Shreyas Kulkarni

India gets its first sport, culture, and entertainment agency ‘Cake’ courtesy of Havas Group India

The agency will offer a premium service to brands looking to tap into India’s burgeoning sports and culture space

Cake has officially opened shop in India. No, this is not a reference to any particular dessert chain but to a creative agency which specialises in sport, culture, and entertainment, and it will be a part of the Havas Creative Group India.

Founded in 1999, this London-headquartered agency, which joined the Havas Group in 2008, has chosen India as its first global office outside the UK.

“India is a young country that is becoming more and more affluent, people have passions and they want to spend time and money on things they care about … there are brands that want to connect with this audience and we feel we have the strategic and creative thought to do it,” states Rosie Holden, Chief Executive Officer, Cake, on why it choose to open global office on Indian shores.

(L-R) Rajika Mittra, Rana Barua and Rosie Holden
(L-R) Rajika Mittra, Rana Barua and Rosie Holden

Cake in India is being pegged as a specialist agency that will offer premium end-to-end services to clients in the spaces of sport, culture, and entertainment.

Now, one must not assume premium here means Cake India will only work with a select crowd. Rana Barua, Group CEO, Havas Group India, emphasises premium means you are going to be a specialist agency which is not a commodity.

If Cake India is going to work with a certain client, “it is not going to be at a commodity price, it is going to come at a certain premium because it will offer certain expertise, certain valuable knowledge using its proprietary Meaningful Brands in Culture study and strategic approach.”

Holden says premium doesn't mean niche and specialist doesn't mean niche either. “We're a specialist agency in what we are offering but we are not niche. We can talk to a mass audience” Please note that Cake India is talking to new as well as existing clients of the Havas India Group.

Rajika Mittra will lead the Cake India team as its managing partner. She comes with over two decades of experience including stints in markets like Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

She holds expertise in conceptualising high-end projects across industries such as Media and Entertainment, Sports (where she worked closely with F1 Singapore), curating art and luxury events across Asia, and bringing India’s first Michelin star experience to the country.

For a creative agency which looks to offer solutions in sport, culture, and entertainment, the skill sets of its employees must be different from the regular agency folks. Cake, says Holden, always builds teams around the client's needs. “You have to understand the business. It will be a good mix of people who understand business and have passion points,” adds Barua.

Have the client demands changed over the years? As per Alex Groom, executive creative director, Cake, “The diversity of briefs in the last three to four years has changed considerably”.

Barua feels clients are asking for different solutions because the pandemic has made them realise that brand loyalties in most categories have changed. “A lot of consumers have realised they can lead lives without so many brands, so it's not a very good place for brands because they are struggling with engagement and loyalty.”

Some of the services one can expect from Cake, as per Groom, is multi-channel, influencer marketing campaigns, TVC campaigns, documentary series, metaverse campaigns, and many other offerings keeping the client's need in mind.

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