Hotshops or Not, the Next Wave of Indian Agencies Need to Show Their Value

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Sourabh Mishra Sourabh Mishra
We are buzzing with the news of the 'global hotshops' coming to India. BBH has announced its India team, and Naked is expected to do it soon, to be followed by Strawberry Frog . An implicit suggestion in all this pre-launch publicity is that the Indian market is waiting to be delivered from its supposed scourge of creative mediocrity and strategic incompetence. Is this true?

When these hotshops set up in the West, they were (a)plugging in a gap in those markets, marked by safe thinking and mediocre creative, and (b)fronted by the acknowledged 'stars' of the business. But in the Indian market the best creative work is coming out of the largest network agencies (Ogilvy, JWT, Lowe, McCann Erickson). And the acknowledged creative superstars here (e.g., Piyush Pandey of Ogilvy, Balki of Lowe, Prasoon Joshi of McCann Erickson) have not lent their names to these hotshops, yet.

Now, why would a client want to park business with these supposed hotshops? They are, in effect, just another global agency network setting up office in India, fronted by, at best, some competent professionals. And to make matters more difficult for them, many other locally 'hot' creative people are setting up on their own , giving clients the option to work with smaller creative shops, if they are so inclined. Caught between the large and creative agencies on the one hand and the small local creative hotshops on the other, these 'global hotshops' need to very clearly spell out their points of differentiation in the Indian context.

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