When we started the agency in 2002, we were in the middle of a mini-recession of sorts. It wasn’t good times for independents or even smaller agencies with network support; people were shutting shop. Many of the entrepreneurs of the 80’s and 90’s were exiting the space.
People told us it wasn’t the right time to do set up an independent. They said it was the era of globalisation. I’m not going to lie here and say that we didn’t get affected by all that we heard; that we braved those views with conviction that we would make it. We were scared. But it was too late; we were in too deep already. We managed the agency from month to month. Then we started looking at things quarter to quarter. And then we started planning for half the year. For the first five years, it was only about survival.
As we came through that period, we began to grow. We are at a place today, where we can’t complain - with a body of work, brands we’ve built and clients we have worked with and are working with, to show what we have achieved. And we will not make the mistake of forgetting the people who lent us a shoulder to lean on and supported us as we climbed up, especially during those early years. Now, we want to be those supporting shoulders for people who wish to create; and hence The Create Project.
The first question we got asked about the project was why we weren’t focused on the advertising space. Some of the most creative ideas and projects, also awarded at advertising festivals, aren’t advertising ideas.
And like we were starting off ten years ago, there are many, many budding entrepreneurs. With a little bit of support and direction, they can change the dynamics of this market that is under served when it comes to entrepreneurship. India is a fantastic market for entrepreneurship, if done right.
We have nothing against advertising – it has given us all we have, and it is still what we love doing. But why restrict the scope of what we want to be remembered for – for creating even a handful of the creators of tomorrow? The fact is, while all of us in advertising and media would like to believe that we are the movers and shakers of the universe, a reality check would show us our place in the universe. We advertising folks are wonderfully creative people, but there are also others who are creating – and can create – the next big idea.
Ideas are all around us. Very soon after I tweeted about the project, I got a call routed to me through the office landline. It was from a Mumbaikar who was inspired by the entire Green Ganesha movement. He explained to me that he has come up with this plant, which can be treated to take shape of a Ganesha. So when it’s time for Ganpati Puja, you simply keep this literally green Ganesha at home, and when it’s time to immerse the idol, it doesn’t harm the water body. Now, this is in the realm of horticulture. We would rather use our goodwill earned over all these years to get a specialist from the field, to evaluate if this project can be brought to life, can be sustainable as a business, and can make a substantial difference to the environment. And no - we’re not doing this so that we can become the advertising agency of projects such as these.
Another question we get asked is why we aren’t doing advertising to promote the project. The entrepreneur who is incubating an idea in his mind is vary of those looking to ride on his success. We have partnered successfully with several clients who are first generation entrepreneurs. From experience, we know that we need to demonstrate that we are there to serve him. We’ve tried consciously to remove every edge that reeks of commercial exploitation, to welcome those ideas that can be brought to life.
If you have one, please write in. We’ll help you create it. And we assure you, the idea, and the business, will remain yours. We’re in this to create something that people will remember us by, as I said earlier. Besides our advertising, that is.