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2020 will see rise of regional content, voice search, digital revenues, says Aditya R Kanthy of DDB Mudra Group

In a conversation with, the CEO and MD of DDB Mudra talks about increasing the digital revenue for the group and how 2020 will be the year of transformation for the ad network

Aditya R Kanthy

Digital and technology will be the major growth drivers for DDB Mudra group this year. The agency is hoping that its revenue from digital is likely to be more than 40% in 2020 and may even cross the halfway mark.

In an interaction with, Aditya R. Kanthy, CEO and MD, DDB Mudra Group, said, “We are focused on speed in creating operational efficiencies to benefit clients. We’re focused on agility, on being able to offer solutions across DDB Mudra Group that work for our client’s business challenges. We want to be more like a bamboo tree and not a great big oak — we want to be more resilient, flexible, and quick on our feet.”

“Our continued growth focus will remain on technology and digital media,” he added.

As per Kanthy, increased output-based models of pricing and project work are likely to come the way of most agencies in 2020. Agencies should undertake strong strategic thinking to ensure that they are helping their clients think long-term even if engagements are shorter in nature.

“As a growth partner, we have to make sure we don’t just offer whatever is the latest in the industry but truly create business impact,” he emphasised.

“Regional language content, digital technologies like voice and scannables are already a focus for some clients and in 2020 it’s likely to be the case with many more,” he adds.

While many creativeagencies have had the slowdown impact in 2019, for DDB Mudra it was quite a good year.

“It’s been quite a year for us. We’re finishing the year strong with many clients and industry accolades but also with a mission to transform ourselves in every aspect of our business from our talent to our product,” said Kanthy.

The agency in 2018 had embarked on a transformation project that looks at all aspects of its business.

“Our early indicators suggest that we’re heading in the right direction,” he said.

As per Kanthy, agencies that are not media-agnostic have to shift gears quickly to reap benefits in 2020.
Speaking on the achievements in 2019, Kanthy said, “We’ve seen our focus on creative output bear fruit with 2019 being the most-awarded year in the group’s history with back-to-back Cannes for us in India and the second most-awarded agency at Cannes for the DDB network. Closer home at Kyoorius, we had the most in-books. The creative team have raised the bar on our creative product. Rahul has paid special attention to building our creative capabilities, strengthening our teams and its impact is showing.”

According to him, the agency's work for Stayfree on Project Free Period and Spotify’s use of scannable technology has brought the global recognition from industry and clients.

Delhi is an essential market in terms of business coming from the brands and to fetch more and more business, DDB Mudra has strengthened its Delhi team with expertise in tech and data areas.

“Our Delhi clients’ demand work that focuses on tech and digital in service of growth. We’ve got such a strong team in Delhi with Ashutosh Sawhney leading advertising, Vishal Mehra leading 22feet Tribal and Ram who heads media technologies. It’s a stellar partnership which has some really exciting brands to build: from PepsiCo to Delhi Airport, McVities, Dhara, and McDonald’s. We run Royal Enfield and most recently did some fantastic content from rider mania just last month; we’re the office that’s just brought back Fido for 7Up in their latest campaign. There’s so much more to come from our team in Delhi in 2020. This combination of a seasoned advertising team, a passionate 22feet tribal and a growth focused media technology team is going to make a strong impact in the Delhi market,” he said.

However, 2018 onwards, the agency had quite a few leadership positions being vacated. “Change is never easy but is natural. It’s good to change; it helps break established patterns of thinking. We’re pleased that we have a mix of experienced talent and people from outside the industry choosing to come work with us,” said Kanthy.

Speaking on meeting the evolving demands and expectations of clients, Kanthy said, “As a group, we have consistently invested in upskilling our people, focusing on the diversity of talent — bringing in people from outside the industry and on operational excellence and that’s helped us tremendously. It becomes easier to deal with changes in the industry when you have good talent that has the courage to chase big ideas, keep learning and the flexibility to organise as per changing client demands.”

The agency has been in third position at Effie’s for two years in a row, won the Spikes Grand Prix for effectiveness and the only Indian creative agency to win gold at the WARC prize for Asian strategy. “We recently won Gold for the talent programme of the year at the Campaign South Asia awards, which is our fourth gold in five years,” Kanthy concluded.

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