Manish Bhatt quits Contract to pursue political dreams

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | October 30, 2009
Bhatt will work as a communications advisor to the state of Gujarat. He has worked with Contract, Ogilvy India, McCann Erickson and Publicis Ambience over 14 years

Manish Bhatt, senior vice-president and executive creative director, Contract Advertising has called it a day at the agency. He will serve his notice period till the end of November. Apparently, Bhatt is taking a break from advertising for a while and will pursue his interest in political communication: he will work as the communications advisor to the state of Gujarat.

Bhatt had recently undertaken a regional project for Contract's client, Tata Indicom, in Gujarat, wherein a tribute to the state had to be created with the brand woven in. Bhatt wrote a song (based on a 1950's war song) in Gujarati and created a music video for it featuring 25 Gujarati celebrities. "This song gained the 'Gujarat Anthem status - and that led to some political projects and offers coming my way," Bhatt tells afaqs!.

Bhatt's first task after leaving Contract will be to work on the 50th anniversary project for Gujarat, which will easily take two months to complete.

Bhatt, who has spent 14 years in advertising, specifies that he isn't quitting the ad industry. "It's just a break for a while that I'm taking, following which I will consider offers which I have received from other agencies, or even start my own agency with my partner, Raghu Bhat."

Bhat, who is also senior vice-president and executive creative director at Contract, will stay on at the agency. However, Bhat informs afaqs! that alongside his work at Contract, he has started an e-commerce venture, Fungus Designs, a company that will manufacture designer laptop bags. For this, Bhat will collaborate with various graphic designers from around the globe and receive orders online.

For the record, Manish Bhatt started his career in 1995 at Contract, where he spent three years. Since then, the art head has served three years each at Ogilvy India, Publicis Ambience and McCann Erickson respectively, apart from a one year stint at Bates Clarion (now Bates 141).

In 2007, Bhatt returned to Contract for a second stint. Bhatt and Bhat have worked together as a copy-art team since the beginning of their careers. At Contract, some of the brands they have contributed to include Tata Indicom (Suno dil ki awaaz launch), Aegon Religare, Domino's (Khushiyon ki home delivery), Cadbury Celebrations and Asian Paints Tractor Emulsion (the Budget Wedding campaign). Other accounts they have worked on during their careers include Parachute, Nerolac Allscapes, Planet M, Nutrela, Whitehall Whisky, Tata Press Yellow Pages, Elle 18 and Sil.

The duo was also behind the Goafest campaign in 2008 and has won several awards including the Abby's, AAAIs, Cannes and D&AD.

© 2009 afaqs!