Quasar and Smile Interactive venture out in Africa

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | November 03, 2009
Interactive agency Quasar and Smile Interactive have launched a digital marketing agency, called Squad Digital, in a joint venture with Scangroup in Kenya

Interactive agency Quasar and Smile Interactive have launched a digital marketing agency called Squad Digital in a joint venture with Scangroup in Kenya.

For the uninitiated, Scangroup, with a billing of about Rs 169 crore in the first half of 2009, is one of the largest advertising and communications services firms in Kenya. It provides advertising, media investment, marketing consultancy, public relations and experiential marketing related services.

& #BANNER1 & #Scangroup is listed in the Nairobi Stock Exchange (Kenya) and is one of the stake holding companies of prominent ad agencies in East Africa. It owns stakes in agencies such as Lowe Scanad Kenya, Lowe Scanad Tanzania, Lowe Scanad Uganda, McCann Kenya, Thompson Kenya, Grey East Africa and FCB Tanzania. WPP acquired more than 26 per cent stake in Scangroup in 2008.

This is the first time that Quasar has established its physical presence beyond India. Earlier, in February, the agency had revealed its global ambitions when it created a special unit to look after the digital advertising production outsourcing business.

Speaking to afaqs!, Harish Bahl, founder and chief executive officer, Smile Interactive and Quasar, says, "The agency has already started its operations in Kenya. Initially, Squad Digital will offer its services to advertisers in three markets - Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Later, it will start offering its services to other parts of Africa as well."

Bahl adds that Squad Digital will not only rope in clients on its own, but will also provide digital marketing solutions to clients of all agencies associated with Scangroup across Africa.

Although Bahl is not ready to divulge the names of the advertisers that Squad Digital has already approached, he indicates that the agency is expecting a positive response from telecom, travel and beverages companies.

Some of the services offered by Squad Digital are online and mobile marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), online reputation management (ORM) and travel technology services.

It is important to note that Quasar and Smile Interactive's deal with Scangroup will not include the venture incubation and consumer driven businesses operated and managed by these companies.