Arati Rao
Aug 22, 2011

"Our Indian clients are showing no signs of cutting ad spends": TBWA's Keith Smith

Keith Smith, president, International, TBWA Group, talks about the Indian operations, the launch of Integer (the retail activation agency) in the near future, and whether global economic developments will influence what's happening in India

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Keith Smith, president, International, TBWA Group, was in Mumbai recently and discussed what's happening at TBWA India. One of the new developments expected is the official Indian launch of Integer, a promotional, retail and shopper marketing agency that is a sister concern of TBWA. In May this year, Sreejit Nair was appointed managing director of the division in India.   

On a question about whether TBWA India has been quiet off late, Smith said, ""I don't agree. We had some really high profile wins in the last year. We won the Mumbai International Airport pitch. Which was a very big pitch against a lot of agencies. We won business from Raymonds this year. So there have been very big Indian clients we've won as well as growing international clients, particularly Nissan Cars and Standard Chartered Bank. We have been very successful at what we have been doing but perhaps we haven't been in the news as much as we should; hopefully we can remedy that in the next few months as well. But our business has been very strong and that's been the most important and encouraging thing. And if you allied that with awards that we have been winning as well, it's been a very successful year for us so far."

The three focus areas for TBWA India would be creative, retail activation and digital. Elaborating on these, Smith said, "One is obviously our creative reputation, which has grown dramatically on the back of Yatra. And now we have people who are rated in the top creators in India. Second would be our retail strengths. We will be announcing very soon the start of Integer, our retail activation group, Which is already working behind the scenes in India. We will be officially announcing it with some significant client wins as well in the near future. And also growing our digital strength: I mean everybody in India and everybody around the world is looking to hire good digital talent. We are putting a lot of emphasis on that, because again this is where our clients are going. And we want to make sure, we get more than a fair share of the talent that exists in this market."

On the impact of global economic developments on India, Smith said, "I think that the economic problems that are going on in the US and Europe inevitably are going to have some effect on global clients. But we are looking at Asia Pacific - India, China, Korea and Australia - as major growth areas. Fortunately we have more than our fair share of Indian businesses now - only around 35% of  TBWA India's business is made up of international clients, the 65% who are Indian are showing no signs of cutting their ad spends at all at the moment."

Source:
Campaign India