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Vice India raring to break into a sprint

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MUMBAI: Vice India is betting big on its creative agency Virtue Worldwide, which has helped provide solutions to brands in several markets.  Among the brands under its banner are ABInBev, Samsung, Uber, Airbnb and Google.

Now, the agency within the Shane Smith, Suroosh Alvi-founded outfit is rolling out its suite of brand solutions in India.  Among the first partnerships, it has announced, is the one with PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew.

The collaboration will see the Vice crew follow and explore the journey of a real-life hero Arjun Vajpai as he attempts to climb Mt Kangchenjunga – one of the most difficult summits to conquer.

“We are excited to be the first to work with Vice India, that aims to be the vehicle and voice for the Indian youth. This partnership represents the convergence of two brands coming together to tell an inspiring story of courage to millions of young consumers across the country,” says Pepsico India associate director –Mountain Dew Naseeb Puri.

Adds Vice India chief executive officer Chanpreet Arora:  "We are happy partnering with PepsiCo on one of our first content pieces in India so that the stories we want to tell reach out to the country with the help of one of India's biggest and most recognisable brands.”

Arora, along with head of content Samira Kanwar, has been working on roping in more than 40 young journalists, editors, producers and creatives in India to focus on content production, editorial, creative services and content distribution. The focus, according to a Vice India release has been to put in place “a local, young and experienced leadership team, deeply embedded in the culture of India.”

She hopes that other brands will sign on with Vice India, which is being positioned as a full-scale media company with content at its centre and a multi-platform distribution plan – producing scripted, film, news and culture content from India for television, SVOD, OTT and digital platforms. The launch date is planned for April, and the teams in both the cities have been working at a frenetic pace to get things up and running by D-Day.

Points out the Delhi-based Arora: “We are committed to building a company that speaks to a generation that is defining today's cultural conversation in India and that is based on values of empathy, equality and inclusion. All our decisions, including choice of partners, must reflect this core belief.”

Vice India’s planned local content will span conversations across topics like food, music, sex, identity, nightlife, arts, politics, literature, and comedy, showcasing the realities and diverse aspects of India without conforming to the boundaries set by multiple languages or cultures.

Reveals the Mumbai-based Kanwar who is spearheading all the content offerings that Vice will dish out: “Content sits at the centre of everything we do. We hope to create content and experiences that matter to India's youth irrespective of the language or regions we come from. Vice India will be a platform for young people to speak up, be heard and also feel at home about their own identities and ideas.”

Adds Vice CEO Asia Pacific Hosi Simon: “Vice India’s goal is to be deeply locally relevant for youth across all parts and cultures of India. We are very thankful for our partnership with The Times of India, led by Times Bridge. Together, we have architected as ambitious a launch as Vice has put together anywhere in the world.”

The Times Group investment arm Times Bridge CEO Rishi Jaitly, highlights that Vice India is poised to delight millennial and GenZ audiences across the country from day one. Says he: “The stories and experiences produced by Vice India will engage youth culture here in a manner not previously seen. We're proud of our team and look forward to a breakthrough 2018."

For Vice globally, one of the big changes that happened earlier this month was the elevation of Shane Smith as executive chairman from CEO and the stepping in of former A+E Networks CEO Nancy Dubuc as his replacement. A&E was one of the earliest investors in Smith’s vision for Vice.  Smith was kicked upstairs to focus on content creation and forging strategic deals and partnerships to grow the company. 

Also Read :

Chanpreet Arora appointed CEO of Vice Media India

Vice Media to launch Vice India on April 2

Vice Media to build largest OTT platform, expand to 80 markets by early '18

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