Digital agency Webchutney keeps the home flag flying as western companies dominate upper reaches of Indian agency scene

WPP’s Ogilvy and Mindshare are the top creative and media agencies in India respectively, according to newspaper The Economic Times’s Brand Equity survey. Ogilvy has occupied the top creative slot in the survey since 2005 with WPP sibling JWT coming second three years in a row. Interpublic’s Lowe Lintas came third this year with Omnicom’s Mudra India leapfrogging IPG’s McCann to take fourth place.

Ogilvy has also won Network of the Year at New York’s CLIO Awards. Long-serving Ogilvy India ECD Piyush Pandey won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Omnicom increased its stake in Mudra from a minority to a majority in October last year, a further demonstration of the stranglehold the big global marcoms companies have over the upper levels of Indian creative (and indeed media) agencies.

Indian companies took the top two spots in the digital category however, Delhi-based Webchutney, co-founded by CEO Sidharth Rao (pictured), coming first and Hungama Digital Media Entertainment second. Hungama’s main business is distributing Bollywood films to mobile platforms. Webchutney sounds a lively operation, it invites new recruits to ‘join the debauchery’ on its website.

At some stage the aforementioned stranglehold may become an issue for Indian politicians. India has resisted expansion plans by foreign-owned companies in other sectors such as retail. Even though most of the foreign-owned agencies are managed by Indians It’s a slightly odd situation considering that Indian companies in the IT sector and huge conglomerate Tata are themselves players on the world stage (Tata owns Jaguar Land Rover and even Tetley Tea among numerous other businesses).

WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell has been feuding with Rediffusion’s Arun Nanda for years over his desire to increase WPP’s substantial stake in one of the biggest Indian agencies to a majority. Nanda has recently upped the ante in this by signing deals with PR independent Edelman and Havas Media.

You May Also Like

About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.