Tim Love is the vice-chairman of the world's second-largest advertising group Omnicom. He is also the CEO of the network's Asia-Pacific, India, Middle East and African regions (APIMA). India has been a country where Omnicom has been trying to strengthen its operations for some time now. It has an office here under the leadership of ex-Hindustan-Unilever Chairman Keki Dadiseth. Love spoke to Viveat Susan Pinto about Omnicom's plans for the Indian market. Excerpts:
What has been the performance of the APIMA region within Omnicom?
It’s one of our fastest-growing regions, especially Asia-Pacific. We were relatively late in getting into this market. But it is growing fast now. As you know, we’ve been traditionally strong in Western Europe and North America. But we are moving fast in the Asia-Pacific region, too. These markets are important for our future growth. That’s why I am here.
Who are Omnicom’s clients in India?
In India, we do some work with Pepsi, Gillette, which is a part of Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Hewlett Packard, Aviva Life Insurance, Lipton Tea, which is part of Unilever etc. Our partner agencies here include Mudra, RK Swamy/BBDO and TBWA. Our media network - OMD - is also here. We have allied companies such as Tribal DDB, our digital marketing agency, RAPPS, our marketing communications agency, which are both aligned with the Mudra group..
But are you open to acquisitions in India?
We are open to acquisitions in India. The areas would include branding & design, digital, public relations etc. Most networks today offer diversified services. Offering a basket of services is always advantageous. But, as I pointed out to you earlier, collaborating with our partner agencies would be one of the best ways to do it.
WPP has been traditionally strong in the Indian market. Does that worry you?
I won’t say I am worried on account of their domination here. You have to understand that they’ve had some big clients for a long time now. That helps. But yes, we can strengthen ourselves by collaborating better with our partner agencies located here. For instance, TBWA globally has VISA, Apple, Mars, Nivea, some Procter & Gamble businesses etc. For the brands that are not here, there is nothing we can do about it. But the ones that are here, and which we handle, we could service them better.
Your clients are mainly in the FMCG space, with a few in technology and life insurance. Which verticals would you like to add to your client list here in India?
We are open to all verticals. But there is one area I find quite promising. That is country branding. Quite a few countries are choosing to brand themselves in the hope of attracting tourists. Your country is doing it and so are others. Let me add that though growing the business is critical, our group philosophy has been to give our patner agencies the freedom they desire. We are a lean, decentralised holding company. Don't forget we are in the creative business. You have to be as close to the consumer as possible. Our independent operating philosophy has ensured that our agencies globally - TBWA, BBDO and DDB - have featured consistently in the Gunn Report (an important creative report released globally every year) over the last decade or so. That is quite an achievement in my view.