As they say about the opera, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. In this context, all the paperwork required for TBWA to own 100% of their India arm is now done.
It’s the end of an era in Indian advertising as George John, chairman of TBWA India, signs on the dotted line to make his exit from the agency that he built.
He didn’t do this alone. With him were two partners, N Krishnan and Kurien Mathews. Krishnan continues at TBWA in a professional capacity while Mathews moves on to a currently undisclosed destination.
“It will be with some pride and sense of fulfillment that I walk into my retirement years, because the agency I founded 20 years ago is today a very robust one. When the agency went through difficult times in early 2000, Keith Smith, President, TBWA\International, advised me to take charge, and put the agency back on track so that one day I can walk away with my head held high. That is what I am doing now and I can only thank Keith and my team for making it possible,” says John. “My partnership with Krishnan and Kurien was wonderful. It is also one of the longest in the history of Indian advertising. The ten year partnership with TBWA\Worldwide who played the role of a nurturing parent admirably and helped us in self-realisation, was the best thing that happened to us.,” adds John.
John leaves TBWA satisfied. “The India office is the second fastest growing TBWA\ office worldwide in the last four years,” he says.
Mathews, too, is in a mood to reminisce. “When we started Anthem in 1988, the world, and India, was a very different place. It was tough to be an entrepreneur. Today, I think we could be counted as one of the most successful agency start-ups in the last 20 years. It has been a terrific journey with lots of excitement, be it winning Sony in our 2nd year, or buying an agency our own size in our 6th year (Radeus), or becoming part of TBWA\ in our 10th year.”
Mathews is, predictably, tight-lipped on his plans. “After two decades of entrepreneurship, I cannot see myself any other way. There are so many interesting possibilities. I think the environment is just right for newer, more accountable solution providers and I am evaluating several options right now,” says Mathews .