VML has announced that Babita Baruah will join as Chief Executive Officer of India on March 1, 2024, working alongside Saurabh Saksena, who has been promoted to President. Meanwhile, Shamsuddin Jasani has announced his resignation as CEO of Wunderman Thompson South Asia. Babita Baruah, a 25-year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry, comes to VML India from a dual position as Executive Director at VMLY&R Thailand and Regional Client Lead within WPP’s Ford International Market Group. The announcement follows WPP’s merger of Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R to form VML.
Babita Bariuah joins VML as CEO of India
Baruah started her career in 1996 at JWT/Wunderman Thompson India, where she oversaw both domestic and international brands for PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestle, Kellogg’s, Godrej, Kotak Mahindra, Reliance, and Aditya Birla during her two decades there. Baruah began working for GTB in India in 2017 as a Managing Partner. In 2021, he relocated to Bangkok to take on two roles: Executive Director of VMLY&R Thailand and WPP Lead for the Ford Business in India, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Middle East, and South Africa.
Saurabh Saksena elevated to President, VML
Saurabh Saksena has been promoted to President of VML’s India operations. He will work alongside Baruah to lead the agency. Saksena has developed strong internal capabilities, overseen change and transition, and increased business growth over the previous 30 years at all five agencies—including a decade at Wunderman Thompson and, most recently, VMLY&R. He has collaborated with aspirational brands throughout the years in a variety of industries, including CPG, retail, finance, technology, automotive, e-commerce, and QSRs.
Shamsuddin Jasani exits Wunderman Thompson
The announcement marks the conclusion of VML’s Asia Pacific leadership team. Under Shamsuddin Jasani’s leadership, the agency won large competitive pitches across Creative, MarTech, and Commerce for Skoda, Vivo, Indigo, Hafele, NPCI, Rupay, Manyavar, and Cult Sports. Jasani is going to pursue a new opportunity; further details will be revealed soon. Tarun Rai, Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives at Wunderman Thompson, announced his retirement in May of last year. He capped thirty years of employment in the advertising industry.
Here’s what they said
Babita Baruah said,
It’s an honour to lead a market like India for VML. I look forward to working closely with Audrey, Yi-Chung, Saurabh, and the whole team in India to make sure that we connect creativity, experience, data and technology, to be the preferred destination for India’s ambitious brands and talented individuals.
Audrey Kuah, Co-CEO of VML APAC added,
Babita is no stranger to India, and we welcome her home as the new VML India CEO. With her vast experience in delivering innovation and growth for clients and a passion for building a high empathy and performance culture, I look forward to working with Babita to take our India business, already one of the strongest in the region, to new heights in 2024.
Yi-Chung Tay, Co-CEO of VML APAC commented,
Saurabh and Babita will be a driving force for growth in India. I’ve watched Babita grow the Ford and VMLY&R Thailand businesses over the years and I’m confident that she will do the same for our clients in India. Saurabh’s elevation is founded on his record of successfully integrating VMLY&R India’s offices, building culture and increasing profitability. I can’t think of a better duo to lead India, which is a key market for VML in APAC.
Saurabh Saksena stated,
I’m very excited to continue this journey of building a strong and successful VML with Babita by orchestrating innovative growth solutions for our clients that sit at the intersection of creativity, experience, data and technology.
Shamsuddin Jasani reflected on the past two years. He added,
It has been an amazing and rewarding two years at Wunderman Thompson and I’m proud of what we have achieved. During my time, we have transformed the company into a partner that provides smart and impactful solutions to crucial business problems – all powered by creative, tech and commerce. As the business continues its evolution, I believe my job is done. I am looking forward to a new and exciting chapter in my life with an amazing opportunity. I thank everyone at Wunderman Thompson – the clients, our partners and specially our team.
Audrey Kuah, now Joint-CEO of VML APAC commented,
With such a large and diverse market like India, I have seen Shams work diligently to bring the offices and capabilities together. I would like to thank Shams for his dedication to our business and wish him every success in his new endeavours.
CEO of Omnicom Media Group MENA, Nadim Samara has decided to quit OMG. He will be relieved from his role in OMG, on 30 June 2020. This decision was taken after a mutual agreement between Nadim and OMG.
OMG is parent company group for PHD, Hearts and Science media agencies and OMD.
From 2016 to 2018, Nadim had been the CEO of OMD’s UAE operations. Later, he got promoted to become CEO of OMD MENA. In June 2019, Nadim became the CEO of OMG MENA.
To make sure the smooth working of the group, due to the vacant position of CEO, Ellie Khouri, the Executive Chairman of the group, has decided to add the functioning of CEO to his role. He was handling this role before Nadim got promoted to this job responsibility.
Khouri said, “Nadim’s career at Omnicom Media Group, spanning 17 years, has been very impressive and his contribution to our group’s development cannot be overstated. As well as a consummate professional, we bid farewell to a dear friend with whom we’ve shared countless experiences, challenges and successes. We wish him nothing but the best for his next career move.”
It would be exciting to know, “What would be the next big step by Nadim Samara after leaving OMG?”
- Disney veteran Kevin Mayers who oversaw the launches of Disney+ and ESPN+ is leaving the company after 27 years to become the new CEO of TikTok.
- Mayer will take the lead on ByteDance’s music, gaming, and emerging business along with heading TikTok.
- Mayer will start on June 1 and report directly to Bytedance CEO Yiming Zhang.
- TikTok had an immense impact on the music industry and grabbing eyeballs of gaming and esports companies.
TikTok appoints Kevin Mayer as the new CEO after being poached from Disney. Kevin Mayer who was passed over for the Disney CEO role is taking a jump from the entertainment industry’s most esteemed names to one of its most dynamic new arrival.
TikTok’s new CEO plans to explore business opportunities in music and gaming as the company looks to capitalize on a recent increase in app downloads. Mayer, head of The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer and international business said in a statement,
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to join the amazing team at ByteDance. Like everyone else, I’ve been impressed watching the company build something incredibly rare in TikTok – a creative, positive online global community – and I’m excited to help lead the next phase of ByteDance’s journey as the company continues to expand its breadth of products across every region of the world.”
Advertisers and brands taking advantage of music trends
TikTok is a significant player in the music industry for discovering new artists and making songs to hit status. The platform contributed to the grand success of Lil Nas X’s record-breaking “Old Town Road” and more recently with chart-toppers like Doja Cat’s “Say So” and Megan thee Stallion’s “Savage,” which are all featured in the TikTok videos.
Advertisers have found new ways to use TikTok music and dance trends to their advantage in order to drive brand awareness among the Gen Z audience. Brands like e.l.f. Cosmetics and Warner Bros. have used original music and dance challenges to attract the audience and generate billions of views and user engagement on the app. As quoted by Business Insider, Evan Horowitz, CEO of the creative agency Movers+Shakers said,
“I think the nature of TikTok as a platform is that it’s one. It’s only natural that brands that create really good music.that the community on TikTok really resonate with, that music can start to trend and be successful outside of the platform.”
Gaming and esports companies jumping onto the bandwagon
Video games companies and esports brands have shown keen interest in the TikTok app as it continues to be popular among Gen Z users of the app.
Many esports brands like FaZe Clan, Team SoloMid (TSM), and 100 Thieves have officially created verified accounts whereas video game content is slowly taking up TikTok’s content recommendation landing page (ForYou). It’s too early for gaming creators on the platform even though esports companies are slowly and carefully exploring TikTok in recent months. Jason Wilhelm, CEO of TalentX Gaming told Business Insider,
“For TikTok, they haven’t really found what is the best way forward for gaming yet. You need a lot of requirements in order to stream video games. TikTok obviously is not set up for that right now, but that is something that we’re going to be figuring out.”
TikTok has seen a significant surge in users since the pandemic hit U.S – 315 million downloads across the iOS and android app stores in 2020 Q1, that’s the most download for one app in a single quarter as per mobile data analysis group Sensor Tower.