Ananya Pathak

Adman Subhas Warrier and Shyam Musthafa launch multidisciplinary creative agency

Based in Kochi, ‘Sensibly Weird Company’ aims to help brands grow by creating stories, design and creative.

Adman Subhas Warrier, who spent over 10 years with the WPP group companies Ogilvy and MindShare in multiple, international markets, has now launched an advertising agency with his partner Shyam Musthafa. Called ‘Sensibly Weird Company’, the design house is a small multidisciplinary creative solutions company, as described by the co-founders.

Adman Subhas Warrier and Shyam Musthafa launch multidisciplinary creative agency

Based in Kochi, the company will help brands grow by creating ‘honest stories, designs, and creatives that break through the noise’.

Speaking about the agency, Warrier tells afaqs!, “We believe in the power of our ideas and imaginations. We believe in creating our own path. We believe in questioning the way things have been, seen and experienced. We believe in challenging the status quo. And, we believe in being outliers, not because it’s cool, but because that’s who we are.”

Warrier calls himself an ‘old school’ guard, but more of a continuous learner, listener, improviser and a speculative risk-taker. Having worked with many top global ad agencies, like Dentsu and Lowe Lintas, in his over three-decade-long industry experience, Warrier partnered in the Communication Planning Mix as a senior resource for a host of blue chip brands, including Ford Motors, Pond’s, Emirates Airline, Gulf Air, Air Arabia, British Petroleum, Jockey, 3M, Taaza Tea, IBM, Knorr Foods, Sunsilk Shampoo, Close Up, Sensodyne, Signal 2 toothpastes, Intercontinental Hotels, Citibank, and Qatar National Bank.

Subhas Warrier
Subhas Warrier

With Sensibly Weird, Warrier’s mandate is to create meaningful disruption in the marketplace that creates a positive impact for the brands and clients who have rested their faith in the new agency.

Musthafa’s mandate, on the other hand, is to build strong consumer connections for brands like Hama, PalmTree, Cater, and Toni & Guy.

With a passion for film and cooking, Musthafa’s forte lies in his strong visual communication skills in the field of new and traditional media.

Shyam Musthafa
Shyam Musthafa

He is the former head of the department (visual arts) at the National Institute of Creative Communication (NICC), Bengaluru. He taught cinematography at the NICC prestigious affiliation of Canon Pro Center for South India. As a creative director, Musthafa has worked with brands like Forum Mall (Prestige group), The Chennai Silks, Food Stop Diner (CAFS), Milou, Jain Tubes, Kings Beer, Indel Money, Masala Box, Vivafit, etc.

Over a call, Warrier tells us that the agency was born during the COVID pandemic. “Although advertising is a key aspect of our agency, we are not limiting ourselves to it. We want to be a platform for creating creative expressions for our clients.”

When we asked him about the name of the agency, he says that both he and Musthafa come from different backgrounds, and have done weird things in their own way. “These weird things have influenced us personally and have also helped us in making us a better person. There has also always been a sensible element in these weird things that helps us see the good in it. That’s where the name comes from.”

Warrier adds that the ‘Company’ in the agency’s name stands for people. “The people who come on board with us should have a weird quotient. That is because passion plays a very important role in the fabric of the company. So, you should have the passion to go out of your comfort zone to do things and explore.”

Warrier also says that when he and Musthafa started working on the company around July 15, they got their first client on board - Hama, a German brand of accessories with 18000 different products. The agency is handling GCC marketing for the brand. As of today, the agency has six brands on board.

"Sometimes, there are clients who do not have a very clear objective of what they want. We have been very selective in the clients we go after in that sense and not go after revenue," Warrier says.

Adman Subhas Warrier and Shyam Musthafa launch multidisciplinary creative agency

The agency’s original logo was a bow tie and the partners claim that it was the agency’s introduction to the thought of people and their personality. “We expanded this thought and idea into each person’s passion by making it larger than life. So, everyone who joins also takes that ID. Bluesman, rider, cook, comedian and so on.... The biz card reflects that and is unique,” Musthafa tells us.

“Further, we took the dress code as our theme to encompass all of what we want to do under the Sensibly Weird banner. So, we change the dress code to different context every time, for every different vertical business that we will build under Sensibly Weird: music, dance, theatre, arts, etc. We are about ‘change’ and that is reflected in our philosophy,” adds Musthafa.

Warrier says that the agency builds on the philosophy ‘born from within’. He describes the company as a feel local brand with a global outlook. “Although we have a regional flavour (to us), we have a global outlook.”

Speaking about how the pandemic has affected the business, Musthafa says the good thing that has happened is clients have become more open to new ideas. "They have all gone back to their drawing boards and are willing to experiment."

According to Musthafa, although physical interaction is still a barrier, with time, they have become efficient with working remotely.

Sensibly Weird is six people-strong as of today, with all of them currently working from home.