Preeti Hoon
Apr 29, 2024

Overcoming 'big agency syndrome' and why it's time to put the fun back in advertising: Samir Datar gets candid with Campaign

All-female strategy teams are in, 100-page pitch decks are out. With Samir Datar leading The Crayons Network's strategic initiatives, the agency is not only transforming its operational approach, but also successfully attracting new clients. Here, Datar shares these insights and more.

In 2020, when the marketing world was grappling with the impact of a global pandemic, The Crayons Network found a new direction under Samir Datar, who joined as chief strategy officer. Soon, he became instrumental in transforming the agency’s operational style and its future market perception.

Four years later, Datar's resolve remains strong. Under his leadership, the agency has recently broadened its client base, adding notable names such as Chola MS, National Skill Development Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation, BPTP, Tata Sons, and expanding its work with Som Distillers.

Aside from introducing an all-female strategy team, phasing out dense pitch decks in favour of idea-driven pitches, and shifting the agency’s focus from account management to strategy, this strategic pivot has also altered how the agency approaches and secures new clients.

In a candid interview, Datar discusses (for the first time) the loss of the significant Air India account following its acquisition by The Tata Group, and how the agency was excluded from the pitch. He also shares his insights on overcoming the 'big-agency syndrome', shedding the 'government agency' label, and evolving the agency's business acquisition strategies.

Datar also expresses his views on the challenges facing the advertising industry, cautioning young professionals against treating advertising merely as a job. Instead, he urges them to deeply engage with the field, warning that the future of advertising could be "bleak" without such commitment.


Campaign India

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