In a development that is bound to have some repercussions for Saatchi & Saatchi India, Ramesh Ramanathan (national creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi India) and Ryan Menezes (senior creative director at Saatchi's Bangalore office) have parted ways with the agency. "Yes, Ryan and I have left Saatchi," Ramanathan confirmed the news to agencyfaqs!, adding, "I am not in a position to say anything more at this juncture."
When asked what had prompted the sudden move, all Ramanathan said was, "It was a question of finding a bigger canvas for ourselves… bigger canvas, more opportunities, greener pastures, call it what you may." The man who was at Saatchi India's creative helm for the past two-and-a-half years refused to be drawn into any discussion over his future plans. Neither does he comment on whether he and Ryan - now that they are out of Saatchi - are planning to work together in the days to come. Pressed for an answer, he pithily replied, "Nothing is for sure. We are both exploring various possibilities at this stage."
Ramanathan, who has previously worked with O&M, Grey Worldwide, WorldSpace and BPL Net, took charge of Saatchi India's creative in 2001. It was under his leadership that the agency produced the 'More smiles per hour' campaign for the best-selling TVS Victor, and resurrected 'Mr Kim' in the advertising for the Santro Xing. But creatively speaking, during his stewardship, one of the biggest achievements for Saatchi India was a spate of international awards won last year. In quick succession, the agency picked up a silver Pencil (for The Terry Fox Foundation) at the One Show 2003, and a silver Statue (for Ariel) at the Clio Awards 2003. Earlier last year, the Ariel hoarding had also been awarded a gold Abby, and a bronze at the Asia-Pacific Advertising Festival (AP AdFest). The agency had also won - in a roundabout way - a Silver Lion for Oil of Olay last year.
In an interview with agencyfaqs! last year, Ramanathan, answering a question on the extent to which he had met his mandate at Saatchi, had replied: "I set standards high. I would say we (Saatchi India) have moved, and moved significantly. But we're nowhere near where I want us to be. I must add that I look at everybody else - though perhaps I look at myself more critically. And what I see is that other than the odd piece of work, there's nothing truly significant that people are doing. So while I am happy we have moved, I am also unhappy - what I call divine discontent. What makes me happy today cannot make me happy tomorrow, for it's just not going to be good enough."
One will have to wait for Ramanathan to reveal whether it was that 'divine discontent' that made him look for that bigger canvas outside Saatchi. It goes without saying that we'll keep you posted on this one… Â© 2004 agencyfaqs!