Post my visit to the Propaganda India office, Inner Ring Road in Bangalore has become much more than just a thoroughfare. Because this is where a curiously interesting bunch of people sit on the second floor of a building that’s a bit of a paradox in itself – easy to spot yet easy to miss.
Once you do figure that this is home to an agency that works with brands like HDFC Life, Google India, Amazon India, Oberoi Hotels and a host of start-ups like giftingnation.com, there’s no looking back.
This is where you find a wall soaked in the glory of Batman; frozen in time, in cobalt blue and chrome yellow. This is also where you find a quiet space with one and a half couches thrown in. Not surprisingly, soon after I flop down there, I’m asked if I am ‘enjoying time with myself’.
There’s a corner where the coffee machine is king and another where the wall has been hand painted with much love and care – so much so that you assume it’s a large sticker. And there are so many books, big and small, that you might just forget what you’ve come here for.
But make no mistake. Serious work is as much a part of Propaganda as fun is. As my day rolls on, I realise how that gives this establishment a keen sense of balance. And some story-telling and conversations later, I exactly know why their blue-red-yellow pull of advertising-social-design is so potent.
Bring ’em up from scratch
The world is at a point where the power of social media is making it more accessible with each passing day. It’s the same factor that can create fragments out of work that an agency chooses to do. While plenty of digital agencies prefer working only on parts of it, Propaganda takes a completely different stand.
“We also work with places that are just starting out, in essence smaller brands. Most of them are just a logo when they come to us. Usually working exceptionally well with technology being at the heart of their products or services, most of them don’t realize they are the next big brands. That’s where we come into the picture. We look at their stories, give them the necessary edge and handhold them through various strategic decisions. We are there across all important touch points – be they about brand presentations or doing up their offices”, says Priya Jayaraman, Business and Client Partner.
More than business
In many instances, Propaganda goes beyond the drone of conventional client-vendor relationships. This attitude is often the key to being less transactional and forging long-lasting trust and exchange.
“There’s give and take with a lot of brands we work on,” says Jayaraman.
They keep talking until they can add two and two, and figure that it is possibly the hint of this approach that has made many big brands put their faith in Propaganda. To give you an example, take the time when Google India came to the agency, looking to collaborate for their ‘IPL on YouTube’ campaign in 2010, Propaganda was some months old. And this is where the journey actually began.
“We had a lot of ground to play on and prove ourselves. The same was the case with HDFC Life for whom we have been silently ploughing along making headway into the brand’s digital and social presence and becoming a force to reckon with. And in more ways than one, we were fortunate that they bet on us. Today, our collaboration continues”, recalls Jayaraman.
Design decides a lot of it
If planning and strategizing have led Propaganda into the place it is today, then design has kept the flag of victory flying high. Look at most of the work the team of this agency has produced and you’ll know how design is integral to it all.
“Most of the world is visual. So, conveying an idea through good design works really well. The other thing that we do here is keep following the best of design trends around the world. That aspiration to match up takes care of a lot of stuff”, explains Venkatesh Nadhan, Creative Director.
The agency’s need for sparkling copy has led to a relatively new addition – Manoj Jacob, Creative Director. Before you feel all lost, let’s just say that he’s the same guy who came up with ‘the art of chilling’ campaign for Foster’s that got him his coveted metals.
A good mix
While Propaganda has worked on multiple strategic projects and business-building mandates, more and more breathing space is now being allowed for newer things.
“The young bunch here wants to play around with some off-the-cuff stuff too, which is why we are slowly picking up fun campaigns and promotions to work on”, says Jayaraman.
Propaganda offers its young folk a lot of room to experiment is quite clear. Post lunch, when the rest of the world would rather go to sleep, you will find designers and copywriters getting their heads together.
“It’s only been two weeks for me here at Propaganda. I had to shift from Pune for this job, but I’m loving it here. This is just the kind of place I’ve wanted to be in” says Mihika, an animator, while steering her digital pen to do a sketch that looks uncannily like Circuit from Munnabhai MBBS.
It’s a drizzly evening in Bangalore and I’ve got to head back. But not without sharing a few pleasantries with the 25 member lean-strong team that is Propaganda. A day spent has been this good – wonder what it would be like to work here.
You can always look up the Propaganda India website for more info on this Bangalore-based agency.
Addendum: They’re about to have super cool work spaces in Delhi and Mumbai too. Soon.