N. Shatrujeet

Contract, Mumbai, adds muscle with new creative team, structure

The agency has hired Devesh Desai as CD and Niranjan Kaushik as ACD, while a couple of other senior creative professionals are expected to come on board shortly

Contract Advertising, it has often been said in the past, takes its creative very seriously. With the onset of the New Year, the agency's Mumbai office is all set to prove that nothing's really changed vis-à-vis the desire to produce good creative. To that end, Contract, Mumbai, has put in place a new creative hierarchy, and is in the process of adding senior-level talent to its creative department. The agency has just hired Devesh Desai (who moves from SSC&B, Bangalore) as creative director and Niranjan Kaushik (who was last with LHM Advertising, Singapore) as associate creative director, while a couple of other senior creative professionals are expected to come on board in a month's time. These appointments apart, Contract will "very shortly" be finalizing a top-level creative person to partner Raj Nair (associate vice-president - creative, Contract Advertising) in leading Mumbai creative.

The changes in Contract Mumbai's creative structure come roughly four months after old Contract hand Parveez Shaikh unexpectedly quit the agency last September. "This is an interesting period of transformation at Contract, Mumbai," says Nair, who has been in charge of creative responsibilities since Shaikh's departure. "The new structure being implemented is with the idea of transferring responsibilities for the creative product at all levels, and empowering more people. The more you empower people, the more they stand up and get counted. Also, the old structure, which was more flat, had all the authority vested with one individual, which is good for neither the individual nor the company."

As per the new structure envisaged at Contract, Mumbai, the creative department will be split into two creative groups. Each group will be headed by an art-copy team of creative directors (or associate creative directors), and will comprise nine professionals (the two group creative heads included). The creative heads of the two groups will, in turn, report to Nair and his soon-to-be-appointed partner - who, incidentally, will be the custodian of the art discipline (Nair will be in charge of copy). Desai and Kaushik, who have just joined the agency, will be heading one group, while the creative heads for the other group "should, at the latest, be in place by mid-February", Nair informs.

Speaking about Desai and Kaushik, Nair reveals that he has high expectations from them. "Between them, they have spent some 20 years in advertising, and both are extremely talented, with Cannes and One Show nominations. Their coming will have a positive impact on the team in Mumbai." While Kaushik (who has also worked with O&M India, Ambience and Batey Advertising, Singapore, in the past) will be in charge of copy, Desai (who started his career in Speer, then moved to a New York-based agency, then joined Contract, Bangalore, before moving to SSC&B) will be entrusted the job of keeping the quality of art up. "Contract will be a new experience for Kaushik, but Devesh is familiar with Contract and knows the Contract way of doing things," Nair observes.

The whole idea behind the restructuring of the creative department is to strengthen the creative output. "We have gained a certain momentum with respect our product in 2003," Nair says, citing the good work produced last year. "We did some good advertising for Allianz Bajaj, Franklin Templeton, Kinetic Zing Rockin, Baazee.com, Daewoo Anchor, Godrej, Shoppers' Stop and Mumbai Traffic Police. Having got onto the fast track, we want to skyrocket the work this year. We already have a great bunch of talented people in creative, and I believe they and our new creative directors will take the product to a new high." © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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