Marketing Featured South Asia

ASCI’s latest service aids brands in determining potential ad violations

Mumbai, India – With the aim of helping brands create more responsible advertising practices for their upcoming campaigns, advertising regulatory body Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has launched a new service called ‘Advertising Service’ which gives brands non-binding advice, at a pre-production stage, on advertising claims and depictions to further mitigate the risk of ads being misleading, offensive, unfair or unsafe.

Said service, which will be available for all members and non-members of ASCI, and will be under a paid service.

Part of the objective that ASCI holds with the launch of this new service is that aside from being a regulatory body, they also aim to help protect consumers from objectionable ads. . They also added that the service provides confidential quick expertise to help advertisers make more responsible advertising, which in turn, saves them effort, money as well as possible loss of reputation once the advertisement is already in the marketplace.

In addition, ‘Advertising Service’ aims to help advertisers balance creativity with responsibility and is being offered in line with best global practices followed by different self-regulatory organizations.

“What is quite unique in the ASCI Advertising Advice service is that the Advertising Advice panel will also include technical experts in different specialties who can examine the claim and evidence for technical claim support. It is important to note that this service is not intended to be a pre-clearance, and advertisers may use the advice to better their ads in a manner they deem fit,” the regulatory board said in a press statement.

The service, while provided by the body’s technical team and subject experts, is not a pre-clearance of the advertisement, and neither is it a guarantee against complaints being filed by consumers. However, the service is expected to mitigate the risk of advertising being misleading, offensive, unsafe, or unfair. 

“ASCI will process any complaints they receive against such ads as per its normal process. The advisory panel for Advertising Advice service is completely different from the complaints process to avoid any potential conflicts,” they added.

For Subhash Kamath, chairman at ASCi, the newly-launched service as a crucial element in the cause of self-regulation pushed the body, adding that the service gives brands a chance to better prepare their campaigns and mitigate reputational risks.

“While there is no guarantee that consumers will not raise a claim against a brand, the advisory does help brands take steps to ensure that their campaigns don’t violate any norms formulated to protect consumer interest. We believe that this advisory service will provide the necessary support to the advertising ecosystem to create more responsible ads without affecting creativity,” Kamath stated.

Meanwhile, Manisha Kapoor, secretary-general at ASCI, commented that the advisory can be used by brands to great effect while planning their campaigns as brands wish to be competitive and push the boundaries of claims. She also added that with this service, they can support advertisers to make strong claims while not crossing the all-important lines of honesty, decency, fairness, and safety.

“An external scrutiny by experts at the pre-production stage can add tremendous value to campaign development. [In the] post-release of the campaign, any stoppage can cause significant disruption and cost for an organization. But by making this a part of the way advertisers think of campaigns at an early stage, such risks can be mitigated. We see this as a win-win for advertisers and consumers, who then get exposed to fewer problematic ads,” Kapoor added.

ASCI has long been helping advertisers with proper regulations about advertisements, which included their draft guidelines on influencer ads, and COVID-19 related campaigns.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Beauty brand SUGAR Cosmetics names Carat India as media partner

India – India’s beauty brand SUGAR Cosmetics has appointed Carat, the media agency by dentsu India, to be its new media partner.

SUGAR Cosmetics is crafted across Germany, Italy, India, USA, and Korea. The brand ships its products in lips, eyes, face, and nails, as well as skin categories across the world, scaling its physical presence with over 10,000 retail outlets as of 2020 across more than 130 cities.

As per the mandate, Carat will be overseeing SUGAR Cosmetics’ media strategy, planning, and buying.

Vineeta Singh, the CEO and co-founder of SUGAR Cosmetics, said that Carat’s strategic thinking, experience, and efficiencies stood out, and partnering with them on their media strategy is reassuring, given their data-driven approach in meeting the brand goals.

“The beauty industry is ever-changing and we at SUGAR Cosmetics always like to stay ahead of the curve. As a brand leader, it is my topmost priority to ensure that we keep evolving our strategies to meet consumer requirements. I hope our new association with Carat will help us in this journey of keeping up with consumer trends and stay relevant in the industry,” said Singh.

Meanwhile, Anita Kotwani, Carat India’s CEO, commented that they are pleased to win the media business for SUGAR Cosmetics, and they are committed to creating meaningful end-to-end media solutions through data-driven marketing, and to further accelerate the brand’s growth journey. 

“As a team, we are excited to get this opportunity to work with a brand that is loved by the women of today,” said Kotwani.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Edtech upGrad launches biggest campaign, commits to ‘fast forward your career’ mission

Mumbai, India – India-based higher edtech company, upGrad, has launched its biggest campaign to date, with the aim to drive the brand’s mission of driving meaningful career outcomes for its learners.

The campaign, which was conceptualized in partnership with creative agency The Womb, is inspired by numerous emails and messages the brand has received from its alumni who have successfully received double promotions, higher pay grades, and job placements at over 1000 companies and MNCs across the globe on pursuing their online courses. 

Moreover, it dramatizes a similar career journey which will re-ignite viewers’ ambition of achieving meaningful professional growth.

Titled ‘Fast Forward Your Career With upGrad’, the campaign features the story of Sohini, who went from a batchmate to a boss, shocking a few of her batchmates who had also been placed in the same company.

The campaign further continues and is built subsequently through more film versions.

Arjun Mohan, upGrad’s CEO for India, noted that the campaign aims to bring out this differentiated positioning of the brand in the higher edtech industry. 

“While our past campaigns have helped us create significant awareness and establish upGrad as an online higher education leader, we now wish to push the envelope further and build preference for the brand, especially among a large set of ambitious working professionals who are looking for meaningful career growth, faster,” said Mohan.

Meanwhile, Navin Talreja, the co-founder of The Womb, commented, “This campaign seeks to shake these working professionals out of their career inertia and position upGrad as a viable option that facilitates strong career outcomes in a contemporary, relatable, and engaging manner.”

Vinil Mathew, the director of the film, shared, “The films have a relatable, slice of life quality with an interesting blend of tongue-in-cheek humor and the fuzzy warmth of friendship. It was an absolute joyride to collaborate with the super creative team at The Womb and a progressive client like upGrad.”

upGrad has also partnered with a host of content creators and influencers who will be joining its war cry of fast-forwarding careers. The ad films will also run across media channels in several Indian languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and Bengali, as well as Kannada, and English to connect with the regional audience.

Marketing Featured South Asia

AI firm names Pitchfork Partners as strategic communication counsel

Mumbai, India –, the enterprise AI company in India that uses its proprietary natural language processing and machine learning methods in the BFSI sector, has appointed strategy consultancy Pitchfork Partners to drive its strategic communication duties. focuses on the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector, and has large investment banks, asset management companies, and insurance brokers as its clients. Its flagship product, Vector, is an enterprise AI software and acts as an intelligent connective tissue to contextually interpret and transform non-uniform or non-standard information, and automate related downstream processes through a web of self-learning workflows to deliver end-to-end STP. 

As part of the partnership, Pitchfork Partners will be supporting’s business growth and will be boosting its brand narrative.

Har Pulak Bahadur, the CEO of, believes that AI products will fundamentally alter the way in which businesses are set up and conducted, and this trend will continue, especially due to the increasing adoption of AI as an operational backbone. 

“We are in the early stages of a fourth industrial revolution! At this stage, brand communication is critical, and I am positive that Pitchfork Partners’ expertise will play a key role in our success,” said Bahadur.

Jaideep Shergill, Pitchfork Partners’ co-founder, commented, “We are honored to assist in transforming the operations landscape of financial institutions. It’s a privilege to be part of its journey in India.”

In August this year, Pitchfork Partners was also appointed by Rupeek, the asset-backed digital lending platform in India, to be its new public relations and digital consultancy partner, and was tasked to drive the brand’s business growth.

Marketing Featured South Asia

FoxyMoron names new creative director for North team

Gurugram, India – India’s full-funnel creative and performance digital agency by media company Zoo Media Network, FoxyMoron, has appointed Umang Puri, former creative director at marketing firm Digitas India, to assume the role of creative director for its North clients. 

Prior to his role at Digitas India, Puri was the former creative manager at FoxyMoron in the Gurugram office.

Puri brings with him over seven years of experience in digital advertising. He has previously worked with brands like Nissan, Datsun, Motorola, Nestle, and Dabur, as well as various brands in B2B, beauty, and fashion.

The new role will see Puri leading the creative operations for FoxyMoron’s North clientele, working with agencies across the Zoo Media Network. He will be reporting directly to Dhruv Warrior, the national creative director.

“As I begin my second stint here, our focus is to navigate the agency into a bigger creative powerhouse by enabling and empowering young talent to become multi-faceted creators. I’m excited to be a part of this journey,” commented Puri, regarding his appointment.

Meanwhile, Warrior believes that Puri’s detailed approach to his work perfectly complements his in-depth knowledge of the digital world, and the combination is vital to elevating creative output for FoxyMoron, which is a key area of focus when delivering innovative digital solutions to our clients. 

“Umang will be a driving force behind our creative direction in the North and we are excited to have him on board,” said Warrior.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Sephora India appoints RepIndia anew for social media duties

India – Global beauty and personal care brand Sephora in India has renewed its partnership with digital agency RepIndia to handle its social media business.

The agency has won the rights to retain the brand on its books to continue building the French premium brand’s pan-India presence on digital channels. The partnership between the two began in 2015.

Internationally, the brand operates over 2700 stores in 35 countries. According to the agency, Sephora India is driven by the purpose to create ‘a welcoming beauty shopping experience’.

The brand is not new to crafting innovative user experiences which include the use of AR and 3D images that let customers try out products virtually on their website. RepIndia’s task is to bring to life similar disruptive and engaging experiences on digital to serve the needs of increasingly beauty-conscious Indian audiences.

Ayesha Chenoy, the agency’s founder, commented, “My favorite beauty brand, and a client who has become a friend now for over 6 years! Sephora, you’re going places and we’re right there with you.”

Meanwhile, a marketing spokesperson of Sephora India said, “The one-stop-shop for all things digital marketing! RepIndia precisely understands the brand ethos of Sephora India and executes it immaculately via our social media.”

Aside from the current remit, RepIndia has also recently announced its two newly acquired accounts from Singapore-based brands, escrow platform Tazapay, and kitchen appliance brand Rotimatic. The agency said the new partnerships mark its expansion outside India.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Dentsu Webchutney to handle digital, social of two HealthKart brands

India – Health and fitness e-commerce platform HealthKart has announced the appointment of Dentsu Webchutney, the digital creative agency from the house of dentsu India, to lead the digital and social media duties for its brands, HK Vitals and bGreen.

HealthKart is an online marketplace for health products. Its brand HK Vitals deems to be one of the fastest-growing brands in the nutrition and supplements business, while bGreen is a plant-based nutrition brand with products in both the performance nutrition category and active wellness nutrition category.

The appointment of Dentsu Webchutney comes after its one-project deal with HealthKart.

Kaustuv Paliwal, HK Vitals/HealthKart’s assistant vice president for brands, commented, “We are absolutely thrilled to be joining forces with Dentsu Webchutney. Partnering with them to lead our charter on digital marks the beginning of a journey that is filled with intent and backed by action.”

Dentsu Webchutney’s CEO, Gautam Reghunath, believes that HealthKart is a pioneer in the Indian nutrition and wellness space and one that is vertically integrated into a fragmented category, and it is a brand that’s constantly innovated through product excellence and delivering on consumer needs. 

“There is so much evolution happening in the vitals and nutrition space and we are lucky to be partnering with HealthKart who is at the front of it all,” said Reghunath.

In August this year, Dentsu Webchutney was also appointed to handle the digital and social media mandate of digital insurance policy provider ACKO General Insurance in India.

Platforms Featured South Asia

IdeateLabs the agency behind latest Planet Marathi OTT launch

Mumbai, India – Local-based full-on independent marketing company IdeateLabs has successfully aided the launch of its latest projects: a new over-the-top (OTT) service Planet Marathi OTT, the first OTT service catered to the Marathi-speaking people in India.

IdeateLabs, India’s leading independent full-service marketing company, aided the launch of Planet Marathi OTT, the world’s first Marathi OTT, earlier last week, in an event inaugurated by Madhuri Dixit Nene, a well-known Indian actress.

Renowned artists from the Marathi entertainment industry like Amruta Khanvilkar, Sonalee Kulkarni, Siddharth Jadhav and others actively participated. 

The OTT launch was complete with logo to the #MadhuriAaliMaheri launch campaign, to the print and other mainline media campaigns, the digital and social campaigns, the press engagement, the audience interaction, the influencer and content strategy.

“Ideate has been a great partner from the early stages, and we are glad to have them on board to take our brand to Marathi audiences worldwide. Well-thought-out and carefully actioned, the attention to detail and nuances brought forth emotions from Madhuri as well as all the celebrities attending the launch. We believe the wide variety of content on the platform will be appealing to the Marathi as well as the non-Marathi audiences across India and the globe,” said Akshay Bardapurkar, head and founder at Planet Marathi OTT.

Planet Marathi OTT has a rich blend of Marathi content such as movies, talk shows, concerts, karaoke, and its planned original web series.

Meanwhile, Vrutika Dawda, director at IdeateLabs, commented that the agency had a delightful experience in conceptualizing Planet Marathi OTT, noting that the regional content industry is booming and expanding its foothold in the global markets, to which the Planet Marathi OTT launch is a true testimony.

“Great content is readily consumed and helps make a story universal. The channel will allow India’s diverse culture to be enjoyed globally. We are looking forward to introducing extensive content offerings from the Planet Marathi stables and building conversations for the channel,” Dawda stated.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Chimp&z Inc. wins social media mandate for skincare brand The Derma Co.

Mumbai, India – Chimp&z Inc., the full service digital advertising alliance from Merge Infinity Network, has recently bagged the social media mandata of The Derma Co., a local-based skincare brand, which was won post a multi-agency pitch and will be handled by the agency’s Gurugram office keeping social communications a notch up to drive digital sales.

Through the mandate win, the agency will also be responsible for social content and product photoshoots, as well as creating, managing, and executing end-to-end digital campaigns and strategies.

Furthermore, Chimp&z Inc will craft social media strategies for a science-backed filter-free communication with the consumers to highlight the brand’s vision, innovation, and offerings.

Speaking about the mandate win, Angad Singh Manchanda, CEO and co-founder, Chimp&z Inc said, “We are elated to work on creating powerful social communications for a brand like The Derma Co., which thrives on making the Indian market vocal, and top-notch in skincare solutions. Their AI-driven methods hold a lot of potential for advancement in the beauty care sector.”

He added, “The dedicated team at Chimp&z Inc is excited to work on their social media amplification front and aspires to achieve game-changing results. This will lay the foundation of a close partnership that can yield phenomenal results in the days to come.”

Meanwhile, Ghazal Alagh, co-founder, The Derma Co., commented, “Skincare has evolved over the years and consumers are looking for specialized products for their skin concerns that are safe and effective. The Derma Co. has a wide portfolio of science-backed skincare solutions with potent ingredients in the right concentration that will help our consumers to heal their skin from within and reveal their filter-free skin.”

She added, “Chimp&z Inc resonates very well with our approach and through this partnership, we aspire to keep our audience engaged on social media and create a paradigm shift in skincare. We are delighted to partner with Chimp&z Inc for handling strategic and creative responsibilities for The Derma Co.”

Chimp&z has bagged several account mandates recently, including the digital marketing mandate of plumbing and piping manufacturer Astral India, as well as the digital communications mandate for cookware manufacturer Vinod Cookware.

Marketing Featured South Asia

India’s shopping mall Pacific Tagore Garden awards digital, print mandate to RepIndia

India – Pacific Tagore Garden, the mall under the Pacific brand in New Delhi, India, has awarded its digital advertising and print mandate to digital marketing agency RepIndia

Pacific Tagore Garden deems to be one of the most luxurious shopping, dining, and entertainment hubs in the country. It offers its patrons more than 250 luxury brands in the mall with the latest fashion apparel.

Through the new partnership, Pacific Tagore Garden will be counting on RepIndia’s creative expertise to multiply its brand-building efforts, adding a dimension of flair to the brand’s social media, as well as offline media strategies, with its nuanced understanding and experience of the shopping and digital landscape. 

RepIndia said that the partnership is another opportunity for the agency to bolster its repertoire of retail and entertainment brands – a segment in which the agency has built a solid reputation over the years.

Abhishek Bansal, Pacific Malls’ executive director, commented that they are delighted to join forces with the dynamic and experienced team at RepIndia for the digital mandate. 

“Their innate understanding of retail and consumer behavior is impressive, and we cannot wait to see what they have in store for the Pacific brand. Digital, especially, is vital to our efforts towards enhancing customer relationships and driving the brand story forward.”

Meanwhile, RepIndia’s Vice President for Client Strategy, Ashish Manchanda, said that they are thrilled to have found a complete vision match with Pacific Tagore Garden, and are excited to begin the journey as their 360-degree brand-building partners. 

“Now, it’s up to us to ensure that the brand leverages this paradigm shift with clutter-breaking creative and strategic forces – something that we are very confident about,” said Manchanda.