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White Rivers Media – The Subculture Hacker

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White Rivers Media is a full-service creative digital marketing agency, specializing in digital, design, social media, and video. Founded in Mumbai in 2012, the agency has spent the past decade establishing its footprint across the globe.

The agency was founded by two passionate individuals who wanted to create work that creates an impact and hacks subcultures. Shrenik Gandhi, co-founder, and CEO of White Rivers Media bring his experience in entrepreneurship and digital media to the agency. Mitesh Kothari, co-founder, and CCO bring his expertise in creative strategy and visual design. Together, they have built a team of top-flight talent that drives ground-breaking campaigns using innovative tech solutions.

What is the core function of the agency?

White Rivers Media is a marketing agency that prides itself on creating impactful campaigns that “hack” subcultures. They describe themselves as a brand of integrated, data-led creative marketers, which suggests that they use a combination of data analytics and creative talent to develop effective marketing strategies.

Over the past decade, White Rivers Media has built a strong reputation for delivering ground-breaking campaigns that are driven by innovative tech solutions and top-flight talent. This suggests that they have a team of skilled professionals who are adept at leveraging emerging technologies to create campaigns that are both effective and engaging.

The agency’s approach is based on four core principles, which are known as the 4 Ps.

  1. Purpose: Purpose refers to the agency’s focus on creating a solid impact with its work. This means they aim to deliver campaigns that make a difference to their clients and audiences.
  2. People: People emphasize the importance of understanding human behavior and interactions. This means that the agency likely deeply understands psychology and sociology. They use this knowledge to develop campaigns tailored to the specific needs and desires of their client’s target audiences.
  3. Persistence: Persistence is about doing new things and continually evolving. This suggests that White Rivers Media is a dynamic agency that is always looking for new and innovative ways to approach marketing.
  4. Practice: Practice is about bringing ideas, brand vision, and goals to life. This means that White Rivers Media is likely to have a highly creative agency that is adept at turning ideas into actionable campaigns.

What kind of clients do they work with?

White Rivers Media works with a diverse range of clients across multiple industries, including entertainment, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), banking, financial services, insurance (BFSI), and fantasy sports.

White Rivers Media is paying attention to Web 3.0 because they believe it will be an important part of the future of the internet. They are interested in the concept of the Metaverse, which is a virtual world where people can interact with each other and with digital objects in a more immersive way than is currently possible on the internet.

What is the specialization of the agency?

White Rivers Media specializes in delivering innovative and impactful marketing campaigns that tap into specific subcultures to build recognition for their clients and brands. They are dedicated to promoting causes that have a positive impact on people’s lives and can help to drive changes in lifestyles for the collective good.

The agency is always attuned to the latest social trends and is often among the first to create engaging content that resonates with its client target audiences. They take a listening-first approach, actively monitoring and participating in the conversations that their clients’ customers are having to stay on top of emerging trends and insights.

The specialization of White Rivers Media is in the area of integrated marketing, with a focus on creating effective campaigns that resonate with specific subcultures. They have expertise in:

  1. Social media marketing
  2. Influencer marketing
  3. Search engine marketing
  4. Video production services
  5. Web design and development
  6. Search engine optimization
  7. Sequential storytelling
  8. Programmatic advertising
  9. Alternate media planning

Growth of the agency

White Rivers Media has experienced significant growth since its inception 10 years ago. The agency started with a team of just 35 people and has since grown to a team of over 400 professionals, showcasing its commitment to expanding its reach and services.

In addition to its growing team, White Rivers Media has also expanded its physical presence, with four offices located in three cities. This growth is a testament to the agency’s ability to deliver effective marketing solutions and meet the evolving needs of its clients.

Furthermore, the agency’s work spans across continents, showcasing its international reach and ambition to serve clients on a global scale. Overall, White Rivers Media’s impressive growth over the years underscores its success in the highly competitive marketing industry and positions them as one of the leading independent marketing agencies in India.

How many brands and clients agency has worked with

White Rivers Media has worked with over 1000 brands across various industries over the past decade. The agency has successfully created profitable markets and built loyal audiences for clients offering people, products, and services. This diverse portfolio of clients reflects the agency’s versatility and ability to create impactful marketing solutions across various sectors. It also speaks to the trust that clients have in White Rivers Media’s ability to deliver effective marketing campaigns that drive results.

Top brands and clients agency has worked with

White Rivers Media has worked with several top brands across various industries over the years. In the media and entertainment space, the agency has worked with popular OTT platforms like Amazon, Disney+Hotstar, Netflix India, SonyLIV, Voot Select, and Zee5, as well as entertainment channels such as StarPlus, Sony Entertainment Television, Viacom 18’s Colors, MN+, MNX, Movies Now, and Romedy Now. The agency has also worked with leading film production and distribution houses, including Disney Star, Balaji Motion Pictures Limited, Junglee Pictures, Zee Studio, Maddock Films, and Universal Pictures India. Additionally, the agency has collaborated with top music production labels like Sony Music India and T-Series Music.

Apart from the media and entertainment industry, White Rivers Media has also worked with a diverse range of brands, including Dream11, realme DIZO, TCS Global, Piramal, Reliance Jewels, La Shield, Health & Glow, Buds & Berries, Ikonic Professional, Astral Adhesives, Astral Pipes, BKT Tyres, Sin Denim, ITC, Motilal Oswal, Renee, Timex, Hettich, Chings, Liberty General Insurance, Onsitego, Sony, Beardo, and JB Boda. These clients reflect the agency’s ability to create impactful marketing campaigns across various industries and sectors.

The best project till date

  1. Brahmastra – This was a year-long campaign promoting the Disney Star movie Brahmastra Part One: Shiva, which went on to become the #1 global ranking movie after raking in 300 Crores in worldwide box office collections during the opening weekend. This campaign involved a multi-channel approach, including social media, influencer partnerships, and other creative tactics to build buzz and excitement around the movie release.
  2. Netflix – This project involved creating content for Netflix releases such as RRR and Gangubai, as well as the return of Netflix Originals, such as Indian Matchmaking and Delhi Crimes. The content generated direct appreciation from top talents in the industry, including SS Rajamouli and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and resulted in increased engagement and viewership on the platform.
  3. Shark Tank India – This project involved promoting SonyLIV’s Shark Tank India and saw significant organic engagement on social media, including millions of mentions from top brands, influencers, and even the finance minister of India. On the business front, the campaign resulted in an 85.4% increase in viewership demand one month into the launch.
  4. Realme DIZO – This project involved reimagining the launch of the DIZO Watch in collaboration with India’s first tutting crew, Tuttix. The team also launched DIZO’s next-generation earphones with the #SoundOfStyle campaign, which leveraged the influence of Gen Z style influencers to build excitement around the product launch.
  5. Liberty General Insurance – This project involved creating content that appealed to superstitious beliefs that are popularly practiced in India to promote the importance of insuring with Liberty General Insurance. The campaign successfully caught the attention of netizens and increased brand awareness.
  6. Universal Pictures India – This project involved promoting Universal Pictures India’s movie releases, including Daniel Craig’s Last Appearance as 007, Boss Baby, and Fast and Furious 9. The team leveraged video messages from Bollywood fashion icons Karan Johar and Ranveer Singh to invite people to the film’s premiere and its shows in cinemas.
  7. Sony TV – This project involved a Giphy campaign for Sony TV’s most-followed mythological drama series, Vighnaharta Ganesh. The campaign successfully clocked more than 192 million views in a short span of 25 days, with zero spending.
  8. ITC Classmate – This project involved creating ITC Classmate’s #BackToSchool anthem on Children’s Day, which was a tribute to the post-pandemic return of classroom fun and playground madness. The campaign won over innocent hearts and received several awards.
  9. Sunfeast Yippee! – This project involved a successful Instagram Reels campaign with Sunfeast Yippee!, where the team invited fans of Mahendra Singh Dhoni to remix a duet with the popular Indian cricket team captain.
  10. Reliance Jewels – This project involved promoting Reliance Jewels through annual anniversary celebrations, as well as the launch of more than a dozen seasonal and festive collections.
  11. Realme PadX – This project involved introducing the next edition of Realme PadX through an epic rap battle between popular singer, boxer, and blogger Abdu Rozik and one of the most followed Indian influencers, Neel. The campaign successfully established that bigger is indeed better.

How many mandates agency have won in the past 6 months

The agency has won 7 digital mandates in the past 6 months. These include DS Group’s Pulse, Swiggy Dineout, Piramal i-woman, JioSaavn, Mist Music, CavinKare’s Meera, and Karthika.

Total awards bagged

1. Campaign Asia – Agency of the Year – South Asia 2022

a) Independent Agency of the Year

b) Social Media Agency of the Year

c) Specialist Agency of the Year

2. Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 India and Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 APAC mentions in the year 2016, 2017, 2018, 2021, and 2022.

(WRM is the only independent agency to have been on this list for 5 consecutive years).

3. Afaqs – Digies Digital Awards 2023 

Agency of the Year 2022

4. Adgully – Digixx Awards – Independent Digital Agency of the year in 2021 and 2022

5. Indian Business Council – Digital Dragon Awards – Best Agency of the year 2022

6. ET Rise Top MSMEs 2021 – Rank 4

Award-winning campaigns – 

Dream11 X Khaby Lame, Shark Tank India S1, HerShe SHEROES by Hershey’s India, Khali, Zero, Scam 1992, Dizo – #ClicheDiwali, 5paisa, ITC – Sunfeast All Rounder and Classmate, Times Hollywood Network – Better together and FitUpwithTHN, ALTBalaji – Apharan sab ka Katega, etc.

Celebrity associations done for their brands

1. Dream11 X Khaby Lame

Dream11 and White Rivers Media roped in the Italy-based TikTok juggernaut in what was Khaby’s first-ever Indian brand collaboration, and the results broke the internet. 

2. Realme X Great Khali

Realme with White Rivers Media, teamed up with the good Khali to leverage this moment and for the launch of its upcoming active noise-canceling wireless Buds Q2.

3. Gangubai on Netflix X Mrunu and Anirudh

Fan-favorite influencers also took over this celebration with their signature styles and brought it closer to the online audience. Creators Mrunal and Anirudh can be seen reliving the passion, hurt, and innocence of ‘Meri Jaan’ – a romantic song from the movie. 

4. Renee X Khaby Lame

RENÉE Cosmetics, one of the fastest-growing Indian makeup brands, collaborates with the famous content creator, Khaby Lame for a unique campaign alongside Mouni Roy, Shamita Shetty & others.

5. UPI X Awez Darbar

Awez Darbar takes the audience through his EPIC experience at the Jurassic World Dominion Singapore Premiere.

6. Amazon miniTV – Case Toh Banta Hai

From conceptualization to execution, WRM handled the viral collaborations done to promote CTBH.

7. Drishyam 2 x CID

ACP squad from CID was roped in to bring an interesting twist to Vijay Salgaonka’s case for Drishyam 2. 

8. CoinswitchKuber – beyounick and justsul

The hilarious duo beyounick and justsul collaborated for Coinswitch’s #KuchTohBadlega when you can invest in crypto with just rupees 100.

 List of upcoming projects

White River Media has several exciting projects in the pipeline, collaborating with top brands in various industries. The agency will be working with Swiggy Dineout, NEXA, and Universal Pictures India for the release of FastX, and Sarvam Properties’ Beach and Sand in Dubai. These upcoming campaigns promise to be innovative and engaging, showcasing the agency’s expertise in creative digital marketing strategies.

 What growth agency is planning or expecting in the future

White River Media is a dynamic and innovative marketing and advertising agency committed to delivering exceptional results for its clients. With a team of experienced and creative professionals, we specialize in providing end-to-end digital marketing solutions that help brands connect with their target audience and achieve their business objectives. We are dedicated to providing personalized services that are tailored to each client’s unique needs and requirements. Our expertise and experience enable us to deliver high-quality results consistently, ensuring our clients’ success. At White River Media, we are passionate about what we do, and we are always striving to exceed our client’s expectations.

What the agency has to say about its other initiatives:

1. Partnership with Phyvital – 

White Rivers Media and Silicon Valley-based Phyvital have come together to offer a new realm of services to brands operating in Indian markets: the creation of Metaverse and Web 3.0 user experiences.

2. Unlk (Yu-ni-link): A proprietary AI-driven MarTech solution for all digital platforms by WRM – 

Precision targeting takes a whole new meaning with our programmatic tool, which allows marketers like us to unlock data and use it in multi-platform sequential advertising. Unlk helps us prove the efficiency of using influencers, a looming doubt that brands have developed in recent times. Unlk became the foundation of not only our growth but that of justifying the relevance of using key opinion leaders across categories.

3. Partnership with HYPD – 

To put our money where our mouth was, we extended financial investment and expert mentorship to HYPD Store, Asia’s first creator-owned marketplace that is building creator-preneurs of tomorrow by enabling the launch of thousands of influencer-owned businesses. We are actively creating an interface between International and Indian creators to collaborate, and widen the scope of their influence.

4. Collaboration with Trijog for Mental Health

We shortlisted top mental health experts in the country before onboarding Trijog – India’s #1 Counseling & Mental Health Organisation.

– Our Emotional Wellness Partnership with their certified psychiatrists has covered over 900 hours of free consultation for top-level managers, parents, executives, and interns to date. 

– Out of all members who benefitted from the program, almost 95% reported positive results in dealing with emotional management, work-life balance, self-development, bias control, distress management, and recovery from personal trauma & abuse. 

– Apart from these discrete sessions, agency-wide webinars are conducted once every quarter.

5. BrandsZ Alignment Workshops – 

GenZ makes up 48% of our team’s strength and is a diverse group in itself. Our focused BrandsZ Alignment Workshops aim to explore and understand the perception gaps and the alignment between brands, agencies, and Gen Zers. These workshops help us identify what motivates their career choices, the markers that define success in the workplace for them, and how leaders of previous generations can make way for their radically different views of the world.

WRM BrandsZ Alignment Workshops focus on understanding the perception gaps and the alignment between brands, agencies, and GenZ. For this, we have partnered with Dr. Wilbur Gonsalves, an esteemed executive council member of the Bombay Psychological Association (BPA) and an active counseling psychologist for over 10 years, who addresses the personal well-being and career development issues of adolescents and young adults.

6. Better World Initiative –

  • Christmas celebrations with children of Share To Care Foundation:
  • Collaboration with the S.H.E.D. foundation to provide educational and wellness support to children from needy communities:
  • Blood donation drive in association with Samarpan Healthcare Centre:
  • Partnered with Smile Foundation India to support the year-round education of 15 young and bright girls:
  • As part of our Better World Initiative, we collaborated with the S.H.E.D. foundation to provide educational and wellness support to children from needy communities:
  • This Christmas we celebrated the joy of giving with tiny tots from the share to care foundation:
  • Associated with Pratham Foundation with Mumbai Food Project’s #LockdownHunger, we curate hope and the wait to achieve the life goals of people who lost their income sources through an open letter. :
  • Collaboration with Rotighar to give monetary support on a monthly basis in the name of employees who have birthdays in that month.

7. Diversity at White Rivers Media

– We foster a friendly, comforting environment for all members, with additional safeguarding practices in place for those who identify themselves as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community—one where they find acceptance to be themselves, the freedom to work, and only objective professional criticism to flourish.

– Graduates and Masters in Actuarial Sciences, Psychology, Engineering, Law, Economics, Sociology, and so on have found their creative footing with us. Under-privileged members have free and easy access to industry-certified courses that help them upskill and transform their stories. We now have two fully-trained designers, out of which one used to be a part of the team as security personnel and the other found us while working as a delivery executive.

– We host talent from over 27 cities & villages in India, and our members speak over 15+ languages including Indian Sign Language.

– In a country where around 50% of women leave jobs to be a caregiver for their families, we ensure that members of White Rivers Media take time for their familial commitments and make a return without compromising on either time or position. 

– While participation at work for women in India dipped from around 36% in 2021 to a little over 33% in 2022, we have elevated more female members to leadership positions in the past year. We have more female managers than men with a 52:48 ratio. Teams such as People & Culture, Finance, Strategy, and Client Management register 90%, 65%, 60%, and 68% of members who identify as females respectively.

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