Campaign India Team
Sep 24, 2008

What’s causing the entrepreneurial forays?

If the sign of a healthy industry is the state of its entrepreneurial spirit, Indian Adland has never had it so good. The number of ad folks who have recently given up that fancy side cabin with “the view” and fancy network agency trappings to start their own venture tells its own story. Agnello Dias and Santosh Padhi, Pranesh Misra, Sajan Raj Kurup, Pushpinder Singh, Ramki, Zarvan Patel and Prashant Godbole and Pradeep Guha.

What’s causing the entrepreneurial forays?

If the sign of a healthy industry is the state of its entrepreneurial spirit, Indian Adland has never had it so good. The number of ad folks who have recently given up that fancy side cabin with “the view” and fancy network agency trappings to start their own venture tells its own story. Agnello Dias and Santosh Padhi, Pranesh Misra, Sajan Raj Kurup, Pushpinder Singh, Ramki, Zarvan Patel and Prashant Godbole and Pradeep Guha. The entrepreneurial bug seems to have bitten even Arun Arora, who started his own education focused venture after retiring from Bennett Coleman & Co.   

Charles Cadell, CEO, Lowe India says that the recent trend is clearly indicative of the number of opportunities that abound in the industry for the entrepreneurially minded combined with the consistent growth prospects of the market. He adds, “Our business does seem to be at some sort of watershed at present with the ever faster flow of international players either entering for the first time or buying bigger stakes in local operations. This creates a number of new circumstances allowing senior players options to play their own game in terms of having the seed capital to go solo and having new clients with new needs against which to work.”

Pranesh Misra,who quit as global director, marketing and accountability at Lowe Worldwide earlier this year to start his own knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) company Brandscapes, feels the numbers don’t add up to more than a trickle at the moment. He adds, “In recent times, there seems to be a renewed entrepreneurial orientation amongst advertising people in India, and many are venturing outside of the profession. Though I think it is still more a trickle than a trend.”

Speaking of the factors leading to an environment that is seeing this rise in independent start-up agencies, Sajan Raj Kurup, chairman and chief creative officer, CreativeLand Asia says, “There are many triggers and they can be as simple as the kind of pressure that is there, the way agencies treat people. Talent is not handled as delicately as it should be and most pay attention to rules and not to people. Young people in India today are much more open to experiments. According to me, a twenty year old network and a two year old agency stand at the same platform.”
He feels that fresh independent shops have an advantage over older network agencies, as they can start a communication culture that is contemporary and relevant, while the old networks, in his opinion, are based on obsolete values.

Kartik Iyer and Praveen Das, creative directors and founders of Happy, say that the trend of creative shops being set up has always been there and that the advertising pie in India is large enough to support an increasing number of entrepreneurs . They add, “Even when you look at creative excellence on a global scale, it has been delivered by creative shops. Be it a KesselsKramer or a Mother. New creative shops come up in ‘seasons’. All it takes is a bunch of guys who believe they can do it and it ends up inspiring others. Even if every creative person starts off alone today, there is a client for every single one of them.”

What the experts say

 Charles Cadell, CEO, Lowe India 
“The recent spate of Indian moves is clearly indicative of the number of opportunities that abound in our business for the entrepreneurially minded combined with consistent growth prospects of the market. Combined with this, our business does seem to be at some sort of watershed at present with the ever faster flow of International players either entering for the first time or buying bigger stakes in local operations. This creates a number of new circumstances allowing senior players options to play their own game in terms of having the seed capital to go solo and having new Clients with new needs against which to work.”

 

 Kartik Iyer, creative director/ founder, Happy 

“Work is becoming redundant across the industry. Good work itself has gotten into a cliche. Also big agencies operate as corporations. They are here to do business. They charge Rs. 1000 to burn a CD. We just want to do good work and give CDs for free. The hierarchy of ownership over a good idea is a big killer. People within the same agency sometimes don’t know the truth behind who was really thought of as a winner. The other reason why shops are erupting today is because there are also many new entrepreneurs in the market today who are looking for “Great ideas for less”. It sucks. But you got to start somewhere.”

 Pranesh Misra, founder, Brandscapes Worldwide
“Advertising globally has been a bastion of entrepreneurship. Many agencies were named after their founder entrepreneurs – Ogilvy, J W Thompson, DDB, BBH to name a few. Rediffusion, Capital, Enterprise, Nexus and Triton are some Indian ones that still flourish, though some have been acquired.  Advertising tends to attract risk takers with curious minds. Experience exposes people to numerous products and services – and a close encounter with consumers. Thus advertising prepares people better for entrepreneurship.  With a slowdown,  one can expect a greater flow out of advertising into entrepreneurship.”
 

  Pushpinder Singh, chairman, Saints and Warriors 
“Entrepreneurship in advertising is well documented as a cyclical phenomenon. Every now and then good agencies grow elephantine and disconnect from the new realities of the marketplace, individuals capitalize on this opportunity with new shops. In time, they grow big as well and the cycle repeats itself.  The primary driver behind the trend is the fact that many Indian businesses across categories find a disconnect with large agency culture. Money also is a factor. Entrepreneurship is a sign of a maturing market. As Martin Sorell says, what keeps him awake at night is not rival networks but that entrepreneur in emerging markets.”

 Sajan Raj Kurup, chairman and CCO, CreativeLand Asia 
“There are many triggers and they can be as simple as the kind of pressure that is there, the way agencies treat people, talent is not handled as delicately as it should be and most pay attention to rules and not to people. Young people in India today are much more open to experiments. A  twenty year old network and a two year old agency stand at the same platform. The lines are blurred. So whether you are a part of an old network or a new agency, you are on the same platform. You have the same future as far as the future of communication goes. I feel we have an advantage as we can start a communication culture based on today.”
 

 

 

 

Source:
Campaign India