Marketing Featured South Asia

Dentsu India’s Anita Kotwani expands role to lead Media division for South Asia

India — Dentsu India has recently elevated Anita Kotwani to the CEO position for the Media Division of the South Asia team. Previously, it was solely agency Carat India that was under Kotwani’s leadership, and with the expanded role, she will now move to the helm of all other media outfits under the division. 

The role will be seeing Kotwani leading agencies iProspect, dentsu X, Posterscope, and media investment arm Amplifi, aside from Carat which she oversaw for almost three years since 2020. 

Rob Gilby, the CEO of dentsu for APAC and Interim CEO of India until newly appointed CEO, Harsha Razdan, starts vouches for Kotwani as “a well-loved leader who firmly looks to the future,” bringing her people with her on the journey and someone who is fearless in approach to driving new solutions for clients. 

“The Media opportunity in India is growing exponentially. Anita’s background, coupled with Harsha’s complimentary experience is building a powerful force in our business to drive growth for our clients in this exciting market,” commented Gilby. 

Kotwani is a passionate media expert with over two decades of experience in the industry. She brings with her extensive background in media management for companies in the industries of consumer durables, financial services, FMCG, as well as MNC brands. 

As a seasoned marketer, Kotwani is a regular on the award circuit, chairing juries for various bodies including EMVIEs, Goafest, and Kyoorius. 

Dentsu shared that outgoing South Asia CEO Divya Karani, after building a successful media reputation for dentsu India over the last decade, will be transitioning off the media business to pursue personal interests 

Gilby added, “Over the past 10 years Divya has successfully scaled our business on a market-beating trajectory, evidenced by dentsu becoming the #1 agency in RECMA 2021. We thank her for her years of dedication and wish her the very best for the future. I am looking forward to the next wave of leadership accelerating the solid foundation Divya has built.” 

Meanwhile, Karani expressed her thoughts on the transition, and says she’s proud of what she has accomplished with dentsu and is very much confident with Anita taking over.

“Having worked closely with Anita – a valuable member of my leadership team, I know there is no better candidate for me to hand the reins to lead the media business to new heights. While it’s always a bittersweet moment to leave your ‘baby’, it is time for me to move on and pursue new opportunities,” said Karani. 

Newly appointed Kotwani commented, “I have learned a tremendous amount from Divya and am honoured to be given this baton to carry on the marathon. You don’t just replace three decades of experience overnight – I intend to take this on with my utmost commitment and will look to continually challenge myself and my wonderful team of media specialists to always stay at the forefront of the industry to deliver the world’s best-integrated media strategies.” 

The announcement closely follows last week’s appointment of Harsha Razdan as the new CEO of the overall dentsu network in South Asia. Meanwhile, over at the SEA region, the network has announced the creation of a new cluster for SEA which will include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Dentsu has bolstered its leadership roster in line with the new arrangement with Sanjay Bhasin, Prakash Kamdar, and Bharti Agarwal being handed new roles as CEO of SEA, CEO of clients and solutions for SEA, and CFO of SEA, respectively.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Wunderman Thompson appoints new chief growth officer, chief client officer for South Asia

India – With its commitment to maintaining growth and maximising business outcomes for clients, marketing communications agency Wunderman Thompson South Asia has promoted Raji Ramaswamy as its chief growth officer and Joy Chauhan as its chief client officer. They will report to Shams Jasani, chief executive officer at Wunderman Thompson South Asia. 

Ramaswamy will retain her CEO role at Contract India, Wunderman Thompson India’s group company and Chauhan will simultaneously work as a managing partner of Wunderman Thompson in Delhi.

In their new role, Ramaswamy and Chauhan will lead strategic growth for the group, focusing on new business and key clients across the region. They will also oversee client retention and business development, nurture teams of talent and drive strategic growth initiatives including the development of new client services and capabilities.

Ramaswamy brings with her over 25 years of experience in marketing and brand management. During her stint in Contract India, she maintained its vision to create the most integrated agency model for the future with a seamless multi-dimensional structure. 

Meanwhile, Chauhan brings with him experience in managing people across multiple business units. In his stint at Wunderman Thompson Delhi, he was responsible for driving the growth of the agency’s brands, people and business.

CEO Jasani said that Ramaswamy and Chauhan’s appointments come at a perfect timing when the agency can drive good impact for clients and business whilst delivering transformational work that builds Wunderman’s capabilities in creative, data, tech, and commerce.

“With India as one of our fastest growing markets and being uniquely poised to provide integrated solutions to our clients, we are on an ambitious growth trajectory with Raji and Joy as enablers to chart the best course for the next growth phase,” Jasani added.

This month, Wunderman Thompson also elevated Gavin Bain as its chief executive officer for Australia.

Marketing Featured South Asia

TBWA\India appoints Ranjeev Vij as executive director for North operations

Mumbai, India – Advertising agency TBWA\ India appoints Ranjeev Vij as executive director for its North operations to further drive a growth strategy for the agency. Simultaneously, Vij was appointed as managing director of Nissan United 3.0, the dedicated marketing agency for the Nissan brand by TBWA\ to further elevate the impact of the team.

Vij brings with him a strong background in advertising, digital, data and PR working across the markets of United Kingdom and India. In his last stint, he was with Adfactors PR as digital evangelist where he led the digital-first integrated creative mandates and helped in scaling up its digital practice.

He has also worked with marketing and advertising agencies Ogilvy, McCann, BBDO and information technology consulting company Cognizant amongst others. 

Govind Pandey, chief executive officer at TBWA\India said that Ranjeev’s expertise will further accelerate the agency’s ambition to be the leader in total brand experience and disruptive thinking.

Meanwhile, Vij said that the success of brands will be achieved if there is an ability to harness various aspects such as creativity, data, design, technology, experience, commerce, and advertising. 

“I look forward to utilising my diverse experience and propelling our clients’ business forward,” he added.

Aside from Nissan, TBWA\’s global clients include adidas, Apple, Gatorade, Henkel, Hilton Hotels, McDonald’s and Singapore Airlines.

Last month, TBWA\ India has also appointed Russell Barrett as its chief creative experience officer.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Richa Dholi appointed as new VP for strategy planning of Wunderman Thompson India

India Wunderman Thompson India has appointed Richa Dholi as its new vice president for strategy planning. With an extensive experience in marketing and digital ecosystem of businesses, Dholi will lead the strategic efforts specifically for the Unilever brands that are handled by the agency.

In her last stint, she was a senior brand manager at the microblogging and social networking service Koo India. She also worked at advertising companies Ogilvy, Lowe, and McCann, and information technology company Capgemini where she engaged with FMCG and lifestyle brands. 

Anurag Tandon, managing partner at Wunderman Thompson Mumbai said that the agency needs to adjust its mindset towards brand management and customer experience, given that customers engaged differently with the brands in the post-pandemic world.

He added, “With Richa on board, we get the right blend of understanding business and strategy. We are excited to have her as part of our team and wish her the very best in her new role.”

Commenting on her new role, Dholi said, “Being part of Wunderman Thompson is a privilege and a testament to the agency’s cutting-edge approach to blending culture, creativity, and technology. As a planner, I am eager to continue growing and evolving in this dynamic environment.”

Marketing Featured South Asia

Harsh Shah appointed as new chief digital officer of Wunderman Thompson South Asia

Mumbai, India – Wunderman Thompson has appointed Harsh Shah as its new chief digital officer for South Asia. Shah will be responsible for accelerating the digital transformation of the Wunderman Thompson Group and will work with its agencies across the creative, communication, tech, health, and commerce practices. 

In his last stint, Harsh was with Dentsu Creative as President – West, and led operations, revenue, people and culture for Dentsu Webchutney, and regional business for the rest of Dentsu Creative. For the new role, he will be reporting directly to Shams Jasani, chief executive officer of Wunderman Thompson South Asia.

Jasani said, “We are Delighted to welcome Harsh to the Wunderman Thompson Family. He brings in a wealth of experience across Digital, Technology and Commerce. Our work at Wunderman Thompson harnesses the power of creative, technology, and Commerce to drive unprecedented growth for some of the world’s biggest brands. We are glad to have Harsh onboard at a critical juncture when we are keenly looking at offering end-to-end capabilities to our clients at scale.”

Meanwhile, Shah commented, “I am deeply excited by the vision drawn up at WT and my specific charter as a key growth partner. I look forward to drive this vision and unlock growth with my highly experienced and talented peers at the agency.”

Marketing Featured South Asia

Telco Telenor names Mindshare as media agency in Pakistan

Pakistan – Telecommunications firm Telenor in Pakistan has appointed Mindshare as its media agency for both traditional and digital marketing. With the partnership, Telenor will be leveraging Mindshare’s expertise in media, digital, and buying.

Agha Zohaib, managing director at Mindshare Pakistan shared his excitement over the partnership. “We are truly honored to be appointed as Telenor’s media agency in Pakistan. This provides us with an incredible opportunity to work with one of the most robust telcos,” he said.

He also added that the partnership seems “promising and passionate” with both companies’ tech-driven and agile mindsets.

Meanwhile, CEO of Mindshare Asia Pacific Helen McRae also commented, “Our ambition of connecting data to good growth for our clients is at the heart of our partnership with Telenor. We look forward to propelling Telenor to even greater heights.”

Mindshare is a part of GroupM and one of the largest media buying house in Pakistan. The company was also previously appointed by MasterKong Beverage as its agency of record in China.

Marketing Featured South Asia

VMLY&R India names Saurabh Saksena as CEO

Mumbai, India – Global brand and customer experience agency VMLY&R has announced the appointment of Saurabh Saksena as chief executive officer of VMLY&R India

He will be based out of Mumbai and will report to Hari Ramanathan, CEO of VMLY&R, South and Southeast Asia and Japan

In the new role, Saksena is expected to drive the integration of VMLY&R’s capabilities across India, such as creative excellence and transformational solutions at the intersection of brand and customer experience, data, platforms, and commerce.

Prior to joining VMLY&R India, he was the president of Red Fuse Communications India. He also held the CEO position at J. Walter Thompson Worldwide and brings with him experience in social, commerce, data and CRM, shopper marketing, full-funnel management, and new-age media, amongst others.

On his appointment, Saksena said, “I’m thrilled to take up this new role and lead the VMLY&R operations in India. The agency houses a great pool of talent across specialisations that don’t usually exist together in a single agency, making it well-positioned to harness creativity, technology, and culture to create connected brands.”

He likewise mentioned that VMLY&R has outstanding growth potential in India and that he and his team will continue to build on it.

Ramanathan further commented, “India is an anchor market for us in Asia and with a breadth and depth of offerings that are unmatched in the industry, VMLY&R India, under Saurabh’s leadership, is all set to help clients get their ‘unfair’ share of growth in a vibrant market.”

VMLY&R India also previously appointed Rajshekar Patil as its executive creative director last year.

Marketing Featured South Asia

BBH India welcomes Himanshu Saxena as new COO & MD

Mumbai, India – BBH India, an advertising agency under Publicis Groupe, has appointed Himanshu Saxena, former executive vice president and head of integration at McCann Worldgroup India, to be its new chief operating officer and managing director.

In his new role, Saxena will be responsible for BBH India’s developing talent, organisational tools, and new services, as well as steering these to acquire future-facing businesses.

Saxena brings over 29 years of experience across the communication spectrum, including advertising, marketing and sales, brand management, digital and social, and PR, as well as design, and market research. He has helmed country and multi-office leadership for some of South Asia’s leading organisations, including Lowe, McCann, Trikaya Grey, JWT, and Edelman, as well as IMRB, and Reliance Jio.

Commenting on his appointment, Saxena said, “I am both excited and honoured to join BBH. With its legacy of creating stunning work that has transformed not only brands but also categories, BBH India is truly built for the modern age of marketing. I am looking forward to scaling this further and bringing my experience and a fresh perspective to leading such talented individuals and ambitious clients.”

Meanwhile, Dheeraj Sinha, CEO of Leo Burnett South Asia and chairman of BBH India, shared that BBH India, with its legacy of modern, creative and effective solutions that are well-entrenched in the modern Indian zeitgeist, has built a reputation as a creative firepower in the country. 

“I am delighted to welcome Himanshu onboard. A talented leader known for his deep client relationships, his commitment to business innovation, and his operational acumen, Himanshu embodies the black sheep and zag philosophy that will further fuel this brilliant creative engine,” said Sinha.

In September 2022, BBH India also elevated Priya Gurnani and Arvind Menon to become the new executive creative directors. Both Gurnani and Menon were previously senior creative directors, and will continue to report to BBH India’s CCO and CEO, Russell Barrett.

Marketing Featured South Asia

India-based air conditioning brand Hitachi names BBH India as new creative, advertising agency partner

New Delhi, India – Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India, a manufacturer of air conditioning products under the ‘Hitachi’ brand, has appointed advertising agency BBH India to be its new creative strategy and advertising agency partner. 

As part of the remit with BBH India, Hitachi aims to create high-decibel brand awareness and strengthen its brand leadership amongst the ‘New Informed World’ consumer.

BBH India won the business as part of a contested multi-agency pitch and will manage full-service responsibilities for strategic creative design and advertising. Moreover, the agency will also now spearhead the development of both consumer-focused and business-driven marketing campaigns for Hitachi’s HVAC and refrigeration solutions.

Nilesh Shah, senior vice president of business planning and marketing at Hitachi, shared that they wanted a strategic creative partner to help them strengthen their positioning as an Aspirational Premium brand by bringing in a fresh perspective to their brand proposition. 

“We look forward to this creative partnership with BBH and further building on our track record of memorable, creative campaigns across the target audience,” said Shah.

Meanwhile, Dheeraj Sinha, CEO of Leo Burnett South Asia and chairman of BBH India, commented that as a team, they are very proud and humbled to be chosen as a creative partner of India’s most aspirational and premium air conditioning brand. 

“We have a big task in front of us, as the brand is known for its stunning consumer campaigns and has consistently rolled out great pieces of creative work over the years. We are excited to co-create the next chapter of the brand story and level up the brand salience,” said Sinha.

Marketing Featured South Asia

Dentsu Creative India boosts creative team with new leadership hires

India – Dentsu Creative India has announced the appointment of Dalip Daniel, as the new group executive creative, and Tulika Seth, as the new group creative director, to bolster its creative team. Both will be reporting to Joy Mohanty, chief creative Officer of Dentsu Creative India.

In their new roles, Daniel and Seth will be focusing on boosting the agency’s creative competence for its existing and prospective clientele. They will design ideas that ‘Create Culture, Change Society, and Invent The Future’ by keeping modern creativity at the heart of the business.

Daniel is a seasoned creative leader and has held leadership roles across agencies and radio stations like Ogilvy & Mather, GroupM ESP, and BIG 92.7 FM. He has worked for brands like Airtel, Nokia, Limca, Dabur, and Pepsi, as well as SONY, and Honda, amongst many others. In addition to this, he has also created branded content for TV shows and launched BIG 92.7 FM in North India.

Meanwhile, armed with over 16 years of experience, Seth has led creative teams at agencies like Lowe, TBWA, Grey, Innocean, and Humour Me in Delhi and Mumbai. Some of the brands she has worked with include Hyundai, Dunzo, LG, and National Geographic, as well as Henkel, and Anne French, amongst others.

Commenting on his appointment, Daniel said, “This is an exciting opportunity, and I am thrilled to be joining dentsu at such a pivotal time.”

Meanwhile, Seth also commented, “‘Wholly integrated’ is the key descriptor that has really got me excited. The work that has been coming out of the agency is truly inspiring, and I can’t wait to dive right in.”

Mohanty said, “Together with a superb body of work, Tulika & Danny bring with them a wealth of experience across formats. They will both play a key role in driving our agenda of creativity beyond silos. It is great to have them on board.”

Just recently, Dentsu Creative India announced the appointment of Benny Augustine as its new chief operating officer, where he will oversee the agency’s operations in India. His objective will be to build various frameworks, platforms, and business processes that promote efficiency and effectiveness for clients using modern creativity.