How India’s ad honchos are celebrating Christmas this year
With Christmas just a couple of days away and with a weekend leading up to it, India’s advertising fraternity is in joyful spirits. Offices have been decked up with traditional Christmas colours of red, white and green. Some, like Utopeia Communicationz, have even put up a real Christmas tree in their office.
Not surprisingly, Secret Santa is a meticulously followed and much looked forward to ritual. Fun, food and presents mark the joyful occasion.
The festivities also see various agencies spreading cheer among underprivileged kids by giving them gifts and clothes.
It being the year-end, there is also a lot of stock-taking to do. Wrap up work and giving final touches to the business plans for 2018 also makes it a busy period for the agencies.
As most of us head to a long weekend of festivities, Adgully takes a peek into how some of India’s leading ad honchos and their agencies are celebrating Christmas this year.
Reminding us all that year end is not just about New Year’s eve, but also a busy year end for multinational companies, Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO - South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, said, “As far as the agency is concerned, there is a festive atmosphere all along. There are a lot of celebrations are going on; for example, we have a positive fish pond, where people write good wishes for their colleagues without revealing their names. We also have Secret Santa and carol singing. There are charities that we work with where the wares are displayed. We also have other activities that help underprivileged children. The offices are decorated to bring out the festive spirit. But at the same time, it is also a very busy time of the year for multinational agencies like us. It’s our year end as well, as we go by the calendar year. So, it’s a busy period, but woven into it are also a lot of festivities.”
With #BringBackTheLove as Utopeia Communicationz’s vision, it is all about the love for the agency. “This is the time of the year when we feel grateful for all that has happened throughout the year, the love we receive from the agency founders, our clients and everyone who works here. We resolve to give a lot more of it back with the fresh beginning of a new year just around the corner. This time is also important for us to regroup internally and think afresh about the businesses we handle, how we want to help them grow and flourish. That a lot of great banter, food and drinks are exchanged in the process is a plus!” exclaimed Sudarshan Banerjee, Co-founder & Managing Partner at Utopeia Communicationz.
Elaborating further on the Christmas celebrations, Banerjee said that Christmas is a lot of madness every year as the agency is a close-knit team that acts like a family. “Everyone gets together to do up a tree and office decor. The newbies of the year take over the Secret Santa ritual; people exchange additional presents amongst themselves rather un-secretly as well, then there’s cake and candies. We follow a red, white and green dress code. Someone in the agency dresses up as Santa Claus. And of course, a cosy party follows along with games.”
Speaking further on the Secret Santa ritual, Banerjee said that it is especially sacrosanct and everyone in the agency looks forward to it. “The ritual is that every Santee has to guess their Santa after looking at the gift – there are additional prizes for spot-on guesses, and the ritual brings a lot of laughs and excitement every year. This year, we brought in Christmas early to allow everyone to make their year-end travel plans without missing the fun. In the spirit of our newly renovated office that has some splendid open-air space, for the first time we did up a real Christmas tree (ladders were required in the process) and had the festivities all around it,” he added.
While there are many reasons to love Christmas, for Rubeena Singh, CEO, iProspect India, the festival symbolises the joy of giving. “At iProspect India, we make sure to celebrate the spirit of this festival every year in our own little way. Donating toys to children at NGOs is something which we do annually. We also make it a point to have a lot of fun! No Christmas celebration is complete without the game of Secret Santa in the office with the warm sight of all the gifts placed under the Christmas tree. Our Secret Santa this year also has a special theme with everyone dressed in white and red. December also marks the end of the calendar year – it’s a time to reflect and rejoice in our achievements. This also sets the tone to walk into the New Year filled with hope and positivity.”
For Sahil Chopra, CEO & Founder, iCubesWire, the enthusiasm of receiving gifts from Santa Claus reincarnates the child within everyone. “We might age, but the idea of Santa Claus granting our wish witnesses child-like cheer. The frenzy of adding red to the outfit, roaming around in the decorated streets, encountering melodious carols in the neighbourhood, the thought of devouring sumptuous plum cake – it’s like a flashback of last Christmas, which we are excited to re-live each time.”
iCubesWire is keeping the essence of Christmas alive at its office and the festivities have been planned well in advance. “We like to celebrate it out loud. And why shouldn’t we, it’s Christmas after all!” Chopra enthused.
Further elaborating on the celebrations, he said, “At iCubesWire, the preparations for the fun day start a week in advance and the sweet smell of festivities fills the air. A Christmas tree adorned with fairy lights, stars, gifts and & pretty photos of each employee beautifully graces a nook of the premises. The lights seem to glow brighter, the faces seem to glee with happiness and the joy becomes two-fold. The age-old tradition of ‘Secret Santa’ clearly never goes out of style, a cliché we love to repeat and flaunt. The delight of coming to your seat in the morning with a surprise gift and hoping it would strike off your wish list or the excitement of receiving something unexpectedly wonderful, the thrill is certainly worth the wait. After the perfect start of the day, a look around the office and everyone is dressed up in the theme of red, white and green – like adorable adults resembling the actors of a Christmas play! Various competitions and activities mark the entire day, with employees displaying their creative side in the form of decorated workstations and each one festooning their space better than the rest. Then dawns the sumptuous lunch time, which signifies the potluck in the form of a lavish buffet spread across our cafeteria and everyone rushing to relish the mouth-watering homemade cuisines. Besides celebrating it in office, we visit NGOs and orphanages in the hope of adding smiles to the underprivileged faces. The glee in the kids’ eyes on receiving gifts is unmatched and is enough to fade away all our worries. With endless rounds of selfies and group photos, the day becomes a memorable one. This is how we celebrate Christmas at iCubesWire and we find it perfect just the way it is.”
Christmas is the festival of cheers and surprises at WATConsult, too. Rajiv Dingra, Founder & CEO, WatConsult, revealed, “Secret Santa is one activity that all WATizens participate in and it’s truly a bonding exercise for all of them. Besides Secret Santa, the whole office is decorated in red and white colours and red velvet cookie jars are shared with everyone.”
“Christmas is a time to remind ourselves that it’s possible to coexist in peace and harmony without forcing our views on one another,” remarked Agnello Dias, Chairman & Co-founder, Taproot India. Apart from the festive decorations and Secret Santa, the agency is also organising a Christmas luncheon for all its employees.
At Bang in the Middle, the Christmas celebrations are entirely left to the team, shared the agency’s CSO & Managing Partner Naresh Gupta. “There is Secret Santa. People share a meal. And amid all this, work goes on and that’s what matters more,” he added.
"Christmas to us is the celebration of end of a successful year. The magic of the season is omnipresent throughout the ambiance, we are an ally for joyfulness and all that proclaims the festivity of Christmas. Like Diwali, Christmas is also celebrated with equal gusto and love amongst all the members of the organizations," mentioned Ashish Shah, Founder & CEO, Vertoz. He also added that, "You will find everything festive, with the organization lit up throughout space with twinkly lightings, Green and Red dominating every corner of the organization, we have Reindeer, Snowman stood across the entrance welcoming the season with open arms. Though Snow is far away dream for a city like Mumbai, we are pretty delusionally happy with our cotton wool dripping Christmas tree. We personally engage in our decoration and thus have quite a few décor and ornaments handmade. The foodies bring up the charm with Plum cakes, Pies and more delicacies. Finally, seeking to the Gifting nature of the season the employees gifts amongst each other in the game of Secret Santa. The Joyousness is celebrated with Friends within firm and early farewells are allowed to celebrate the festivity amongst family and friends."