N. Shatrujeet

Equus Red Cell to reopen Kolkata shop

Equus’ launch in Kolkata, slated for April 14, will mark the agency’s return to the eastern metropolis after approximately three years

WPP Group-agency Equus Red Cell has decided to reopen its Kolkata bureau. The decision, which was taken a few weeks ago, was communicated to agencyfaqs! by Swapan Seth, co-CEO & chief creative officer, Equus Red Cell, who informs that the office will be functional from April 14. "It's the day of the Bengali New Year, a perfect date to open a new office in Kolkata," he says.

The office will be headed by a manager who has already been identified - "someone who is not from advertising" but has "immense equity and a fine reputation built on the back of a career in Kolkata", Seth announces, without taking names. The outfit will staff a full-fledged creative and servicing team, with central supervision out of Delhi. "It is the typical Equus hub-and-spoke act," says Seth, adding that neither he nor brother Suhel will move to the city. "Evidently, given the fact that Suhel and I have some equity in that marketplace, we will be actively involved… as we are with each of our businesses," he clarifies, however. In the immediate interim, Anu Raj, who runs the agency's Mumbai operations, will oversee Kolkata.

This is the second time that Equus will be setting up shop in the eastern metropolis. Equus (then Equus Advertising) had a presence in the city till approximately three years ago, when the Seth brothers suddenly announced the decision to pull the plug on the Kolkata operations. Swapan Seth had subsequently moved to Mumbai and opened the agency's Mumbai office. When quizzed about what had prompted the Kolkata closure, Seth replied, "I really shut shop since I was moving to Mumbai and Anurag (Hira, who was then chief creative officer at Equus, and is now with Bates India) wished to move on." Seth is also honest enough about his shortcomings. "I had not run Kolkata well," he admits. "But now, having run Mumbai, I think we can apply the learnings acquired, and transplant them into Kolkata. Mumbai taught me how to run a business profitably, and with a first rate team."

One of the reasons for the agency's return to Kolkata is a perceived change in the city's advertising environment. "Kolkata has changed completely over the past two years," Seth avers. However, he believes that the agencies in the city haven't responded positively to the change. "What has remained unchanged is the complete lack of passion and drive in the advertising agency offering in Kolkata," he insists. "There is room for an agency that believes not so much in the size of the hammer as in the sharpness of the nail. We will offer a sharp-shooting agency office, very aggressive in nature."

It helps that Equus already has a handful of clients in the city, including ITC Sonar Bangla, Sheraton Towers and the recently acquired Shoppers' Stop account (Kolkata alone). And Seth agrees that these businesses provided the impetus for setting up shop. "We are actively going for new business there, as well," he says. When asked about Kolkata's expected contribution to the agency's financial turnover, Seth replied, "I think, if in the first year, Kolkata can even do 25 per cent of the national business, it will be a successful relaunch." © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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