Agency With Outsourcing Model Opens Doors

An international group of veteran ad executives are expected to launch a creative agency this week, Banerjee & Partners, which will use what it calls “blended outsourcing” to provide U.S. brands with traditional and interactive services.

According to the company, it can offer services for 40 to 60 percent less because of its offices in India. Interactive offerings will include online advertising, Web site design, email marketing, and landing page creation.

“Research, creative ideation, and complete creative handholding will be handled out of New York,” said Dave Banerjee, the company’s founder and brand strategist. “We have an absolutely phenomenal bunch of people — 15 teams in India — that will be doing the actual work, the creative execution.”

The Banerjee & Partners model sprung out of experiences Banerjee and client services director Seema Trivedi had at 1947 Communications, an agency targeting U.S.-based South Asians the two founded in 1991.

“When we were working on that, we began working with India on an ongoing basis. We had a very good connection regarding the advertising industry there,” explained Banerjee. “It turned out that they were doing better work than us, here. So I slowly moved a lot of the work to India. We didn’t realize that we basically had started an outsourcing process in the advertising space.”

Now, Banerjee, whose résumé includes stints at J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy, and the Lowe Group, will take that same concept and apply it to U.S. brands and the mainstream American audience. (Trivedi is currently still managing 1947 Communications but is looking for someone to take over so she can concentrate on Banerjee & Partners.)

But Banerjee doesn’t expect clients to come the agency’s way solely because of the lower prices.

“Our pitch will be on quality because that’s our strength. It just happens that the client will save 40 to 60 percent of their dollars,” he said. “We are not in the business of outsourcing; we are in the business of creating great advertising.”

The new agency has offices in New York, Bombay, and Bangalore and expects to establish a presence in Delhi, as well.

Banerjee says he’s sensitive to the cultural factors that play a role in advertising creative, which is why the New York office will handle creative conceptualization.

“Advertising is very different [than some of the other types of services being outsourced]. It’s about people, it’s about interaction, it’s about understanding and insights,” said Banerjee. “We are using a blended model, so there’s no dissonance between what is created in New York and what is created in India.”

There won’t be specific employees dedicated to interactive in New York. Banerjee says the U.S.-based team will come up with ideas that can be expressed across a variety of media. Mukul Bakshi, the agency’s creative director, will oversee interactive duties at the agency. Because of the industry’s rapid growth rate, Banerjee expects Bakshi to be spending most of his time on online creative. The creative director will have eight art directors and six or seven copywriters dedicated to interactive in India.

The agency’s first client is Swiss luxury watchmaker Alfred Hammel, for which it will do mostly traditional work.

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