Anil Thakraney's job as Lowe Delhi's creative director was to turn around the ailing Delhi branch. And Thakraney believes he has delivered. Restless, Thakraney feels it is time to move on. Today is his last working day.
Where is he headed? To that Thakraney replies, "To be honest, I dunno. All I know is routine work bores me. The moment an assignment comes up that no one wants to do, or the one that's fraught with peril, I'll sign up. No matter whether that's advertising or media or AIDS research, I don't plan my career. I never have."
Thakraney joined Lowe exactly a year ago in December 2003. Earlier that year, the branch had suffered the loss of the LG business, there were several critical articles in the media, and the branch desperately needed someone to steer it back on the creative track.
"Balki's (R Balakrishnan, executive creative director, Lowe) brief to me was to turn the branch around. It was going through a great degree of turmoil at the time, which included people movement, substandard work, key client losses, sagging morale, etc. We've achieved the turnaround in a single year. Today, the office is rocking with talent, energy and passion, the morale is very high, and we are already producing better advertising work. Check out the new commercials for Polo and Omni, for instance. LG is back. Lowe, Delhi is alive and kicking again," believes Thakraney.
Thakraney had signed a one-year contract with Lowe. "Balki and I mutually decided on it. I think both of us knew that if I couldn't make a difference to the fortunes of Lowe, Delhi in a year, I never would. In any case, one had to move fast. Too much dirty water had flown under the bridge by the time I moved in. We simply did not have the luxury of time," he adds. With the job done, Thakraney decided not to renew it.
Thakraney ranks 2004 as one of the most exciting stints of his career. "It has been a tremendous learning experience of managing people, of doing good work in a difficult market, and of rebuilding an organisation brick-by-brick. I have never been tested as much in my entire career. All thanks to Balki for putting his faith in me. I would like to believe I did not let him down. All in all, I have become a better manager of people."
As the branch CD, he worked on all the brands; from LG to Wills Lifestyle to Dabur to Maruti cars to Nestle Polo to a host of others. "That's a great strength of Lowe, Delhi. I cannot think of another agency branch in the city that offers creatives such a diverse portfolio," he adds.
Thakraney made a comeback to advertising when he joined Lowe on December 1, 2003. Prior to that, he was the editor and publisher of Mumbai-based advertising fortnightly, The Brief, before it was shuttered. The tabloid was part of the Mid-Day Group.
Thakraney launched his career in advertising in 1986 when he joined Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai, as an account executive. Two years on, he joined Bates as account supervisor. In 1990, Thakraney joined J Walter Thompson, where he rose to be the creative director at the Mumbai branch and creative supervisor of Bangalore. In 1996, Thakraney joined The Brief.
Thakraney leaves Lowe to explore the countryside between Delhi and Bangalore. On December 3, he hits the road in his car.
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