WPP’s Ogilvy has announced the launch of 82.5 Communications, its specialist agency that is being branded as an India-specific creative agency. The agency will be headquartered in Mumbai, with offices across New Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata, and will cater primarily to Indian companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs. The accounts of Soho Square, another creative agency belonging to the Ogilvy group in India, will now be managed under 82.5 Communications. Ogilvy veteran Sumanto Chattopadhyay takes on the role of Chairman and CCO, 82.5 Communications. VS Srikanth, who was the Director and CEO of Bates CHI & Partners India, is the CEO of the new entity, responsible for steering 82.5 Communications in the intended direction, and for implementing plans to deepen and widen 82.5’s engagement with its existing clients.
“The specialist agency will meet a key need in the creative services market for an agency that is tailored to help realise the aspirations of emerging Indian companies, entrepreneurs and brands as well as MNCs who want to ‘Indianise’ their brands and forge a connect with Indian audiences,” Piyush Pandey, Chief Creative Officer Worldwide, Executive Chairman India, Ogilvy said about the new entity. “Such challenger brands are often very strong in their respective categories or geographies, and invariably seek the same qualities that they themselves exhibited, in their creative agencies: passion, agility, out-of-the box thinking and a deep desire to grow.”
Asserting that this is not a rebranding exercise for Soho Square, Chattopadhyay explained, “The starting point for everything today is that the world has changed, the country has changed as has everything in the field of communication. This is, therefore, not a rebranding or renaming exercise. This is basically a repositioning effort so that we are better equipped to take on the future. With this move, our plan is to be as independent as possible. We will have an extended team, some of whom belong to our agency and some of whom belong to our partner companies. We are in the process of working out the finer details of the structure – we were only born yesterday, literally, and we still have miles to go.”
The focus will remain on finding ingenious, bespoke solutions to clients’ problems, Chattopadhyay pointed out, adding that 82.5 is the longitude that defines Indian Standard Time. “India has for long had a culture of finding interesting and effective solutions to everyday problems—we are, as a nation, very creative. It’s this creative mindset that we hope to inculcate in 82.5. As an agency focussed on Indian entrepreneurship and Indian ingenuity, we felt this name would be apt,” he said.
Talking about what led to the creation of 82.5 Communications, VS Srikanth explained, “There were two starting points actually – one was of course that we wanted to reinvent ourselves. Moreover, given the fact that Ogilvy is a powerhouse of creativity, our endeavour was clear that we would have a creative identity of our own. We will have our own thinking and our own philosophy as an agency. There is a need for us to refresh and retrain ourselves constantly to adapt to the ever-changing ecosystem, and that’s what we will do with this new venture. We are going to be the brand voice, the brand lens and forge all the partnerships our clients need without leaning on Ogilvy’s heavy legacy structure. Ogilvy continues to remain our parent company but we have been given the mandate to go out there and create a distinct identity for ourselves and shape our own destiny.”
The core team of 82.5 Communications will include Samrat Bedi, President-West, Chandana Agarwal, President-North, Sharmista Dev, Head-Kolkata, Naveen Raman, Head-Bengaluru, Siddhartha Roy, EVP Planning, Anuraag Khandelwal, ECD, Mayur Verma, ECD, Mukund Sharma, ECD and Ranadeep Dasgupta, Group Creative Director.