afaqs!

Narayan Kumar extracts some Metal

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | March 26, 2009
The erstwhile head of Disruption at TBWA has rolled out his own venture. Platinum Guild International is its first client

The New Year seems to spell new ventures. It started with Agnello Dias and Santosh Padhi quitting their respective agencies to start their own agency, TapRoot India. Then came Sukumar Menon's Black Swan Life, followed by CTC (Cut the Crap) by Jagdish Acharya of Mudra. Brijesh Jacob co-founded a digital agency, 22 Feet, and is also part of White Canvas, a creative agency. Metal is the latest addition to this list.

The man behind Metal is Narayan Kumar, who headed Disruption at TBWAIndia. He moved out of the agency in October 2008. Metal is working for its first client - Platinum Guild International. It is not known if there was a pitch for this business.

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The thought of starting his own agency cropped up some two years back, but the voice in Kumar's head grew stronger, when in September 2008, TBWA became a wholly owned entity of the Omnicom group.

"I had done all that I needed to do since joining the agency. Also, the people that were part of the agency when I joined were ready to leave. Finally, since it is all about relationships, I felt that I had to move on," shares Kumar.

Kumar joined as executive creative director at TBWA in 2003 and was later made head of Disruption. Incidentally, the creator of the Disruption tool, Jean Marie Dru, was also an executive creative director at TBWA. Kumar thinks that it is necessary for a creative person to have a planner's bent of mind, in order to create great and effective advertising.

Avatar was one of the names that Kumar toyed with for his agency, before finally settling for Metal. "When discussing names, it struck as a good enough name. That's why we went ahead with it," he says of his choice.

Another thing that helped him name the agency is a quote from Irish musician, Bono (part of the band U2): "The world is more malleable than you think and it's waiting for you to hammer it into shape." Kumar himself is part of a band called Kastadyne, where he mixes music.

"Metal stands for being fluid and solid at the same time," he explains. The ad man wants his agency to stand for solidity and strength, and as an agency that pays close attention to its clients.

He will put his Disruption skills to good use by creating a few tools for Metal. He isn't sure of what they will be called, but he states that the tools will be sharp enough to shape the point of view of a brand.

Metal will be a full-service agency, providing below-the-line as well as digital solutions to its clients, along with traditional marketing solutions. "We'd rather restrict the number of clients that we service, than restrict the services we provide," says Kumar.

A few of Kumar's colleagues from TBWA are also part of Metal -- Ambarish Ray, vice-president and Probir Dutt, creative consultant. Trilokjit Sengupta is creative director, who comes from Saints & Warriors.

Kumar has close to 25 years of advertising experience, with stints in Mudra, Lowe Lintas, JWT and TBWAIndia. He has also worked with Saatchi & Saatchi (then Sista's). He has been responsible for the launch of brands such as ICICI Prudential and Orange.