Sandip Tarkas, erstwhile president of MPG, South Asia, has taken over as the chief executive officer of Media Direction (the media arm of RKSwamy/BBDO), starting May 3, 2004. According to a company communiqué, the development has been described as a "forerunner" to the launch of Optimum Media Direction (OMD) in India, and according to Tarkas, the media independent should set foot in the country "soon enough". He adds, "We are looking at a timeframe of three to six months for the launch of OMD. Media Direction will be part of the OMD International network."
To put things in perspective, Optimum Media Direction, a media division of the Omnicom Group, has been looking to launch operations in India for some time now. The international agency conglomerate has three agency networks - BBDO, DDB and TBWA - whose India operations include RKSwamy/BBDO, Mudra Communications and TBWAIndia, respectively. However, speculation has been rife with regard to the mode of entry of OMD, considering Mudra already has a local media independent in Optimum Media Solutions (OMS), spearheaded by President Sandeep Vij. TBWAIndia and RKSwamy do not have independent media operations in India, and considering the latter is championing OMD's entry into the country, the question is whether TBWA will eventually join forces with OMD.
Media Direction has 44 clients including Raymond, Hawkins, Mercedes, State Bank of India and Life Insurance Corporation. Its annual turnover is roughly in the region of Rs 250-300 crore, and the overall team strength is 40. With Tarkas' appointment, PRP Nair, a veteran at RKSwamy who was heading Media Direction so far, will assume the office of senior media advisor at the agency. "He is a very senior member, whose knowledge and insights will be crucial to the team," says Tarkas.
A veteran himself, Tarkas has over a decade's experience in advertising and media, and among other things, was involved in setting up MindShare Fulcrum and MPG. His new assignment will entail rolling out OMD in the country, and given the number of media specialists already around, the task at hand doesn't seem easy. Tarkas maintains that his immediate priority is to look for new business, though, at a broader level, he intends getting the organization (OMD, that is) going. "Systems and processes have to be put in place, and if need be, we will scout for new talent as well," he adds. Â© 2004 agencyfaqs!