Half a Century Later, Iconic Ray-Blessed Ad Agency Moves Premises

RBN Web Desk: Clarion, once among the top two advertising firms in India along with Hindustan Thompson Associates (HTA), has shifted its Kolkata office premises from Mirza Ghalib Street to Sector V in Salt Lake. Clarion, currently named Bates CHI & Partners, had operated from its earlier premises for more than 50 years. Both Clarion and HTA were based out of the Kolkata.

Some of the best minds in Indian advertising have worked for Clarion since its inception. They include Satyajit Ray, Chidananda Dasgupta, Prasanta Sanyal, Subrata Sengupta, Ram Ray, Barun Chanda, Madhukar Kamath, Tara Singh, Kiran Khalap, Shouvik Misra, and many others.

HTA, since rechristened J Walter Thompson (JWT), had earlier shifted its office from Bondel Road to Sector V.

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It may be recalled that DJ Keymer, where Ray worked as a visualiser and illustrator before turning a filmmaker, wound operations in 1956. The retrenched employees of the organisation formed a cooperative and started Clarion. They roped in Ray as a member of the board of directors. Clarion has since created some of the best campaigns in Indian advertising with almost all top companies on its client roster.

Chanda, who worked at Clarion from 1963 to 1989, told the media that change is the only truth in the world and the move has to be accepted. He recalled being mentored by Ray in copywriting and client servicing at Clarion.

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From the sixties to the eighties, Clarion was the second largest advertising agency in India. Kolkata (then Calcutta) was the hub of Indian advertising with artists, illustrators, copywriters, and other creative individuals making a beeline for the city from all over the country. Kolkata started losing out to Mumbai, and more recently to Bengaluru, when top firms including HTA and the Ray-blessed agency either shut shop or changed hands.

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Chief of Clarion’s Kolkata office, Sarmistha Deb, told the media that their company is a part of the London-based WPP advertising and public relations conglomerate. She informed that the decision to relocate to Sector V, which has emerged as the central business district of the city in recent years, was taken by the top management.

Clarion’s operations at Sector V will commence from next month.

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