Embrace the change: Ashraff Associates celebrates year of creative excellence

Monday, 8 April 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

On 6 April, Ashraff Associates celebrated its first anniversary. Though a relative neonate in the local advertising industry, the agency is anything but young in terms of the experience, talent and results it offers. Having already gained a reputation for living up to its mantra ‘Embrace the Change,’ Ashraff Associates is a creative force to be reckoned with. 

Distinct from the word go, the firm is situated down a private lane in Thimbirigasyaya and does nothing to advertise its services. A discreet entrance and a long climb brings you to a striking antique door. Enter this eyrie and you would be forgiven for thinking you are in a production studio rather than an advertising agency.

Done all in black with a touch of stunning red, the area is dominated by a fascinating collection of movie memorabilia from posters to figurines. The Thundercats’ nemesis Mumm-ra dominates the Art Director’s corner, while Wolverine, Thor, Batman and a score of other X Men and superheroes loom impressively behind Chief Creative Officer Aman Ashraff’s desk.

Floor to ceiling shelving displays a jaw dropping collection of a veritable who’s who of fantasy fiction. This is no shrine to advertising alone, instead it is really and truly a space that pays homage to creativity, art and the talents that have captured imaginations across the globe.

No surprise then that preserving creativity and the creative process is at the heart of this firm’s philosophy. “No agency should compromise on creativity. These days, agency client relationships are brand driven. This has hindered the importance of craft from the client’s perspective. Why hinder that process? If done right, creative pieces can also be effective,” emphasised Ashraff. “Our vision is to encourage and spearhead creativity but always give the brand its due.”

With clients like Lankem, Canon, Steamboat and Orient Capital to name a few, Ashraff Associates has already produced some attention grabbing work, including the stand out radio campaign for Steamboat’s 15th anniversary, which marked the first time that the restaurant had ever engaged in ATL advertising.

Ashraff Associates doesn’t just offer amazing creatives. “We are fortunate to be partnered with GroupM – WPP’s consolidated media investment operation, the largest media buyers in Sri Lanka,” explained Ashraff. “Our association with them enables us to present our clients with fully thought out media strategies and solutions and as a result, what we offer from a media angle is nothing short of phenomenal.”

Creative Director and the most recent member of the Ashraff Associates team, Zamruth Faiz, had this to say: “It is so refreshing to be in an environment where pushing the limits of creativity is not penalised but one can simply enjoy every minute of this process even under deadline pressures and treasure the adrenaline rush.”

Commenting on the agency’s modus operandi, Vishan Ratnayake, one of the firm’s art directors, stated: “People don’t understand the creative process. In my previous experience, clients were so ‘clued out’ of the creative process, that they did not understand us or our ideas. Here, we involve them completely and that builds trust, they begin to understand and appreciate what creativity really is.”

Will the focus on creativity be as easy to maintain when the business and his team inevitably expand? “Expansion won’t affect our philosophy,” insisted Ashraff. “The question is can our philosophy spread to the industry? That’s the challenge. In a time when creativity is so undervalued, I think it must. “

A small dedicated team with unfettered imagination and drive, backed by the finest creative and strategic resources and partners, Ashraff Associates seems set to go far, and they intend to take their clients with them.