Priti Nair joins hands with Nagessh Pannaswami to lead Curry-Nation

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 07, 2011
Pannaswami moves in from BBDO where he was head of the Mumbai branch for the past six months.

The recently launched Curry-Nation has now two leaders at its helm. Nagessh Pannaswami, along with Priti Nair, will lead the agency. While Nair brings her strong creative experience to the table, Pannaswami is armed with his acute business acumen. Together, the two provide a balanced team for the advertising agency.

Pannaswami moves in from BBDO Mumbai where he is currently serving his notice period, slated to end by the end of the week. He had joined the agency as vice-president and headed its Mumbai outfit.

At BBDO, Pannaswami reported to Ajai Jhala, chief executive officer. He was responsible for new business development and overall performance of the agency's Mumbai operations. He worked on several blue chip clients such as P&G Gillette regional, P&G Gillette India, Godrej, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson.

The Nair-Pannaswami Story

Post Nair's BBH days, when Curry-Nation's launch was being planned, Pannaswami helped her extensively in developing a detailed business plan for the agency. This assistance was on an informal level, owing to the rapport the two shared back in their days at Lowe Lintas. At Lowe, the two worked together for six years, from 1998 to 2004. "This is a classic case of friendship evolving into business partnership," Pannaswami tells afaqs!

He goes on to explain that since he was so closely involved with the pre-launch issues of Curry-Nation and had helped Nair chart the entire business plan for the agency's future, Nair offered him an equal partnership." Pannaswami took Nair up on her offer for two reasons. "Firstly, I have a very strong entrepreneurial streak. The opportunity provided by Nair was just the right thing for me at that stage. Secondly, the Indian economy is at such a stage that this is a perfect time to invest in one's own business venture," Pannaswami explains.

Says Nair, "He is a solid 'business guy' and an amazing person to work with."

Business plan for Curry-Nation

Ask him what's in store for Curry-Nation in the days ahead, and Pannaswami quips confidently, "The plan is to let our work do the talking!" According to him, the agency has chalked out very clear business plans that will help it stand out among other start-ups.

"We strongly believe in the 'India story' and aim to tap into our nation's rich and diverse cultural heritage, while handling communication for brands," says Pannaswami. According to Pannaswami, the communication that Curry-Nation will churn out is bound to be rich in specific Indian consumer insights. "We want to serve as a catalyst for home-grown Indian brands, foster Indian entrepreneurs and help them expand," adds Pannaswami,

The journey so far

A psychology graduate from Mumbai University, Pannaswami holds a post-graduate diploma in advertising and marketing from XIC (Xavier Institute of Communication), and another one in marketing and sales management from KC College.

He began his career in the year 1993, as an account executive at Interact-Vision, where he handled the Gulf Oil and Nitco Italian Marbles accounts. He went on to handle the Hamam, ABN Amro Bank and Phil Systems accounts at Clarion Advertising Services, where he worked for four years as account manager until his dream run at Lowe Lintas began. The brands he headed at Lowe included Rexona, Axe, Pepsodent, Camlin, SIFPSA and Polaris. He also worked closely on the Clinic Plus brand.

Prior to his stint at BBDO, he was heading Altitude, one of McCann Worldgroup's key divisions. His mandate at Altitude was to partner with SME clients, provide brand management intervention to help business growth and gain prominence in the market.

Before this, Pannaswami served as group business director at McCann Erickson for six years and headed businesses across categories. The brands he worked on included Tata Indicom, UTI Bank, Radio Mirchi, J&J (Band Aid), Onida, The MobileStore, Loop Mobile and Cathay Pacific.

For the record, Curry-Nation has already bagged the creative duties for three brands belonging to the Emami Group, namely, Fast Relief, Hairlife and Lalima.

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