afaqs!

Aegis Media gets into activation

By Chhavi Tyagi , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 20, 2009
After digital and OOH, the media conglomerate launches an activation division, Carat Fresh Integrated, taking in Fresh IMCS, an integrated marketing company

As the Indian BTL (below-the-line) industry is hailing the current economic slowdown as a blessing in disguise, Carat Media Services, an Aegis Media division, found this a good time to enter the industry. With tight advertising budgets forcing companies to rework their communication spends and invest more in the BTL marketing space, Carat has taken in Fresh IMCS, an integrated marketing company, and launched Carat Fresh Integrated.

Ashish Bhasin, chairman, India, and chief executive officer, Southeast Asia, Aegis Media, speaks to afaqs! on the development. "In India, BTL and activation are definitely growing much more than ATL (above-the-line). Today, it has become an important business to be in and it was an area missing in our portfolio of services."

Aegis Media had recently made its presence in the digital and the out-of-home industry, with the launch of Isobar and Posterscope, respectively. The new division will be based out of Mumbai and Delhi as of now. It will move on to other cities in a phased manner.

& #BANNER1 & #Carat Fresh Integrated will be headed by Debashis Das, the erstwhile managing director of Fresh IMCS, who has been appointed as the country head. The entire team of Fresh IMCS has moved into the new division with Das.

The division will offer the entire gamut of integrated marketing solutions to its clients, which includes BTL activations, events and rural marketing. All the Fresh IMCS clients too, such as Bayer, Lootmart, Mills & Boon, Olympus and Future Logistics, have moved to Carat Fresh Integrated.

"We are looking forward to working with our clients on all the aspects of marketing solutions, while keeping our focus on BTL activations. While Fresh IMCS brings the experience of working in this field, along with its existing clients, to Carat Fresh Integrated; our clients will have the added advantage of digital and out-of-home services of Carat Media available to them under the same roof," explains Bhasin.

Das launched Fresh IMCS a few months back, after acting as the chief executive officer of Perspectrum. Das has held senior positions at many agencies, including president at Linterland and Lintertainment. As for the reason why Das decided to merge his agency with Carat, he remarks, "Being a new agency, we were missing out on the scale and it wasn't easy to get openings with the clients."

Bhasin and Das have known each other since their Lintas IMAG days when Bhasin was the executive vice-president of Lowe Worldwide and Das was the president of Linterland. The duo has been in talks for the launch of the new division for quite some time now, says Bhasin. "Das has an amazing experience of working in the marketing solutions business. And apart from getting his expertise to the table, he also brings in his huge client base," he adds.

On being asked about the division's USP -- especially since so many agencies already offer similar services -- both say that the added advantage of other divisions of Aegis Media being available under the same roof will act as a major pull for prospective clients. "While most of the agencies offer more or less similar services, but there are few who also have services like media buying under the same roof," says Bhasin.