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Inspired by others' incompetence: Mukesh Manik

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 18, 2009
Manik was inspired to start his own creative agency after his agency of record wasn't able to deliver

From running a company that sells office automation products to setting up his own niche out of home advertising agency that has helped, among other brands, Coca-Cola's Sprite topple competitor Pepsi from the No. 2 spot, is nothing short of an achievement. That's Mukesh Manik, MIC (man-in-charge) of Encyclomedia Networks for you.

The man in charge has been on a roll, recently accomplishing another first - a joint venture in Australia and starting work on Cadbury's there. Encyclomedia Networks is now present in about 15 countries.

The & #BANNER1 & # agency has become synonymous with 'jump-out' and 'in-your-face' 3D ads. There have been cases of people reportedly walking into closed lifts and other doors because the ad graphics vinyl stuck on them were so realistic.

Encyclomedia's most recent work includes the extensive outdoor campaign for Sprite comprising train wraps, lift wraps and metro tunnel branding. The agency has also created clutter breaking work for clients such as Hewlett Packard, XBOX, Airtel, Hindustan Unilever's (HUL's) Dove, Clinic All Clear, Coca-Cola's Thums Up, Limca and other beverages, Shoppers Stop, Hyundai and Samsung.

Manik was inspired to start his own creative agency after the advertising agency he had hired, wasn't able to deliver. Back in 1994, Manik, who was running Manik HSM (selling office automation products), wanted to advertise a paper shredder model. "The agency created a small ad for the classifieds that cost Rs 24,000 to place. The call backs from the ad generated business of only about Rs 18,000. So I thought - let me create my own ad," he says.

In the same classified section, he created an ad that said 'Our models will strip for you' with the image of a paper shredder shredding a sheet into strips! This time, the business generated amounted to about Rs 3.5 lakh, a whopping difference by a person who had no background in advertising.

"Inspired by this, I thought if I could do this for myself, I could do the same for other brands, too," he smiles. In fact, now the agency consists of a team of 50 people and none of them hail from advertising.

In 1998-99, he set up 3D Media Solutions, which created floor graphics for brands in supermarkets. "I was looking for a yet untapped medium. I thought of billboards, print, TV - they were all crammed. The only place left was floors!" he says.

Back then, a challenge for the company was getting a brand to accept floor space advertising because no one wanted their brand name and logo on a floor with people walking over it. But the company managed to get the floor cleaner brand, Domex, on board since it made complete sense for it as the brand was used on floors, anyway.

Another challenge, Manik says, was that a decade ago, there weren't any 'big' superstores, but smaller ones like KD's Lo Price or Dedhia's, which are now considered mom-and-pop stores after the arrival of Spencer's and Food Bazaar.

The company also started offering window graphics, table top graphics and 3D hoarding creatives. The company was re-christened Encyclomedia Networks in 2005 and started with some good work for Apollo Tyres and HUL's shampoo, Clinic.

Manik shares that the office automation products company is still running and doing well, but he is not hands-on there. Looking back, he says that if he didn't get into creative, he could have done much better for that company. He says, "It paid the bills, but I wasn't satisfied creatively - after all, that was a trade."

Manik also calls himself a 'college dropout' since he attended the BBA Program at New Hampshire College, USA for four years, but did not finish the last semester. "I did not think a college degree added any value to what I had set out to do because I knew that I would be an entrepreneur and could never do a regular 9 to 5 job," he says. Well, the way we look at it, if he was doing a boring 9 to 5 job, the world would be a less creative place!

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