Shreyas Kulkarni

“Great way for independent agencies to have a network, without losing independence”: Ashish Khazanchi, Enormous

The adman talks about his agency joining New York-based Stagwell’s global affiliate network.

"Kyun na hum iss dosti ko rishtedari mein badal de?” This is what came to my Bollywood-obsessed mind when I was asked to speak to Ashish Khazanchi, managing partner of Enormous, a leading creative and digital agency.

Enormous is joining The Stagwell Group’s global affiliate network. Stagwell is a New York-based challenger holding company built to transform marketing. Khazanchi says that it took “2-3 months of conversation” before the deal was closed, unlike the life-changing events that happen within three hours on the silver screen.

Stagwell had its eyes on this side of the world. “Stagwell did its research and then came to us,” Khazanchi says. “It worked for Stagwell to gain a foothold in the country and for us to get leverage through it (Stagwell) in various parts of the world.”

Ashish Khazanchi
Ashish Khazanchi

Khazanchi launched Enormous in 2013, along with Ajay Verma, former chief growth officer of Draftfcb Ulka. Khazanchi had then told afaqs!, “Enormous is about chasing the enormous difference-making ideas for brands with mass aspirations, confluence of insight, technology and unexpectism."

Before launching Enormous, Khazanchi worked as the NCD and chairperson of Publicis Ambience. Prior to that, he’d worked at some of India’s biggest creative shops, like Rediffusion, Ogilvy, Contract, and his own venture called ‘Index’.

Two of his best known works are the launch of Daily News & Analysis (DNA) newspaper in Mumbai, and the quirky Jhingalala campaign for Tata Sky.

Eight years after its launch, Enormous now joins a global network. Khazanchi remarks that Stagwell is a network of independent agencies (under its global affiliate program). “Without diluting the independence of the agencies it (Stagwell) works with, it brings the strength of the network, like a holding company does.”

Enormous now gets to rub shoulders with the so-called ‘sexy’ agencies, like 72 and Sunny, and also service international brands. So, does the yeti (Enormous’ logo) become the gatekeeper for international brands looking to enter India now, or does it leave its Himalayan abode for foreign shores?

“Both of these things are distinct possibilities,” says Khazanchi. For him, it’s an exciting time because a standalone agency now gains a foothold in a larger market.

He tells us that Enormous will have to be proactive in this partnership and “keep on having conversations with various agencies within the network.” He expects a lot of push from both within Enormous and the network.

“For me, it's great because we don't lose our independence at all. We don't have to dilute the culture we've built over the years… we stay true to who we are and also get an international window into clients who may need our services here (in India).”

When asked about his ambitions, say, five years from now, he tells us that it is to become better than now.

Speaking about what the move means for the agency ecosystem, Khazanchi feels that one will see more of these initiatives in the next five years, if not immediately. “This is a great way for independent agencies to form an alliance and have a network, without losing independence.”

“Many independent agencies always rue the fact that many international clients don't necessarily look at them. It won't be the case anymore, thanks to the power of an independent network,” he adds.

When asked if Enormous will go in full acceleration mode against big agencies and networks for potential clients, he says, “We will not rush into it. We are in conversations with a few independent agencies in the network so that some of their clients can get serviced from India itself.”

“Today, it's Enormous, and it will pave way for more of these things happening in future,” Khazanchi signs off.

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