I see the fine line between creative and media diminishing: Ravi Kiran

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Media | August 17, 2007
Addressing the press in Mumbai recently, Ravi Kiran of Starcom MediaVest spoke of the group's future strategy and discussed the conflict with ZenithOptimedia

Ravi Kiran, CEO, Starcom

MediaVest Group (SMG), Asia Pacific, is a busy man at the moment. Addressing a press gathering in Mumbai recently, Kiran spoke of his aggressive plans for Starcom, while also highlighting the agency's relationship with fellow Publicis agency ZenithOptimedia.

Kiran started off by summarising the steps taken by SMG this year, notable amongst which was the formation of India Media Exchange (IMX), which is the combined media buying entity for ZenithOptimedia and Starcom. It also renamed a few of its existing brands (sub-units) to let Zenith take full advantage of SMG's services, without having to feel overshadowed by Starcom. For instance, StarSight, SMG's out-of-home media solutions unit is now called Navia. "This neutral branding ensures equality and no conflict between Starcom and Zenith," said Kiran.

Ravi Kiran
This change that Starcom incorporated for Zenith does not mean that the two will now make pitches together; they will continue to compete for the same businesses. "We will never make a joint bid with ZenithOptimedia," Kiran asserted. He said that while the two agencies fall under the same umbrella, they will continue to retain their original identities and guard it fiercely. While Zenith is an ROI-driven company internationally, Starcom is known for its ROO (Return on Objectives) approach. Since their modus operandi is starkly varied, Kiran does not see any conflict between the two.

On a broader plane, Kiran expressed his views on the vanishing line between the creative and media functions. He said that the increasing overlap of creative and media does not threaten him; on the contrary it inspires him. "Creative and media cannot hold on to their individual turfs much longer," said Kiran. "They will merge in the near future."

Kiran proffered the example of MindShare, which did the creative for PlayStation abroad. O&M's recent performance at the Emvies, too, ought to be a great model for media companies to venture into the creative side of the field, he said.

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