Grey area: Naresh Gupta, co-founder and managing partner, Bang in the Middle

Ex-Grey ad folk reminisce about their time at the agency with Grey Group set to fold into AKQA

Nov 25, 2020 09:44:00 AM | Article | Campaign India Team

Campaign India is running a multi-piece series featuring ex-Grey ad folk. Here, they reminisce about their time at Grey Group, their fondest memories and learnings, and share their thoughts on brand Grey ceasing to exist in a few months.  
Today, we have Naresh Gupta, co-founder and managing partner, Bang in the Middle (BITM), remembering his stint at the agency. Gupta spent eight years – from 2000 to 2008 – at Grey, and was the vice president, strategy and planning for Grey South Asia when he moved on. Excerpts from the conversation:
How did you feel upon knowing that Grey as a brand won’t exist after a while?
I felt really sad. Grey was a nimble, flexible agency in 2000, and somehow, it looks that they have lost that flexibility. The overall operative environment for agencies has changed, and I feel that Grey could have moved on. It was a really fabulous place.
In terms of professional growth, what did your time spent at Grey mean to you?
When I joined Grey, I was told that as an agency, "we have no idea what to do with a strategic planner. You are here because a client has insisted we set up planning as a function. If you ever achieve something worthwhile, your name will be on the walls of the agency."
Well, I worked there for eight years and grew to handle multiple geographies. However, the real thing that Grey did was give me enormous personal and professional freedom to do things my way. This is one learning that I have taken with me and made a part of me. Grey let me challenge a lot of notions, created a lot of new opportunities and found me many friends.
Could you share some of your fondest memories at Grey?
My most cherished memory is the three individual knowledge pieces that were created when I was there. Among them, Eye on Asia became the regional piece, done across 16 countries. Winning Asia’s only Euro Effie for Incredible India, being a part of the team that created India Shining, and running workshops across the region are all things that I cherish from my time at Grey.
What about Grey’s ethos and philosophy did you carry with you to your subsequent workplaces?
Grey made me learn not to be scared of failure and never to be rigid. It encouraged me to try new things. This is roughly the culture BITM has, too. BITM can do anything and we always find a way. And that’s because we love failure, we learn from it. I value personal freedom; it’s what we give in abundance to those at BITM.
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