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Ajoy Bhan quits HTA to join Percom Communications

By , agencyfaqs! | In | September 11, 2001
New-kid-on-the-block Percom Communications snares Ajoy Bhan from HTA, Delhi, where he was associate vice-president and senior creative director



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NEW DELHI

Percom Communications, the new spin-off agency created by the amalgamation of design studio Perfect Communication, marketing consultancy Rajiv Mathur Worksite and photography outfit FX Communication, has appointed its fourth director.

Ajoy Bhan joins the advertising agency from HTA, Delhi, where he was associate vice-president and senior creative director. During his fast track 12-year stint at HTA, Ajoy worked on leading national and multinational brands like Maggi (noodles, sauce, soups), Nestle's Milky Bar and Everyday Dairy Whitener, Citibank, Maruti, Hero Honda (CBZ, Joy, Splendor, Street), Swatch, Rado, Omega, Longines, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Wills Sports, Bridgestone Tyres, and even the Indian Army among several others.

Ajoy came on board on September 1, five months after the agency flagged off its services on April 1. At a time when most large agencies have been taken over by their overseas equity partners and small agencies are desperately seeking 'strategic partnerships' to stay afloat, it is surprising to see a new, full-service agency in town, more so a veteran leaving the safe heaven of an established agency (that too of the stature of HTA) in favour of a start-up. Ajoy has his argument ready. "Several people have asked me if this is the right time to do this. I would say one could apply the logic of the stock market here. We buy when the market is down, don't we? The only brands that are going to succeed are those that genuinely engage their customers and keep them engaged, regardless of what media they happen to be using."

Percom Communications, described by its owners as the first integrated, creative marketing agency, is said to bring together leading specialists in media planning and purchases, direct marketing, branding and promotions. It has so far taken on 25 staff from the constituent companies as well as a few new appointees. The agency was launched in Delhi by three independent professionals: Rajiv Mathur, former head of marketing at Dabur, Sumit Mathur, promoter of a small advertising outfit, Perfect Communications and Ashok Kochhar, a freelance photographer known for his work on leading brands like Hero Honda, Digjam, Max India and Daewoo. Rajiv says the agency has a fourth 'strategic investor' whose identity will be kept under wraps 'till the time is right'.

Under one roof, the agency is offering advertising and communications services, marketing consultancy, promotions, merchandising and exhibitions, research, direct marketing and photography. The idea is to offer end-to-end solutions to clients, say the promoters. Adds Rajiv Mathur, "Our business model is very different from what agencies have traditionally been offering. As we see it, 50 per cent of our revenues will come from pure advertising and the other 50 per cent will come from allied services."

Already, the company has got business worth Rs 9 crore. This includes advertising clients like Sleepwell and Starlite mattresses (from Sleepwell Enterprises), Buddy Davis leisurewear (LNJ Bhilwara group) and Ambience Islands (property coming up in Gurgaon, Haryana). In the capacity of a marketing consultant, the agency is working with DS Foods (Catch salt, spices, water, Baba and Tulsi chewing tobacco) to help the company grow its brands in the international market. Percom provides research and direct marketing services to finance portal, Home Trade, pharma products marketer BD Group as well as some merchandising support to Schiele PGW of Germany (which is into high end engineering products).

Rajiv Mathur, who's worked with Lintas, the UB Group and Jagajit Industries in the past, says the agency is well poised to provide the variety of services of a big agency as well as the nimbleness of a small agency. "All of us have between 10-15 years in our respective spheres of work and that is what will help us win big business. Typically, agency personnel who deal with clients on a day-to-day basis have between four to five years of experience. Here, clients will get the experience and insights of people with at least 10 years of experience behind them," he says.

The promoters admit that they are in a hurry to grow. By December 2002, the agency hopes to notch up turnover of Rs 18 crore and in the next five years Rs 100 crore. The agency's next stop will be Mumbai and then Calcutta.

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