Savia Jane Pinto

The men behind the Lee campaign

A quick look at the brains behind Happy, the six month old agency that created the Lee jeans ad that everyone’s talking about

When jeanswear brand Lee decided to make its first ever commercial in India, it approached a very new agency, called Happy, to strategise and come up with an appropriate idea. The Bangalore based agency, barely six months old, came up with a TVC that is now creating waves.

So, who are the brains behind Happy? Kartik Iyer and Praveen Das, two ex O&M-ites. Both have worked as creative directors – for copy and art, respectively. Iyer and Das didn’t exactly plan to start an advertising agency; it was something that just happened, they say. Happy is made up of “roughly 10 people” in Das’ own words, including a photographer, a digital illustrator and a designer.

The men behind the Lee campaign
Why Happy? Iyer and Das say they were sure they didn’t want a flashy, out of the world name for their idea house, as they like to call it. “It had to be something basic, refreshing and simple,” says Das. “Happy was just a word that everyone deals with. There isn’t any great philosophy attached to it,” adds Iyer.

Most of the work undertaken by Happy has been project based, a format with which Iyer and Das are comfortable. They have quite a few impressive names in their kitty, not the least of which is Lee. Happy is in charge of the national creative duties for the brand.

The men behind the Lee campaign
The 'Happy' duo Kartik Iyer
and Praveen Das
Iyer and Das are working on, an IT based website, and Indian Windows, a window furnishings company. They are also responsible for the ICI Dulux Splash Paint store, for which they created a design for a retail store where a consumer could walk in to choose the shade of his choice.

Happy created the character, ‘Chamrajpet Charles’, for Radio One in Bangalore to create a broadminded outlook for the radio channel which was perceived earlier as hardcore Kannada.

About their plans for expansion, Iyer says, “We are a boutique agency and would like to remain so.” He explains that Happy would be more than happy to get on with a client as its thinking partner, where ideas are discussed over the table and dialogue takes place. Both the founders are very definite that they don’t want Happy to be just another agency.

“Though we are still in the breaking-in stage, we will concentrate on design and concept oriented projects,” emphasises Iyer. Happy is game to take on any sort of communication that entails concept development, 360 degree advertising, identity design, retail design, illustration, and viral/guerrilla projects.

When asked how much the agency is worth in terms of capitalised billings, Iyer evades the question deftly, saying, “We’re still pretty nascent, so I can’t put a number on anything yet.”

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