They’re back. Well kinda…

21 Jun,2017

Sunil Gautam (left) with Jaideep Shergill


By A Correspondent


After exiting MSLGroup in end-2014, PR industry captains Sunil Gautam and Jaideep Shergill launched Pitchfork Partners, a communications advisory with no direct linkages in executing PR or advertising functions. Work was farmed out to various agencies, and Pitchfork also worked with specialised communications specialists from elsewhere in the world.



A quick Q&A with Jaideep Shergill, co-founder, Pitchfork Partners

One remembers our interview with both of you when you launched, and the clear idea then was that you would not get into an execution mode on routine communications activity. But with the acquisition of Seven and the launch of Archer Freres, you’re now part of the PR brigade. I know you’ll had mentioned that you may acquire or tie-up with specialised service providers, but is this a ‘ghar waapsi’ of sorts?
As the name suggests, Pitchfork Partners Strategic Consulting is and will be a Strategy firm across Brand & Corp comms and Business issues. Having said this, we have continued to support our clients who are front and centre for us with their execution needs by creating an ecosystem of partners across PR, Internal comms, CSR comms, Digital and Social media, Research, Creative, Design to name a few. This model has served us well and will continue.

Archer Frères has been set up as part of one of the big areas we wanted to support in our original raison d’être of supporting and mentoring colleagues in the industry. The Seven Comms team has also been a part of out ecosystem since the beginning and we are only taking the relationship to the next level. The business will operate separately and its likely that we may have other partners in our ecosystem move to the same stature as Seven has now with the launch of Archer Frères, so watch this space!


How would you say has the PR industry changed from 2014-end when you’ll exited PR full-time to now?

We continue to believe that there is a huge untapped opportunity and we must continue to better our lot. In that sense, I am not sure too much has changed.


What’s the aspiration for Archer Freres now that the two ‘maharathis’ are promoting it. Grow it to something like a Hanmer and eventually sell it? Or would you like to be a boutique agency, as it is now.

Archer Frères will remain a boutique. Sunil and I are big believers in the boutique model and that’s how it will stay.


One still remembers the early days of Hanmer, and the way it grew is by hiring top talent, and one of them included you, Jaideep. Are you looking at doing the same with Archer?

Archer Frères already has great talent, having said this, we will always continue to groom talent and bring them in when we find them


You’ve mentioned that you are looking at other acquisitions too, not necessarily in PR. Which are these domains going to be, and what’s the timeframe?

All I will say is that you will need to watch this space. Soon enough!


So what’s with this love for names… first Hanmer & Partners and now Archer Freres?
All credit to Sunil. He is the one with the names! Its fun though. We have always loved having unusual naming conventions starting with Hanmer & Partners, Pitchfork Partners and now Archer Frères.


While there were many large agencies whom Pitchfork assigned wrok to for its clients, one of the smaller ones was Seven Communications. And now, via a communique on Tuesday, Gautam and Shergill announced the acquisition of Seven Communciations and have rechristened it Archer Frères Communications LLP. It will be a full-service public relations (PR) and communications firm with Seven promoter Priyanka Shetty at the helm. Gautam and Shergill will play a strategic role, mentoring theArcher Frères team andits clients, notes a communqiue.


Archer Frères will now be part of the Pitchfork Partners family, spanning the full-service gamut – from planning to media relations and content across corporate communications and brand PR.The clients currently include BBCWorldwide, Mogae Media, Zeotap, Miracle Foundation, Engage4more and Laqshya Event IP.


Said Gautam and Shergill, in a statement: “We are excited to support the PR and communications ecosystem in India and privileged to mentor such a great team.After setting up Pitchfork Partners, we had been deliberating how to tap opportunities in the marketing services industry bysupporting young entrepreneurs.We hope that Archer Frères is the first of many such ventures we can support, mentor and invest in.”


Meanwhile, when asked whether this could be considered a return of the power duo to PR, Shergill told MxMIndia that Gautam and he were set to announce a slew of other acquisitions, not necessarily in the PR space.


He also clarified that while the Seven acquisition is 100 per cent, Pitchfork will continue to farm out work to other agencies as well, as in the past.


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