Marketing

‘We're robust because of our entrepreneurial spirit'

GOKUL KRISHNAMURTHY | Updated on February 23, 2011

Mr. Laurence J. Boschetto, CEO and President, Draftcb. - Photo: SHASHI ASHIWAL   -  Business Line



Ulka Advertising, founded 1961 by Bal and Ann Mundkur, became FCB Ulka in 1997 when Foote Cone & Belding (FCB) acquired 51 per cent stake. In 2007, Draft Worldwide and FCB merged globally to form Draftfcb. The merged entity acquired the remaining 49 per cent in FCB Ulka, giving birth to Draftfcb Ulka soon after. Laurence J. Boschetto, CEO and President of Draftfcb, was in India last week. He terms the ongoing discussions on expanding the agency's portfolio in key markets - including India - as ‘intense', and confirms acquisitions in the digital space in UK, China and US markets, in this conversation with BrandLine. Excerpts:

Congratulations on Draftfcb Ulka turning 50. How has Draftfcb fared globally in the last few years?

We've been the only IPG (Interpublic group) agency to not only make our budgets, but exceed our budgets every quarter to the last twelve. We will be closing our books in 2010 again with a record performance. It's a testament to our organisation and the people we have, and to the model and the ideas that we deliver. I am also looking forward to 2011.

Fifty years later, Ulka are still true to themselves, true to the reason they got into business. It's gone from a creative boutique to being the third largest integrated agency in India. And they've done that without being dependant on global accounts.

Global accounts and local businesses: Is the balance shifting towards local?

I used to call those networks which were built on global accounts ‘trust fund babies'. They would have a piece of business that was fed by the network. In 2008 and 2009, some global accounts brought local offices to their knees. I think we did well despite the recession because we didn't have a lot of global business.

While we have a global footprint, we're robust because of the entrepreneurial spirit. The people who run offices roll up their shirt sleeves and get actively involved in the client's business engagement. They don't have that trust fund to rely on.

Across agencies, local offices have become more dependent on themselves. Not that they will ever say no to a global business, but they realise that it's equally their responsibility to sustain themselves.

Published on February 23, 2011

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