Going the People way

By Neha Kalra , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 03, 2010
Two ex-Saatchi-ites, Rajeev Ravindranathan and V Balaji, have set up their own outfit, which, they say, will attempt to simplify the agency-client relationship

Rajeev Ravindranathan, creative director and V Balaji, associate vice-president at Saatchi & Saatchi, Bengaluru, who like to call themselves "an idiot and a sergeant", have stepped out from the agency to set up their own shop. In case you're wondering about the bit about the idiot and the sergeant, Ravindranathan played the senior who gets electrocuted in the recent film, 3 Idiots; while Balaji has a stern-looking brow.

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The duo has founded People Design and Communications India Pvt Ltd, based on the philosophy of simplifying and deconstructing. "Having tasted and feasted on lots of what the industry has to offer, we concluded that there must be a simpler, uncomplicated way to build long-lasting connections between consumers and brands. And out of this need to deconstruct, was born People," say the two.

The company intends to get back to basics -- "to solve problems and not merely create advertising; to holistically immerse itself in clients' businesses, and not merely in their briefs; to own the joys of success and the very real possibility of pitfalls. But to learn through it all, and help its clients forge a bond between their brands and consumers," describes Ravindranathan.

They find the time to be appropriate for such a move. "Bangalore has developed its own unique market environment, with its own distinct quirks and peculiarities. Mumbai and Delhi's templates won't work here anymore. Coffers aren't as deep as they used to be, but challenges are tougher than ever," Balaji says.

The two bring in two accounts from Saatchi & Saatchi: The Collective, a premium retail experience for men by Madura Garments; and VDB, a strong real estate brand in the local market of Bengaluru. People's third client is Peps, a mattress manufacturer based in Coimbatore and supplier to big brands like Kurl-on, which is now looking at launching its own brands.

About People's clients, the duo says, "Sectors such as retail and real estate have been the most hit, but are also the ones presenting the greatest opportunity. It's a testament to our relationships with these brand teams and their faith in us. No doubt a scary responsibility, but one we're only too keen to live up to and surpass."

The vision for People is to be an alchemist of sorts. "To convert every problem or opportunity into a reason to celebrate for our clients. And we'll do it by focusing on what matters the most -- people," say Ravindranathan and Balaji.

Through his decade-long advertising career, Ravindranathan has worked with Fisheye Creative Solutions, JWT, Ogilvy (then Ogilvy & Mather), Fountainhead and Eventus, and Enterprise Nexus.

Balaji, who has about 15 years' work experience, has worked with Orangetip Design, Fisheye Creative Solutions, Fountainhead, Enterprise Nexus and Akshar Advertising.

Ravindranathan remembers meeting Balaji on the first day of stepping into advertising; the two have mostly worked together since then. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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