Leo Burnett appoints nine new creative directors

MUMBAI: What with the positive buzz in the economy Leo Burnett is aiming to creatively cash in on it.

Double digit growth is what the industry is looking at this year and to stay ahead of the pack Leo Burnett India has overhauled its creative department with the appointment of nine new creative directors.

According to a company statement, Leo Burnett has dropped its "orthodox" top-down hierarchical structure and handpicked nine new creative directors. Out of the nine, five have been chosen from within the agency. All nine will report to (or work with as the company puts it) executive creative director Agnello Dias, who has been heading the creative department in the Mumbai office for the past few years.

The nine are Russel Barrett, Nitesh Tiwari, Kainaaz Kamakar, KB Vinod, Shormishta Mukherjee, Nishant Gangadharan, Harshad Rajadhyaksha, Syed Mohammed Talha and Santosh Padhi. This is what Leo Burnett national creative director KV Sridhar had to say of the nine, who were chosen after a stringent selection process: "Eeach one of them is a highly motivated self-starter - a one man agency."

Leo Burnett claims that the impact of this move is far reaching. With the younger, fresher minds working on a far smaller set of accounts the creative directors can provide more personalized attention to the clients and their business. Also the company plans to focus on the teams specialized skill sets like art direction and copywriting. Each individual will be evaluated and rewarded against those specific core strengths, thereby making a system where a talented art director or copywriter could get paid more than a creative director. The creative director will be paid for his ability and not his job function.

The benefits of such an arrangement are that clients will have a team of far more dedicated and motivated people working on their brands rather than a high ranking creative person who is only peripherally connected to the actual working of the brand and its advertising.

The agency claims that this move is a wake up call for the industry as a whole and will create a new advertising order - "where designations are a reflection of what function you perform and salaries are a reflection of how well you perform them."

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