhi, Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Taproot India

 

Santosh Padhi

While each agency will have its own reasons, how do you react to one more independent agency getting aligned with a big network?

Different people have different needs and priorities, but in most cases coming together means strengthening your strength. Since I ran the recent Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, let me put the same analogy here :). On a long run you can decide to maintain a speed and decide to run the same speed throughout or you decide to speed up but run out of energy and momentum when you are pushing beyond your limit, where you need the right energy drink to add to your momentum and achieve the goals faster, without getting tired. It’s completely up to an individual or the agency to decide how fast one wants to finish the game.

 

Some of the reasons why L&K decided to sell stake was to increase scale, get better funded and increase its set of clients. Is that something that’s a huge pull as the agency size grows? Were these the reasons why Taproot sold stake to Dentsu?

While someone from L&K can address the issue of why they sold stake, we at Taproot joined hands with Dentsu for 2-3 reasons:

a.Management control, a creative agency should always have this as that reflects in your output. Other department support as we were only focusing on creative product and limited to just Mumbai, but at times clients do look for many necessary support and we did not want to lose business just because of the lack of it. Dentsu’s multiple offices and departments have been very handy for us.

 

b.Globally, Dentsu is an innovator when it comes to digital and sooner or later we all will be in this sea, and they will be of great help when India gets into such action.

 

And, most importantly, c. We felt comfortable at a human level and that’s very important in a people’s business

 

If there’s one advantage that you think Taproot has derived post Dentsu, what would it be?

It has been a wonderful two-year journey. We have worked together on many projects like Nurishco, Dulux, Himalaya etc. We complement each other very well.

 

 

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