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Advertising Agencies in Mumbai

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Most of the big agencies in Mumbai are part of global networks and most networks have an outlet in Mumbai but there are also some smaller Indian agencies as well...

Advertising Agencies in Mumbai

Advertising Agencies in Mumbai

Most of the big agencies in Mumbai are part of global networks and most networks have an outlet in Mumbai but there are also some smaller Indian agencies as well. LBBOnline spoke to Madison, a great local shop and DDB and also to BMB which has recently entered into a partnership in Mumbai. While Mumbai is the centre of Indian advertising, there is now also work (and agency offices) in Delhi and Chennai. We wanted to find out for ourselves what aspects of business are different in this exciting market and to check out the country’s growing reputation for creative work.  India has won gold Lions and has earned mention in the Gunn Report. This is a market on the up, with everything to play for and with the advantage that, as Pat Burns of BMB says, “brands can grow and define themselves in a way which those in Europe can only imagine”. For Mumbai agencies, the sky’s the limit and they feel that they have the creative chops to compete on the world stage. Adds Burns: “There's a very real hunger for creativity, as shown by India's increasingly muscular showing in international awards”. We were excited to see that the world has turned its attention to this emerging market.


We put a set of questions to Prabha Prabhu, CEO of BMB Madison, and to Rajeev Raja, National Creative Director of DDB Mudra. You can also read more from Pat Burns of BMB about their new partnership with Mumbai company Madison.


Q&A with Prabha Prabhu, CEO BMB Madison Advertising Pvt Ltd

Madison World is a 22 year old diversified communications group with 20 units across 9 specialized functions in Advertising, Media, Out-of-Home, PR, Rural, Retail, Entertainment, Mobile, Events and Sport; employing over 800 communication professionals across in India, Thailand and Sri Lanka.
 

LBBOnline: Tell us a little about the new venture between you and BMB London. How and why did this come about?

Prabhu: It is a 50:50 [partnership] between BMB and Madison World. With the growing reputation and size of Madison Media, the Madison brand became associated [only] with Media.  [The perception was that] Madison Creative [was no longer] an agency with good creative capabilities. I want our Creative reputation to be as solid as our Media reputation and we realised we needed a strong creative personality with a reputation that can counter Sam’s (Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director of Madison World) media reputation. Trevor [Beattie] and BMB fit the bill.
 

LBBOnline: Tell us a bit about your role(s)?

Prabhu: I am responsible for managing BMB India. Trevor is responsible for building our Creative capabilities and reputation.
 

LBBOnline: Which aspects of your country’s culture stand out in the advertising? Is there a genre of work that your city is known for?

Prabhu: We have varied and rich culture that differs by State. Depending on where the ad is running, or where the brand is strong, we draw upon that culture. For example, when we do a national ad, we often use the culture [or the majority], which is mainly Hindi speaking audiences in North and West, or draw upon Bollywood. If it is a regional campaign, we draw upon [the State in question’s] culture and its nuances (i.e. Rajashthani, Gujarati, South Indian, etc.).
 

LBBOnline: Are spots regional or national? Is there any regional advertising?

Prabhu: Spots are done in quite a few languages - minimum 6 languages. The Master is in Hindi. Whilst the script is often the same, good ads never do a literal translation in languages. Even in ads using celebrities, some big brands replace the national celebrity with local celebrities which generally works very well.
 

LBBOnline: Are there any issues you come up against often working on creative in your country?

Prabhu: Very often in the ad-film, justice is done to the national ad, done in the Hindi language. But [due to] cost considerations, regional ads are [simply] adaptations and the effectiveness suffers. So it is very important for advertisers and agencies to be conscious [of] this. Also [often] the master 30 second ad [does justice to the campaign] but shorter edits don’t get as much attention, although these get the most broadcast time.
 

LBBOnline: Is your agency international in outlook or is most of your work specific to your country?

Prabhu: Most of the work we create is specific to our country. But we believe we have the skill sets to produce international standard quality.
 

LBBOnline: Is it important to the work you do at your agency that a local director shoot the spot in order to capture subtle cultural nuances?

Prabhu: It depends on the script. If the script is soaked in “Indianness”, we would definitely want an Indian director. However if the film is more international like the one we did for one of our clients recently, it helps to have an international director.
 

LBBOnline: What value do you put on winning awards? And which are more important, awards for creativity or effectiveness?

Prabhu: Awards are key to any creative agency. They keep the agency motivated and charged. However it is important for us that the award winning work also works in the market place.
 

LBBOnline: What percentage of the work your agency does is traditional advertising and what other types of work do you do to get your client’s brands out there?

Prabhu: Today it is difficult to draw a line like that. Whilst the traditional part seems larger because majority of spends are on that, actually a lot of other types of work are used for almost all clients like digital, events, ambient, in- flight, DJ mentions, street plays, etc. The volume of work done in the latter area is much more but unfortunately it is not always remunerative for the agency to do.
 

LBBOnline: What is the typical length of a TV spot? Is there a hero 60” with cutdowns?

Prabhu: The hero is often a 30 second with cutdown edits. Very, very few brands do a 60 second spot as master.
 

LBBOnline: Who buys the media locally - creative or a media agency?

Prabhu: Most of the big clients today buy through media agencies. Some of the newer entrepreneurs do buy through their advertising agency which does both creative and media. Some local clients buy media directly.
 

LBBOnline: Do spots from your region tend to be broadcast outside of the country, or continent?

Prabhu: A bit. Very little. More often some successful concepts are exported abroad.
 

LBBOnline: How do you engage with other agencies in your network? Is it important?

Prabhu: Very often it is difficult since they are seen as competitors. Even if you do network, you don’t get or reveal information to each other.
 

LBBOnline: What percentage of your work is from global accounts (i.e. accounts that are held by your network)? And what percentage is purely local work that was won locally?

Prabhu: As of now 100% is local work won locally
 

 


Q&A with Rajeev Raja, National Creative Director of DDB Mudra

LBBOnline: Tell us a bit about your role?
Raja: I am National Creative Director of DDB Mudra. As a result I am responsible for the creative output of DDB India, the advertising agency; Tribal DDB India, the interactive and new media agency; DDB Health and Lifestyle, the health & lifestyle communications agency, and Rapp, the data driven marketing services agency.

LBBOnline: Which aspects of your country’s culture stand out in the advertising? Is there a genre of work that your city is known for?
Raja: Various aspects of my country’s culture stand out in our advertising. As a nation we are discovering our sense of humour and are learning to laugh at ourselves. One sees a lot of this particular brand of humour in more and more of our communication. Emotion and relationships are an intrinsic part of our social fabric and will continue to be despite all the technological and lifestyle advances happening. This too features a lot in our communication. Overall there is a particular tonality and expression that is beginning to form which gives Indian advertising a distinct voice. As far as my city is concerned, Mumbai has always been the trendsetter in Indian advertising and continues to be so.
 
LBBOnline: Are there any issues you come up against often working on creative in your country?
Raja: Well, we often work on budgets that are a fraction of what our international counterparts work on. But in typical Indian style, the advertising creative fraternity has made the best of this by ensuring that the idea drives the communication and not execution alone. Other than this we’re on pretty even keel.
 
LBBOnline: Is your agency international in outlook or is most of your work specific to your country?
Raja: My agency being DDB Mudra is certainly global in its outlook. Many of our processes are those of DDB. At the same time, our communication in India does not simply adapt global ideas and release them here. We create fresh, exciting India-specific communication for a variety of brands including Volkswagen, J&J and Bajaj Allianz to name a few.
 
LBBOnline: Is it important to the work you do at your agency that a local director shoot the spot in order to capture subtle cultural nuances?
Raja: There’s no hard and fast rule that a local director must shoot all commercials. It’s horses for courses, and we work with local as well as international directors. Since we have complete creative control of every project we can insure cultural relevance in our communication whoever we work with.
 
LBBOnline: What value do you put on winning awards? And which are more important, awards for creativity or effectiveness?
Raja: Awards are very important but can become self-defeating and hollow if that’s the only aim in your advertising life. The greatest joy is doing real work that is applauded by clients, consumers, your peers and the award jury alike. Awards for creativity and awards for effectiveness are the same thing in my book. Both need creativity at the end of it.

LBBOnline: How seriously do local agencies take the International award shows?

Raja: We take Cannes pretty seriously. It is an important global benchmark for creativity and we respect that. Yes, it is important for us to meet creatives from other countries and come away with fresh perspectives.
  
LBBOnline: What percentage of your work is from global accounts (i.e. accounts that are held by your network)? And what percentage is purely local work that was won locally?
Raja: Almost a 50-50 ratio of global and local accounts.



Q&A With Pat Burns, Creative Director BMB India
 

LBBOnline: Why have BMB set up in Mumbai as your next office?

Burns: BMB have set up in Mumbai as our third office because it's a market of enormous potential. Looking at the world in purely economic terms, it's an opportunity that can't be missed.  As the world's largest democracy, it's commercially unmatched.


However, we'd be missing the point if we thought that that's why we should choose India as our newest home.  It's also a country of unrivalled culture and heritage, and the ambition and enthusiasm for the present and the future on show are enviable. The warmth and optimism of its people are likewise.  It's an immensely seductive and energetic place.  It's the future.  We feel that we can be happy and successful here, although we do of course have a huge amount to learn; we recognise that it's not going to happen quickly or easily.


LBBOnline: What do you think the opportunities are there?

Burns: The opportunities are extraordinary.  There's a very real hunger for creativity, as shown by India's increasingly muscular showing in international awards.  There's a vast range of clients with a hunger of their own.  As an emerging market, brands can grow and define themselves in a way which those in Europe can only imagine.


I hope that we can provide some of that definition, and want to bring a little bit of BMB to Mumbai.  I think the ethos of BMB is very well suited. We're an agile, enthusiastic bunch, who like to approach everything with a small agency mentality.  We've always tried to act like a start-up, with spontaneity and flexibility and a sense of fun, even now we're more than five years old.  We'll take opportunity by the hand and problems on the chin, and hope to make a mark on this huge and dynamic city.


Personally, I'll be trying to encourage innovation and originality, to find ways of advertising which people won't be expecting and won't be used to.  Obviously, different clients' needs are varied, but I want to give them solutions which take them outside their comfort zone and into places where exciting things happen.  Run-of-the-mill, background advertising physically bores me.  Drives me nuts.  I just don't see the point.


LBBOnline: How important to you was it to work with Madison to put this together?

Burns: The partnership with Madison and Sam (Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director of Madison World) is indispensible.  His knowledge and experience and connections give us a huge head start.  Not only that, but having a bright and talented team already in place and raring to go means that if we don't hit the ground running, we're doing something wrong.


I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that it simply wouldn't have been possible without this partnership.


For me, it's a daunting challenge, a step into the void, and the support I'll need and which I'm sure I'll get from it isn't a nice extra, it's an absolute necessity.

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lbbonline.com, Sat, 20 Nov 2010 15:00:00 GMT