When indiantelevision.com wrote about Sunil Lulla taking up a leadership position in Grey India, it did surprise many in the industry. Very few knew or recollected that Lulla’s roots have been in advertising: he was an account director at HTA (now JWT India) and had also taken the role of regional client servicing director on the Colgate Palmolive business with Y&R New York.
The announcement of his joining saw the departure of president & CEO Jishnu Sen. Lulla is taking over at Grey India at a time when it is in the midst of a grow-grow phase. On the global front, Grey was ranked as the agency of the year by adage.com for its revenue growth, client retention and the fact that it won almost all of the client pitches it made in 2013.
In India, Grey, the advertising network of the Grey Group, acquired a majority stake in rural and marketing communications services provider RC&M just as the year was drawing to a close.
It has done well on the awards front too, both in traditional and digital advertising. It can be noted that Grey India picked up a Gold Lion at the Cannes this year in the Press category for the work done for P&G’s Duracell Batteries.
Indiantelevision.com's Priyanka Nair got in touch with Grey Group Asia Pacific CEO Nirvik Singh to chat with him about the leadership change in India, and what he expects going forward.
With Sunil Lulla coming on board, what are the areas in which Grey India is looking at expanding?
We have been investing in India continually and with RC&M coming under our fold, I believe we have the right expertise and capabilities currently across the full marketing spectrum. Sunil Lulla would play a critical role in integrating and strengthening our offering.
In the 30 years of experience that Sunil Lulla has, he has been associated with the broadcast side of the business most. How do you think his expertise will help in the growth of Grey India?
With his 30 years of working experience, Sunil brings with him a wealth of knowledge from the media side of the business, not just broadcast. From our conversations, he has shown that he knows the heavily fragmented media landscape in South Asia in depth. By having him leading our operations in India, he is able to add a new dimension in our offering to our clients.
How has the year 2014 been so far for Grey India?
2014 has been really good for Grey Group, not just in India but across Asia Pacific as well. We are seeing clients in the market increasing their marketing spend with us, both regional and local clients. All in all, I expect India to be a really strong performer at year end. Malvika Mehra (National Creative Director) and team have been performing consistently as well – they have brought home yet another Gold Lion from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. This is their second year in a row they are doing so.
What are the plans lined up for the digital side of your business?
Sudhir Nair (Senior Vice President, Head of Grey Digital India) will be working closely with Sunil on this, but I must say our digital team has been stellar in their creative solutions and output (using Twitter to launch a car and YouTube for a test drive). Digital is definitely a big part of the picture and the continued investment in talent and capabilities is top of our priorities.
What is at top of your wish list for Grey India?
Win more Cannes Lions next year!
Till when will Jishnu Sen be with Grey India? Could you elaborate on the experience of working with him?
It has been a truly great journey – I have seen him grow into the CEO’s role and he is a great chap to work with.