Manish Bhatt and Raghu Bhat quit Ambience to join McCann-Erickson

By , agencyfaqs! | In | July 13, 2004
The team had worked on accounts such as Parachute, Nerolac, Tata Press Yellow Pages

Manish Bhatt and Raghu Bhat, creative directors at Ambience Publicis' Mumbai office, have put in their papers at the agency,

and are moving to McCann-Erickson India as creative consultants. The developments have been confirmed by the duo, as well as by Prasoon Joshi, national creative director, McCann-Erickson. The creative team is scheduled to join McCann on July 20.

At Ambience, the Bhatt and Bhat-team had worked on accounts such as Parachute, Nerolac Allscapes, Planet M, Nutrela, Whitehall Whiskey, Tata Press Yellow Pages, Elle 18 and Sil. The duo also created the much-appreciated 'Respect the National Anthem' film last year. The creative director-duo, who have been working together for the last seven years now, had joined Ambience some three-and-a-half years back.

Their joining the McCann's creative team is linked with the creative powerhouse's overall plan of strengthening its creative departments in Mumbai and Delhi offices. Before Manish Bhatt and Raghu Bhat, the agency, in the recent past, has recruited as many as six creative professionals for the two offices.

The most notable of these was the appointment of Uday Parkar as executive creative director at McCann, Mumbai. Apart from Parkar, who came from Ambience Publicis, the other creatives joining McCann, Mumbai, were Neil Roy (from O&M, Chennai), and the art-copy team of Shamik Sengupta and Ferzad Variyava (also from Ambience Publicis, Mumbai). Roy, Sengupta and Variyava would be assuming mid-level creative responsibilities at the agency. Even McCann, Delhi, has witnessed two recent senior-level appointments. Nima Namchu and Gautam Mehta have joined as creative directors (from Capital Advertising and Euro RSCG, Kuala Lumpur, respectively).

Speaking to agencyfaqs! about the latest round of appointments, Joshi said, "I don't necessarily hire people on a need or vacancy basis. When I find talented people who are interested in working with me, I am prepared to take them on. And when it is someone like Manish and Raghu, I think the comfort levels are higher, as I have worked with them earlier."

For the record, it was Joshi (then an associate creative director) who brought the partners into O&M, Delhi, back in 1998, and the duo has worked with Joshi on a variety of brands including Satyam Cineplex (at O&M, Delhi), Onida and Seagram's (both at O&M, Mumbai). "Delhi and Mumbai put together, I have worked with them for roughly two years, and having seen their early work and their growth in calibre, I decided to get them on board," Joshi reveals.

The opportunity to work with Joshi all over again is clearly one of the reasons that spurred Bhatt and Bhat opt for McCann.

Incidentally, over the last three months, there was widespread speculation over the duo moving to Mudra Communications, and there were even rumours of a posting within Publicis' worldwide network; the partners refrain from commenting on either.

"Prasoon hired us at O&M when we were juniors, and since then, he has always been a big brother figure for us." says Bhatt. "So when we decided it was time to leave Ambience, we met him and evaluated our opportunities. We had a long discussion, and then he made us an offer - which we accepted it gladly." The team's decision to join McCann was taken late last week, he adds.

"Prasoon is a very talented creative person, and he has done some benchmarking work in Hindi advertising," Bhatt continues. "Apart from his work on Coke, his commercials for Nokia and polio immunization, and his radio spot for the WWF are admirable examples of sincere communication based on simple insights. There is a lot we can learn from him. We want to report to creative stalwarts, and it is an honour for us to be working with Prasoon."

Bhatt also reveals that the team was attracted by the prospect of working on big brands. "McCann has some very good and prestigious accounts, and we have reached a stage where want to work on big brands," he says. "McCann, Mumbai, today offers that opportunity."

Bhatt and Bhat have been working as a team for the past eight years now. The two first came together at Contract Advertising's Delhi office, but it was only when they were hired as a team at Bates India (then Bates Clarion) that their partnership got cemented. After one year at Bates, they moved to Ogilvy, and then in early 2001, they headed for Ambience.

Speaking about their three-and-a-half-year stint at Ambience, Bhatt is thankful to Elsie Nanji (vice-chairman & chief creative officer, Ambience Publicis) for having given them an exposure to film, and to more mass-market brands. "Ambience was a good period as it helped us achieve a lot in film, and helped us learn ho to handle mass-market brands," he says.

Joshi is clearly looking forward to the team coming on board. "Raghu and Manish are strong in print, and I think that is something we need here," he says. "They also have a unique style of thinking, a simplistic approach, which is very different from mine. An organisation has to have different schools of thought for it to be vibrant, and I think they will complement what we already have here. They also have a sense of honesty and integrity, and I see them adding value. I have high hopes from them." © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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