afaqs!

Mudra no less Indian under Omnicom

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | November 01, 2011
The Omnicom Group, that currently holds 10 per cent stake in the Mudra Group, has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in the agency. In the wake of this development, will the Mudra Group lose something it has stood for since time immemorial -- its deep-rooted Indian-ness? afaqs! finds out.

When DDB Mudra was formed in 2007, strengthening Mudra's relationship with DDB Worldwide, the development ruffled many a patriotic feather as people wondered whether Mudra would be compelled to shed part of its Indian-ness. Now, as the Omnicom Group is slated to acquire majority stake in the Mudra Group, afaqs! asks industry veterans to re-visit this question.

Nakul Chopra
Chief executive officer, Publicis Communications, South Asia

Do you feel all networked agencies in India have lost their Indian-ness? So, no - I don't think Mudra stands to lose its Indian-ness due to Omnicom acquiring majority stake in the agency.

Any agency operating successfully in India retains its Indian-ness in order to do so. However, I do feel that now onwards, the way in which it functions will change. This is because the grammar of an independent agency is very different from that of a networked agency. Thus, Mudra will have to change as per the new grammar and this has several implications. The Indian-ness of the agency, though, has little to do with this acquisition; it has a lot to do with the kind of people who work at the agency and the nature of the people who manage it.

Subhash Kamath
Managing partner, BBH India

No, I don't think Mudra will lose its Indian-ness. Not if it is still run by Indians. If an agency is managed by Indians, for Indian clients and is catering to Indian audiences and consumers, then it will not lose its Indian-ness just by virtue of being part of a global network. Take Ogilvy India for instance; the Indian arm of the network has not lost its Indian-ness in any way. Even when BBH was launched in India, there was a reason for having a fully Indian management here. It's because we need to respect Indian culture and understand the Indian consumer. While an Indian agency that's part of a global network can take advantage of international systems, processes and client alignments, it needn't lose its Indian-ness.

Satbir Singh
Chief creative officer and managing partner, Euro RSCG India


Mudra perhaps came from the only group that could have done the reverse! I'm sure it was in the best interests of all parties concerned to have made this decision. I don't think it makes a remarkable difference to its Indian-ness, barring nationalistic ones. Other agencies like Ogilvy, JWT and Lowe aren't really known as foreign agencies. Agencies working for the Indian marketplace and target audience work on Indian insights. Besides (and I hope so), it'll be the same management. I don't know if the name will now have a prefix or suffix, or will change over time. That may have a bigger impact on its Indian-ness. Networks, in most cases, bring in global best practices and that's a huge plus. In most cases, they also bring in global businesses.

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