Draftfcb Ulka: A 50 years long journey!

Ulka Advertising was founded on 1 February 1961 by Bal and Ann Mundkur. There were 7 people who formed the first team, including the legendary R.K.Joshi , considered the father of modern typography in India.

Bal's brother Bhaskar Mundkur joined Ulka soon after, leaving Hindustan Lever as Head Marketing Services.

The agency went on to build its business based on strong strategy based advertising, winning accolades from peers and media. In fact the agency won its first industry award for its own logo! When the Ad Club Awards (today known as the Abbys) were instituted, Ulka was the first agency to win the Campaign of the Year Award for its "Save Bangladesh' public service campaign.

Some of the early clients included Gabriel, Crompton Greaves, Mukund, Godrej, Ciba Geigy, Zodiac, Nerolac, Ceat and ITC. These clients propelled Ulka into the top ten league within the first decade.

The agency moved into its new office at Nirmal, Nariman Point in Mumbai about ten years after inception and was in fact the first advertising agency to move into the premier business district of India. The agency opened offices in Kolkata and Delhi in the first decade, and moved into Bangalore and South India ten years later.

Ulka celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1986 by organizing a unique seminar "Advertising and the Fourth Estate" where four leading editors discussed the role of media and advertising in a developing economy.

A team of 6 professional managers comprising Ambi M G Parameswaran, Arvind Wable, Shashi Sinha, Nagesh Alai and Niteen Bhagwat led by Anil Kapoor joined the agency in the late "80's. The new team built on the successful foundation and took the agency into the top five league, the first Indian agency to break into the preserve of this exclusive MNC club.

In February 1997, Foote Cone & Belding (FCB) acquired a 51% stake in the agency and the name was changed to FCB Ulka. In 2007, Draft Worldwide and FCB merged globally to form Draftfcb. Soon after, Draftfcb acquired the remaining 49% stake and the name changed to Draftfcb Ulka, a 100% Interpublic Group Company.

Over the past 50 years, the agency has stayed true to its founding principles of long term relationships: with its people, with its clients and with its associates. This belief is reflected in our enduring client relationships, many of which can be traced back to the first decade of the agency [ITC, Zodiac, Nerolac]. Many other clients have been with the agency for over two decades [Wipro, Amul, Tata Consultancy Services, Hero Honda, Agrotech, Blue Star].

Similarly, the agency top management has stayed together for over two decades; K S Chakravarthy (Chax) further strengthened the core management team when he joined as National Creative Director two years ago. Interestingly, the top 45 executives would have served an average of 10 years + with the agency group.

Over the last two decades Ulka has transformed itself into a complete marketing communication solutions provider with two mainline agencies, Draftfcb Ulka Advertising and Interface Communications [a Top 20 ranked agency], Lodestar UM Media [a top 3 media house], Draftfcb Ulka Interactive [Direct, Digital agency], Draftfcb Ulka Healthcare [a pioneering Pharma agency], Nebula Films, Procyon Graphics, IO Design and Cogito Consulting.

Through these divisions, the Draftfcb Ulka Group serves well over 250 brands across more than 100 clients in sectors as diverse as automotive, consumer goods, consumer durables, technology, financial services and retail, in emerging and traditional media as well as healthcare. Tata Motors, Whirlpool, Zee, Tata Tele Limited, S.C.Johnson, LIC, Indian Oil and the Mahindra Group are some of our key Group clients.

As the Draftcb Ulka Group gets ready to celebrate its 50th Anniversary, the entire team stands committed to the principles of Draftfcb Worldwide and Ulka Advertising: To become trusted business partners to its clients and to continue to be a great place to work and grow.

Talking exclusively to Adgully, Ambi said, "Ulka completing 50 years is a truly a great moment for all of us. It is possibly the only agency that was born as an owner managed agency, that went on to become a professionally managed agency, that transformed into a part of a global agency network, preserving some of the key genetic elements and all the time managing to be in the top order of Indian Ad Agency landscape. This has been possible because of some truly visionary leaders the agency has had, a great learning culture, wonderful teams and most importantly a great set of clients."

"As we get ready to celebrate our 50th Birthday, we will remember the leaders who built this agency in its first two decades, some of them are no longer alive. We will be having in our celebrations the leaders who have played very key roles in the growth of the agency," he added.

A host of events have been planned to celebrate this Golden Jubilee Year: Kicking off with a party on Founders Day (February 1st) for both current employees and alumni, followed by celebrations with our clients and business partners. Joining us will be Howard Draft, Chairman Draftfcb Worldwide and Laurence Boschetto, CEO Draftfcb Worldwide. This is just the start of the celebrations which will continue throughout 2011 with a series of seminars, workshops and other interesting events.


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