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Rediffusion turns 50

Rediffusion was launched on 2 July 1973 by Diwan Arun Nanda, Ajit Balakrishnan and Mohammed Khan. The agency celebrated its golden jubilee over the weekend

“We will create advertising that becomes famous, part of the language and the culture of the people,” so said Diwan Arun Nanda when Rediffusion was launched in 1973, intending it to be India’s red-hot creative agency.

Over the past 50 years, the agency has done just that. It has created some of India’s most famous campaigns that found their way into the collective consciousness, and day-to-day conversations, of the Indian people.

From ‘The zing thing’ for Gold Spot to ‘Whenever you see colour, think of us’ for Jenson & Nicholson; from ‘Annu taazgi de de, taazgi de de Annu’ for Tata Tea to ‘Gimme Red’ for Eveready; from ‘Hum Red & White peene waalon ki baat hi kuchh aur hai’ for Red & White cigarettes to ‘Express yourself’ for Airtel; from ‘Laga dala toh life jhinga lala’ for Tata Sky to ‘Talk to Me’ for Colgate; from ‘She’s the Taj’ for Taj Hotels to ‘Chaandi ho gayi’ for Citibank cards – Rediffusion has been the creator of some of India’s most famous brand campaigns that have endured in the memory of consumers.

Rediffusion was launched on 2 July 1973 by Diwan Arun Nanda, Ajit Balakrishnan and Mohammed Khan. The agency turned 50 over the weekend. Tanya and Sandeep Goyal of Mogae Group bought out the original owners in 2021. From 1994 to 2018, Japanese ad giant Dentsu and Madison Avenue-based Young & Rubicam (WPP) were 20% equity owners in Rediffusion.

“Rediffusion has been a trailblazer of the Indian advertising business. We are proud of all that we have achieved over the past 5 decades. We have been the platinum standard for clients and brands – everything a great agency ought to be,” said Goyal, MD of the agency.

Rediffusion is the birthplace of Airtel, Maruti, Lakme, Garden Vareli, Bush, Jaisalmer, DNA, Himalayan, Colors TV, Exide, Eveready, Kaya, Officer’s Choice, Kingfisher Airlines … and many more well-known Indian brands. Many global brands like Pepsi, Colgate Total, Canon, Casio, KFC, Lufthansa, United Airlines and Revlon, among others, were first launched in India by Rediffusion.

Some of India’s most famous advertising people have passed through the portals of Rediffusion. Commentator Harsha Bhogle, cricketer Ravi Shastri and film star Rahul Bose all worked at the ad agency. Current GroupM head Prashanth Kumar, current Bennet Coleman President Partha Sinha, Publicis chairman Anupriya Acharya, Havas India chief Rana Barua, McCann’s global CSO Harjot Singh … all spent their formative years at Rediffusion. The Rediffusion alumni list is simply a who’s who of the industry.

Rediffusion today has three subsidiary agencies – Everest (digital first), Next by Rediffusion (new age brands) and Wellth (healthcare). It recently launched Ladyfinger – an all-women’s ad agency.

Rediffusion has one of the largest strategy practices in Indian advertising today. Its Red Lab consumer insights team and ICYMI, its tech news portal, are market leaders in consumer trend mapping.

The University of Lucknow and Rediffusion came together last month to launch The Bharat Lab to track and analyse consumers from the country’s heartland. Rediffusion also created the Bharat font in 2022 to commemorate 75 years of Indian independence.

Rediffusion today employs nearly 400 employees and handles advertising for Parle, BMW, Tata Trusts, Dabur, Taj Hotels, Kansai Nerolac, Tata Power, L&T Realty, Orra, Brookfield, Liebherr, Zydus, LIC, Indian Oil, Shyam Steel, Himalaya Opticals, Delhi Duty-Free, Tata Motors, Apar Industries, Malabar Gold, ICICI Direct, Free Press Journal, Capri, Rasna, 99 acres and more.

“We are proud to be India’s largest independent ad agency by far with some of the country’s finest talent. We look forward to the next 50 years with great optimism, bullishness and confidence,” said Tanya Goyal, Executive Director, Rediffusion.


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