2005: The year of rebranding and transition

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | January 03, 2006
Veterans say that 2005 was a year of transition for ad agencies and advertising, and the buzzword that gained a whole new meaning in the year was 'rebranding'

Josy Paul, national & #BANNER1 & # chairman, David, termed it 'the shedding of skin to make way for a new skin'. Prasoon Joshi, regional creative director, South and South East Asia, McCann-Erickson, called it 'the process of constant reinventing'.

The 'it' in question is the concept of rebranding, which became the buzzword in 2005 for most of the major ad agencies, including JWT, Everest Brand Solutions, David and the more recent Contract. All of these treaded the path of rebranding and formulating a new identity for themselves last year.

"At the end of the day, even ad agencies are products," remarks Joshi of McCann-Erickson. "And rebranding is a way of sending out signals to the industry that the agency is reinventing itself in the same way that every product evolves, as a sign of the changing times."

Raj Kurup, regional creative director, Grey Worldwide, puts it succinctly: "There's no doubt in my mind that 2005 was a year of transition. Not only did agencies rebrand themselves, there was a significant reshuffling of people in the industry. In a sense, industry stalwarts too underwent a transition."

Kurup elaborates on his point, using as examples Pushpinder Singh, who moved out of Ambience Publicis, Agnello Dias who quit Leo Burnett and joined JWT and Bruce Matchett who was roped in as chief creative officer at JWT.

"2005 was a year of confusion," Joshi admits frankly. "The fatigue factor in advertising was never more visible than it was last year, as consumers became increasingly impatient. The order of the day was, 'I want it NOW!' This was the biggest challenge that agencies had to deal with, and they're still grappling with it."

Paul of David is more optimistic about the leap made by advertising in 2005. He says, "One of greatest boons for the industry is that clients have become braver, which is evident from campaigns such as those for Surf Excel and the Hutch Marathon."

"Such great campaigns can't be conceived of without the support of the emerging section of 'brave clients', who are ready to experiment with completely radical ideas," Paul stresses.

However, Mahesh Chauhan, president, Everest Brand Solutions, is dissatisfied with the way last year shaped up for Indian advertising.

"In 2005, ad agencies were living in a different, outdated world, completely blind to reality. The obsession with the 30-second TVC, for instance, is still rampant in the industry. Globally, new, emerging media is the 'happening' phenomenon and we need to catch up big time."

Chauhan is of the opinion that the way ad agencies are structured, with the typical 'creative-strategy-media' set-up, is a big problem for creating great brands. "Agencies need a new way of thinking, to move away from the stereotypical ad agency structure, to a more balanced, complete brand solutions one."

Kurup of Grey Worldwide sums it up, "2005 was the year of creating a stage, a setting, for welcoming an even better year of creativity, which we are hoping will be 2006."

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