Report on Shemaroo

Ranjan Bargotra on his time at Crayons Advertising

He left the agency in December 2020 after a 24-year-long stint

NEW DELHI: After spending 34 years in the branding & advertising industry, and 24 heading The Crayons Network, Ranjan Bargotra called it quits in 2020. His long-stint at the agency saw him leading teams handling big accounts like Kajaria, Apollo, Kohinoor, Fortis, SBI, Air India, and political parties including BJP and Congress. Just a few hours before his farewell and the early new-year party was to roll on the cold Delhi evening of 30 December 2020, he talked to about his move, his experience in the industry, and the way ahead. 

Bargotra, who started his journey in the industry as a management trainee at Amrit Corp Ltd, the parent company of Uncle Chips before it was acquired by Frito Lay, shared that he was lured by the independent, relaxed, and forward-thinking agency culture while working with the brand. 

“I was a young marketing officer, who had just spent a few months on the brand side when I was sent to sit in Hindustan Thompson’s office for the brand. I remember the office was in a fancy hotel, which was worlds apart from where I was living then, and I was instantly mesmerised by the work culture there. While the brand side was more formal, the agency culture was relaxed, people were chill, and the whole environment was more cooperative and creative. That was when I decided to take a leap to the other side,” he reminisced. 

He soon found himself working at Imageheads as an account executive, working on key brands like Aristocrat, Jackson Airlines, and IREDA. He spent four years there and left from the post of branch head before joining Clea Advertising as AVP. 

It was during his stint there that he was introduced to Kunal Lalani, the founder of Crayons Advertising. At that time, the agency was a young 10-year-old project, growing strength-by-strength and Lalani was looking for someone to support his vision. 

“It was a small office in Delhi and Kunal (Lalani) was looking for someone to lead it. It was in December of 1996. Soon after we opened a small branch in Chandigarh and the growth journey never stopped. We spanned across the country and worked on a number of marquee brands,” he elaborated. 

Talking about the projects he was most proud of during his stint, Bargotra stated that each brand came with a set of learnings and unique experiences for him. But if he has to really pick something, it would be Kajaria and Congress accounts. 

“Kajaria was a brand that we brought to the market and set this whole narrative of tiles built with Indian soil (Desh ki mitti se bane tiles). We brought on board Akshay Kumar, changing how tiles were being promoted in the country. A lot of brands followed suit. I am personally very proud of that. Next, it was in 2008 that we won the Congress account leaving behind a number of top agencies, including JWT. We had handled the BJP account in the past, and winning Congress was an exhilarating experience,” he shared. 

Going ahead, Bargotra is planning to take a small break before starting with something new that can help him grow personally and also guide a young lot of the country. 

Speaking about how tough was the decision to end such a long association with Crayons, Bargotra stated, “It was in mind for a long-time to take a break and Covid-2019 sort of accelerated that thought. When I told Kunal, he was a little surprised but he supported me in my decision. Together, we figured out the way to manage the shift and got Samir Datar to head the Delhi office. While picking the right agency head will take some more time, we spent a lot of time together to figure out the details of how everything will proceed. It was not an easy call for me to make but I realised that I really need to do it now.” 

He signed off with a small message for his team, “We have spent a great time together and I know you all are very skilled and talented. You will continue to grow and deliver great work even after I leave. I will always be there for you and wish you all the best.” 

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