Viacom18, the & #BANNER1 & # joint venture between Viacom Inc. and Network18, is all set to launch its new Hindi general entertainment channel, Colors, in July. It has roped in 32 year old Rameet S Arora to spearhead its marketing efforts. Arora moves in from Leo Burnett, where he was vice-president and director, corporate initiatives.
What is an advertising man doing in marketing? "I think I'm an instinctive marketing guy and a passionate advertising guy," says Arora.
Arora has spent 12 years in companies such as Arms Bozell, Rediff and Leo Burnett.
After completing his course in economics in 1996, he chose to join a small nondescript agency called Arms Communication (then known as Arms Bozell) for about a year. Later, he moved to Mumbai to study for an MBA.
Between studies in Mumbai, he did a short stint in the planning department of McCann Erickson before it shut down. After completing his course, he joined Rediff. Arora worked on the launch of Airtel in Madhya Pradesh. "In those days, Airtel was just about everything that the telecom industry was made up of. There, I got the opportunity to cross over and see the bigger picture," he says.
He went on to work on a portfolio of brands for about a year before moving to Leo Burnett (then known as Chaitra Leo Burnett) in 2000. "I was hungry for real brand thought and strategic experience. I met Aniruddh Banerjee at Leo Burnett, who finished a three minute conversation by saying 'kal se aa jana'." It was at Leo Burnett that Arora met his mentors, Banerjee, Arvind Sharma, Pops (KV Sridhar) and Chax (KS Chakravarthy). He spent an eventful eight and a half years at Leo Burnett.
In 2001, Arora went on board to handle the Hitachi account, which was struggling then. "What we forged with Hitachi was a partnership that was almost intended to find business resurgence, and it did. Six months into its relaunch, it became the No. 3 player in home ACs." He learnt a lot from handling brands. "I learnt about the power of integration and media neutrality because I worked with clients with small spends that made them look really large."
Arora's high point was working on McDonald's. In 2005, while working on the account for Leo Burnett, he attended the Hamburger University (McDonald's worldwide management training centre in Illinois) and topped the university, bagging the Tony Award. He became the only non-McDonald's person to get one.
Arora's tryst with McDonald's started way before he actually worked on the account. He shares a story. "When I was about 21, I stood in the line to buy my first few burgers when the first McDonald's restaurant opened in Delhi. Since I'd just been exposed to advertising, I remember telling close friends that one day I would work with McDonald's. When I came to Leo Burnett, I remember telling my boss that I was most disappointed McDonald's was not on the roster because Leo Burnett was its global agency. It was literally a dream come true when I got to work on McDonald's. I don't think anyone who has worked on McDonald's has eaten more food from there than I have," he says.
At Colors, Arora will head marketing. He will look after the launch, communication, consumer and trade marketing and the channel's brand philosophy. "Disruption and differentiation are going to be key pillars of the channel's strategy," he says.
Arora lives with his wife in Mumbai. He loves travelling, sport, reading and is a self confessed foodie.