CEO of Mobile Marketing Shop Ipsh Steps Down

Nihal Mehta, Pioneer in Category, Leaves Agency He Sold to Omnicom

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Mobile marketing pioneer Nihal Mehta is stepping down as CEO of Omnicom Group-owned Ipsh.
Nihal Mehta
Nihal Mehta

Mr. Mehta, 30, founded the shop in 2001 to sell ringtones and then moved into text messaging. The sale of the company to Omnicom Group in October 2005 marked the first time a major agency holding company stepped into mobile marketing. Omnicom placed the company into its Diversified Agency Services group.

Sound DJs make
Mr. Mehta named the company Ipsh for the sound made when DJ's scratch records. The firm was an early developer of text-messaging campaigns and did some of the first work for major marketers such as McDonalds and others gingerly exploring mobile marketing. Currently, the shop has expanded its ad offerings to include campaigns running on the mobile web, and added mobile media buying and planning services.

"I built it and I grew it and I sold it," said Mr. Mehta, who considers himself an entrepreneur and not one to move into operations. "It's too exciting of an environment to be complacently sitting within an agency; I'd be missing a huge opportunity," he said.

A shift in strategy
His departure, however, may signal a change in the way Omnicom plans to handle mobile marketing within the holding company, allowing OMD and agency media planners to take over responsibilities for mobile media. Mr. Mehta's successor is expected to be the head of one of Omnicom's direct-marketing companies, signaling a shift to an emphasis on data management.

Earlier this year, Omnicom made its second mobile-marketing acquisition, picking up Plano, Texas-based Mango Mobile and adding it to its Radiate Group, a global network with brand marketing, entertainment and events companies. Mango Mobile also has a customer-relationship marketing emphasis.

Ipsh has about 20 employees in three cities, San Francisco, New York and London.
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