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HTA returns as J. Walter Thompson

New Delhi, Sept. 3: Hindustan Thompson Associate (HTA) — the minds behind the celebrated Wills’ ‘Made for each other’, Tisco’s ‘We also make steel’ and Pepsi’s Yehi hai right choice baby campaigns — will now be known as J. Walter Thompson. That was the name it donned when it made its debut in India almost 30 years ago.

The country’s biggest ad house, Hindustan Thompson Associates Private Ltd will be the holding company and continue to be the registered entity. “It is only that the advertising arm, which has a name identical to the holding company, that will be called J. Walter Thompson,” a spokesperson for the company said.

Having stepped into the country in 1929, J. Walter Thompson was forced to pack up in 1973 under government rules. It handed the firm to Indian employees and registered it as Hindustan Thompson Associate.

“Reverting to our original name will only strengthen the close connections the Indian arm has with JWT Worldwide and reaffirm our place in the Thompson world,” HTA chief executive Mike Khanna said.

J. Walter Thompson, part of the WPP group and one of the world’s largest communication conglomerates, generates a staggering $ 11 billion in revenues through its 311 offices spread across 90 countries.

The parent raised its stake in HTA from 60 per cent to 74 per cent this year. Martin Sorrel’s WPP network had been keen to consolidate its operations in India. As part of the plan, it acquired more shares in Equus Red Cell after the Suhel Seth-promoted firm tied up with WPP.

WPP has also consolidated the media operations of all its agencies in India which, apart from HTA and Equus, include Ogilvy and Mather (O&M) and HTA's sister concern Contract. WPP also has a stake in the research outfit IMRB and consultancy firm Quadra Advisory.

Other “units” of HTA carry on under the same name. These are Thomson Connect, a direct marketing company, IPAN, a public relations firm, Thomson Social, a venture that specialises in social and rural communication and Design C, which executes design work and exhibitions. Their combined turnover in India was close to Rs 1500 crore in the last financial year.

HTA operates through offices in six cities in India. Some of its blue chip clients include Ford, GlaxoSmithKline, Pepsi, Hindustan Lever, ITC, Hero Honda, Nestle, Phillips, Godrej and Standard Chartered.

In March this year, HTA bagged Hindustan Petroleum Corporation’s much sought-after advertising accounts of LPG and lubricants’ strategic business units (SBUs) in a competitive pitch. The other advertising agencies that pitched for the account were Mudra Communications, Lowe Lintas, Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi, FCB-Ulka, McCann-Erickson and Madison Communications.

HTA also won the Godrej Appliances’ refrigerators business and the Frito-Lay India account recently. The HPCL and Godrej Appliances’ refrigerator accounts will be serviced and managed by HTA’s Mumbai office, while the Frito-Lay will be handled by its Delhi centre.

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