We are tightly knit, pint sized shop with an eclectic bunch of talent. “We believe the ingenuity of any well crafted communication should sport a lively, engaging, mammoth idea and bring a massive smile to all concerned stakeholders.”
What made you start Chirpy Elephant?
My partner Jairam and I (Leela Ram), were feeling jaded, working for top MNCs and shops where it was all about toeing the line, humouring clients and heavy emphasis on billing. We felt we were moving away from the core reason of why we joined and enjoyed advertising. Besides we strongly felt, we were on a creative crusade to raise Chennai’s brand communication standards.
Tell us about your designers/animators. Did they go into fine art or design schools? How do you pick them up?
We have a fine mix of art talent. Our senior most resource is well rounded with local, national and international work exposure. We have Viscom grads that were handpicked because they had an eye for the ridiculous and also because they hailed from small towns, this helped bring fresher perspectives to the table and ensures a sane work culture.
How would you define the design style at Chirpy Elephant?
Very polished and contemporary with inspiration drawn from diverse cultures.
What does Chirpy Elephant do which sets it apart?
We have the resoluteness and gumption to turn down clients who refuse to buy good work. We chase good work at all costs and not the monies. That’s one reason why we are among the very few shops hailing from Chennai, that has won the admiration of clients and peers across India.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Well inspiration comes from everywhere, country music doyens Don Williams, John Denver, Sporting Legend Steve Waugh, Advertising greats Bernbach, Ogilvy, Belgian Art Genius, Erik Vervroegen, Ogilvy’s – Tham Khai Meng, Ace illustrator – Tiagio Hoisel, Maverick Entrepreneur – Branson, stand up comedians and all kinds of people…
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Brand Building?
Anand Bhaskar Halve (Chlorophyll Brand and Communications), when it comes to positioning Subrata Sen Gupta, Anand Siva ex Saatch & Satchi and Akshara…
How important is the focus on a great brand idea?
Do you function like a traditional advertising agency? Or would you call yourself more of a graphic design/branding agency?
We are ideas shop. Period! The work culture is fun loving and laid back. But there is a strict adherence to meeting client goals and deadlines.
What do you feel about the state of design in Brand Building in India?
Bombay largely and to some degree Delhi and Bangalore is upping the ante; I strongly feel the rest of the country including Chennai has a lot of catching up to do.
Any other Indian agencies you admire?
We adore the work coming out of the all time favourite O&M (at least we admired what they did till a few years ago) very recently it’s been Happy and Taproot to a large degree.
What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? Would you advise them to take on graphic design as a career option? Or Advertising and brand building?
Please understand what you are getting into, don’t enter this industry without truckloads of passion, perseverance and patience. Do the hard yards, identify mentor agencies and spend some time honing the skills before you venture out on your own and seek fame. Why just graphic design? there are enough functional roles that will catch the fancy and fuel ambitions.
Who would your design team like to take out for dinner?
Some dear clients who have shown immense faith in our creative leaps and some doyens’ in the industry.
What’s on the company iPod?
A mishmash of the latest Tamil chartbusters and at times some good old country music.
Mac or PC?
Viral office signage
Young Ones Launch
NAC Store Launch
Half the Praise