RK Swamy, among the top five marketing communications agencies in India, and BBDO, a top multinational agency, and part of the Omnicom group, have decided to separate after 37 years together.  

The split has come for strategic reasons as the RK Swamy Hansa group plans to bring its various business entities under one roof, says a press release from the agency. A friendly agreement was reached between the partners as both understood and respected each other’s strategic imperatives, it said. Under the agreement, RK Swamy will buy out BBDO’s stake in RK Swamy BBDO Pvt Ltd, and in turn BBDO will buy out the Indian agency’s stake in the joint venture.  

“We started the relationship when Mr RK Swamy and I shook hands with the then CEO of BBDO, Allen Rosenshine, in New York in 1985. We worked for four years together on a simple understanding without a formal contract. BBDO invested in us up to a majority, which we then bought back in 2009. They have held a significant minority since then. At that point BBDO India was created and we took a similar minority stake in it. BBDO is a great company and it has been a fantastic journey. The phrase ‘all good things come to an end’ is so true in this case,” said Shekar Swamy, Group CEO of RK Swamy Hansa.  

Andrew Robertson, CEO, BBDO Worldwide, said, “RK Swamy has been a great partner. I have always admired their conviction in, and commitment to, the future of India and the part they can play in it. I am sure it will be great. We have a strong agency in BBDO India. We remain committed to great work, and this will be the same in India as elsewhere.” 

Srinivasan K Swamy, Chairman of RK Swamy Hansa, said, “RK Swamy BBDO is primarily in marketing communications. However, our extended activities go beyond marcom to span interactive and digital, media planning and buying, media and market research, CRM, data analytics and MarTech, healthcare communication and continuing medical education, events and outdoor. We are bringing these together under one structure for greater synergy. The future is very exciting as we consolidate.” 

The agency, RK Swamy Advertising Associates, was founded by the Swamy brothers’ father, the legendary ad man RK Swamy in 1973, in Chennai (then Madras). He earlier headed the southern operations of the ad agency HTA.