Arati Rao
Jan 20, 2011

VIDEO: WATCH Campaign India in conversation with the Draftfcb Ulka team on the agency's 50 years in India

Arvind Wable, MG Parameswaran, Shashi Sinha, KS Chakravarthy (Chax), Niteen Bhagwat and Nagesh Alai respond to questions about the agency's success and the challenges it plans to take on in the future

wide player in 16:9 format. Used on article page for Campaign.

(L to R) Shashi Sinha, Arvind Wable, Nagesh Alai, KS Chakravarthy,
Niteen Bhagwat and MG Parameswaran

Ulka Advertising was founded on February 1, 1961 by Bal and Ann Mundkur, and 50 years down the journey (which included FCB acquiring 51% stake in 1997, and Draftfcb acquiring the remaining 49% in 2007) seems a good time to take stock of the accomplishments of the agency and the road ahead.  The following are conversations we had with Arvind Wable, MG Parameswaran, Shashi Sinha, KS Chakravarthy (Chax), Niteen Bhagwat and Nagesh Alai.

For Parameswaran, better known as Ambi, executive director and chief executive officer - Mumbai, the key attributes of the agency that have resulted in its success are its long-term relationships with employees and clients, and focus on the clients' success and the agency's own bottomline. He also responded to questions about whether a 50-year old agency is seen as less nimble, and whether the solidity of the top management would make the agency less appealing for youngsters.

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Wable, executive director and chief executive officer - Delhi, spoke about one of the agency's long-term clients Hero Honda, and the journey from 'Fill it, shut it, forget it' to 'Dhak, dhak, go'.

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Next up, Chakravarthy, popularly known as Chax, national creative director, threw light upon the agency's creative vision for the future, while emphasising "We are a serious agency".

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The role of research was one of the questions posed to Bhagwat, executive director and chief executive officer, Cogito Consulting and it will become more significant, even in the automobile industry, he said. He also spoke about what he regards as the successful case studies in the agency where research was used.

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Alai, executive director and chief financial officer, said procurement is a reality that Indian agencies, including Draftfcb Ulka, will have to learn to tackle.

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Last up, Sinha, chief executive officer, Lodestar UM, spoke about how the agency tackles the talent churn in the industry.    

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The 50th anniversary celebrations begin on February 1 with a party for both current employees and alumni. Then on February 15, another celebration is planned for clients and partners, of which Howard Draft, chairman, Draftfcb Worldwide, and Laurence Boschetto, chief executive officer, Draftfcb Worldwide are scheduled to be a part. Other initiatives through the year will include the launch of a monograph.

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