Rediffusion, launched on July 2, 1973 by Diwan Arun Nanda, Ajit Balakrishnan and Mohammed Khan, turned 50 over the weekend. At launch, Nanda had said, “We will create advertising that becomes famous, part of the language and the culture of the people.”
True to that promise, the agency went on to create some iconic campaigns, ranging from Jenson and Nicholson’s ‘Whenever you see colour, think of us’ to the enduring Airtel tune composed by AR Rahman that is today possibly the most popular car backup alert.
Gold Spot | The Zing Thing
Taj Hotels | She is the Taj
Airtel | Express Yourself
Eveready | Give Me Red
Maruti Suzuki | You’re Never Far from a Maruti Service Station
The agency has had its share of international tie-ups. From 1994 to 2018, Japanese ad giant Dentsu and Madison Avenue-based Young & Rubicam (WPP) were 20 pc equity owners. Tanya and Dr. Sandeep Goyal of Mogae Group bought out the original owners in 2021.
In a statement commemorating the golden jubilee, Dr. Sandeep Goyal, MD, Rediffusion, said, “Rediffusion has been a trail-blazer of the Indian advertising business. We are proud of all that we have achieved over the past five decades. We have been the platinum standard for clients and brands – everything a great agency ought to be.”
Rediffusion was the agency entrusted with the launch of Indian brands like Airtel, Maruti, Lakme, Garden Vareli, Exide, Eveready, Kaya, Officer’s Choice and Kingfisher Airlines, and the launch of global brands like Pepsi, Colgate Total, Canon, Casio, KFC, Lufthansa, United Airlines and Revlon in India.
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 also houses a Red Lab consumer insights team and ICYMI, a tech news portal. The University of Lucknow and Rediffusion partnered in June 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.
“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,” says Tanya Goyal, Executive Director, Rediffusion.
Among Rediffusion alumni are commentator Harsha Bhogle, cricketer Ravi Shastri, actor Rahul Bose, GroupM South Asia CEO Prashanth Kumar, BCCL President Partha Sinha, Publicis Chairperson Anupriya Acharya, Havas India Group CEO Rana Barua and McCann’s Global CSO Harjot Singh.
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, The Free Press Journal, Capri, Rasna and 99 acres.