Former DDB Mudra Group COO Pratap Bose and DDB Mudramax ED and president Mandeep Malhotra are set to announce the launch of their new venture in mid-June 2015. The agency has already been soft launched.
The new entity, which has not yet been named, will have at its core an outfit offering media planning and buying, OOH, rural marketing, experiential and activation, retail and shopper marketing, branded content and sports marketing, among key services.
“The vision is to create a ‘conglomerate of agencies’. No agency, especially in today’s social and digital age, can do everything by itself. We are in an era of collaboration. We will have core services on offer, but the idea is to collaborate, invest in companies, to build capabilities that make a great communication outfit,” said Bose, in conversation with Campaign India.
“We will grow organically and through partnerships and acquisitions the key areas of the business we have identified. Where we will clearly begin to start investing in other companies is in advertising and digital agencies. The idea is to build a plethora of services and create a value proposition for clients that is unbeatable in the market,” he added.
Joining him on the board of the new entity holding equal stake, alongside representatives from a private investor, will be Malhotra.
“I am a staunch and passionate believer in ‘Make in India’. I believe it is time for India to shine. I want to be part of making an agency that stands for this, an agency that we can be proud of. That’s the desire. To make an agency that builds relevant marketing solutions and not just ad campaigns. But there is no rush. I have 15 to 20 years of working life ahead of me,” said Malhotra.
The team size at launch, which is expected to be announced on 14 or 15 June 2015, will be around 40 people, said Bose. He added, “But we will be adding numbers quickly, and should be at 60 to 70 people on the rolls in six months of launch.”
Without denying media reports that indicate that a large part of the team will come from his former employer, Bose stated, “Essentially, people work with people; people with whom they have a very strong connect with professionally and emotionally. Sometimes, this emotional contract we have far outweighs the professional contract. I have always been a people’s person. Therefore there will be people who I have worked with who want to come on board. And they could be from anywhere. I have worked in more than one organisation in my 25 years in this industry.”
He refused to divulge names of more people coming on board at the new outfit.
At the heart of the new entity is media services. On the rationale, and not ruling out alliances on that front too, Bose explained, “I am a firm believer that media plays a very important role in your strategic approach with clients. When you talk about a marketing plan, clients would need a media perspective. Unfortunately in this country, when we think media, we think print, TV, radio and so on. A shopper interaction is as much media, and perhaps more relevant a media in some contexts. But to deliver a social media plan or a shopper marketing plan, you need to have a perspective on media overall.”
He cited the case of a creative head leading a media pitch, and moving the game from ‘rates’ to ‘value’.
Funding and acquisitions
Conversations with clients are afoot, said Bose, again without divulging specifics.
On the subject of funding, he said, “There are investors on board and we are in talks with more at various levels. We have the funding to start off with. We want to build a very strong brand and that is not built in six months. That is built with work, reputation that comes with it, and word-of-mouth. The new entity will be built on technology, processes, great creative and planning teams. Over the next six to nine months, we look forward to announcing new alliances, acquisitions, equity partnerships, towards that end of building a great brand.”