BBDO Mumbai gets Shefali Kothari from JWT Paris

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | September 13, 2011
At JWT Paris, Kothari served as international account director on the Rolex account. Interestingly, prior to her stint at JWT, Kothari was with BBDO, working at the agency's offices at London and Paris.

BBDO Mumbai has brought on board Shefali Kothari as associate vice-president. She moves in from JWT Paris, where she worked as international account director on the Rolex global account (a client servicing role). She was responsible for developing global creative strategies for the brand's existing and new product launches.

At BBDO, Kothari will report to Ajai Jhala, chief executive officer, BBDO India, and will serve as both business director for the Johnson & Johnson and BlackBerry businesses, and new business director at the Mumbai office. She will also work with the team at the agency to continue building brand BBDO India.

"Leaving Paris was like the end of a love affair. You're still in love, but you know it's over. And Bombay -- yes, I still call it that -- seduced me with its energy," Kothari sighs, commenting on her move to Mumbai, before adding, "Perhaps, that's why my only ad agency dialogue was with this agency; BBDO India's spirit is much like the energy of Bombay -- survival of the fittest."

Kothari brings to the table 11 years of multi-national work experience.

After studying at Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto and at Groupe ESSEC in Paris, Kothari began a career in marketing in financial services, and then moved into the communications field in 2002 with Matchstick Inc., an agency focussing on word-of-mouth communication campaigns.

Her advertising career started in 2003, when she joined CLM BBDO Paris as international account executive. Here, Kothari worked on one of the agency's strongest global accounts, PepsiCo International (including beverages and snacks), in the client management function. Over the next four years, she continued to work on the brand across the agency's offices at London and then again, at Paris.

On re-joining the BBDO network (in which she claims to have grown up), Kothari expresses, "I'm thrilled to be back at BBDO. There is a lot of reciprocal affection between myself and the agency's branches around the world. I know the BBDO philosophy well -- it has always been about 'The Work The Work The Work'. The team here has made sense of that for India by taking all the traditional industry jargon out of its ethos and giving substance to how people engage with 'The Work'."

The challenge, she adds, lies in creating acts, not ads, by establishing a space where brands and movements meet.

In her spare time, Kothari is extensively involved with Pratham, an NGO that has brought literacy to more than 34 million children across India. Interestingly, she met Jhala and Josy Paul (chairperson and national creative director, BBDO India), thanks to the pro bono work the agency did last year for the Pratham London Gala.

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