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Ashish Limaye

Ashish is CEO, India at Happy Finish - a pioneer and world-leader in augmented reality and virtual reality, is a global creative production studio and agency. Ashish has a unique blend of Media, Advertising, Data and Creative capabilities.

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What does It Take To Create One of the Best Creative Production Studios In India?

Ashish Limaye recalls his journey over the years with retouching studio Happy Finish.

              Have you ever thought the answer to this question, sitting still all by yourself?

                                               Where is interactive media heading?

About 5 years ago, I had come across an ad in a magazine about BD hires at Happy Finish - a London-based creative studio. The name amused many- it attracted me. Maverick a.k.a. Tom Cruise from Top Gun was one of my early inspirations toward building personality and attitude fixation.

I was working as VP-NBD in Lowe Lintas and was safely cocooned in my job, though I always believed that there is more to me than media. If it were for any other company, I would have probably given a miss to this position. I reassessed the scenario and decided against it. It was not long until I applied and engaged in conversation to see where it all lead.

As predicted, a conversation got me face to face with the founder of the company - Stuart Waplington. We connected on many areas including the risk-taking aspect of applying for this job and talking about a leadership role in a start-up. He loved the entrepreneur in me and I loved the prospects of managing a creative studio what later went on to become a known name in Indian advertising space.

Happy Finish which set out as a small studio of 8 people, today has grown into a team of 30 talented artists. The biggest shift in fortunes of our branch in India was when we decided to focus on Indian market and not just rely on offshoring business which at the moment was the logical choice as it had just set up base in India.

We had about 95 % of the business coming in from London and other markets which were mostly execution-oriented work and being handled by a team of producers and artists trained in London.

We as a branch team initially observed how receptive Indian brands were to the creative post-production industry. The work being done by us in India was carried by our global benchmark. Few brands tried our work and agencies loved the output. The quality was great, cost was affordable and the experience was friendly. What started off as an experimental journey, translated into a complete transformation of the way we conduct business.

Not only had our work ethics and industry standards taken a faithful leap, but the interactive ecosystem was burgeoning as well. The scenario with martech and creative interactivity was seeing a significant rise and need for strong digital assets. Brands and marketers alike increasingly started making phone calls and scheduling meetings for projects involving Computer-Generated-Imagery (CGI), Post-Production and Interactive Media. Today as we sit on 2017, it is as imperative for a brand to have a strong creative brief as an automobile to have a layer of primer. Furthermore, CGI is only a part of Interactive - A mere component of the environment which fuels advertising and brand imaging. This in turn facilitates an avenue for innovation in the space of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). As brand advocates, we pave the way for creativity in VR & AR and love to work on challenges that off-shore talent despite being far ahead, will improve our standards here in India.

Gone was the offshoring tag, gone were the odd timelines, and alas was the newfound joy of calling it Happy Finish - Make in India. We partnered with all leading brands and agencies in India to deliver undoubtedly the best pieces of creative execution as conceptualised by the brands and agency partners. Today we proudly have 100% of our business which is for Indian brands and emanating from India.

So what’s the message here? Indian Advertising has a huge appetite for three things - improvisation in quality of creative execution, commitment, and collaboration. I think India needs many more ‘Happy Finish’(s) and it will only take our creative work higher. We are not just a nation known for its offshoring capabilities, but also for best-in-class execution of creative ideas - borne and conceptualised in India. Furthermore, the post-production industry in India is growing at agile rates. Computing is taking a step forward and creativity is leaping ahead of expectations. Our talent is only getting stronger and we are confident to maintain that air of pride.

Lastly, I’d like to end with the note that I hope entrepreneurs see the opportunity in this space and translate India into a Happy Finish nation.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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