Jacob, ex-executive creative director, Grey Worldwide, is back after a break from advertising. As he puts it, "You can't take advertising out of me!"
Jacob, who had quit Grey in August 2008 (shortly after the agency's national creative director Priti Nair moved out), has his hands now on not one, but two ventures.
For one, he has associated himself with the Bengaluru based full service agency, White Canvas, which was founded in 2006. He will lead the agency as its managing partner, along with its two founders, Deepak Nair and Vinod Moolacherry, both of whom have spent a significant number of years in advertising.
As things stand, 22 Feet and White Canvas will operate independently with their own teams in place. But as and when a need for collaboration arises, the two companies will work together to provide a collective offering to clients who require that structure.
22 Feet, founded in and operating from Mumbai, will also be launched in Bengaluru, while White Canvas will expand to have a Mumbai office in addition to its existing Bengaluru operations. The name, 22 Feet, has an interesting history to it: 22 feet represents the length of the small intestine in the human body. "So, our agency will be all about gut feel," says Jacob. "I strongly believe that research and analysis are support mechanisms. True success is always born out of gut feel." Then also, the intestine brings in an association with hunger - a hunger for creativity in this instance.
Jacob is of the opinion that there are few digital agencies in India that have moved on from being mere suppliers to actual solution providers. "Most clients want to delve into digital, but don't know where to start," he says. "It requires a different sort of creativity and thinking and we hope to bring those to the table."
On his dual role, Jacob remarks that while online is a natural progression, he is "too much in love with the conventional advertising space" and he "can't let go of" it. White Canvas has worked with brands such as Sheaffer, Richard Brinsley, Atmosphere, Hippocampus, William Penn, South Indies, bonSouth and apple-of-my-i.
Incidentally, Jacob has worked with his White Canvas partner, Moolacherry, at Lowe. "I have known Brijesh for the past eight years or so and his energy and drive to make things happen are unmatched," says Moolacherry, creative director, White Canvas.
Moolacherry has worked with Mudra and Lowe in the past and has worked on Hindustan Unilever's detergent businesses, Peter England, Indya.com (the launch campaign) and Britannia, among other brands, during his 14 year career.
Nair, business head, White Canvas, has eight years of advertising behind him, having worked for Miracle in West Asia and Draft Worldwide in Bengaluru. He has handled brands such as Infosys, Sheraton Hotels and Shell.
"We have an agile agency culture at White Canvas and Brijesh fits in perfectly," Nair tells afaqs! About 22 Feet, he remarks that the digital space is much more than merely converting offline creatives into online as it is a "different animal altogether".
For the record, Jacob has around a decade's experience in advertising, which includes stints at Saatchi & Saatchi, Rediffusion Y&R, Lowe and Grey. He has worked on campaigns for Surf Excel, LG Electronics, Lakme HairNext, Nestle Polo, Bilt Paper, Greenply, Carlsberg and Havells.
A website for 22 Feet (www.22feet.in) has been put together, and to convey the fact that the site is under construction, Jacob and his partners have put up a streaming video of a boy telling the site visitor "that there's no one at home," almost as though replying to someone who had pressed a doorbell.
Jacob and his partners plan to introduce an equity-sharing model among employees in the two companies, to bring about greater motivation and loyalty.