Emily Tan
Sep 27, 2013

Ogilvy’s Mahesh Neelakantan joins Advocacy as Malaysia lead, Kenny Loh heading Geometry

KUALA LUMPUR – Mahesh Neelakantan, MD of OgilvyAction Malaysia has left the agency to head the newly established Malaysian office of word-of-mouth agency Advocacy.

Mahesh Neelakantan
Mahesh Neelakantan

Neelakantan has left in a period of transition for OgilvyAction as it merges with G2 and JWT Action to form Geometry Global. ikt is understood that the official management structure would be finalised in January 2014, but until then Kenny Loh, former GM of G2 will be heading the merged entity.

Advocacy is a word-of-mouth agency established in China two years ago. According to CEO and co-founder Asit Gupta, the agency works by engaging a brand’s top influencer fans and gamifying the experience of advocacy via a proprietary platform. To his knowledge, Advocacy Malaysia is the first direct and specialised WOM agency in the country.

Advocacy has been working in Malaysia for at least three months on behalf of FMCG clients (which the agency specialises) P&G and Reckitt Benkiser among others. As client demand increased, Gupta decided to establish a formal office and invited Neelakantan to lead it.

“I’ve known Mahesh for seven years, we used to work together in Sri Lanka when I was marketing director at BAT and he was head of advertising at Phoenix Ogilvy Sri Lanka,” said Gupta. “He’s a great guy, has boundless energy and passion.”

Neelakantan is an Ogilvy veteran, starting with Ogilvy India in 1997. Since then, he has also worked in Vietnam and Taiwan. He left OgilvyAction Malaysia about a month ago to join Advocacy. While the formation of Geometry was not a reason, it was perhaps, he admitted, good timing.

“It’s a great opportunity to build something new,” he said, expressing his excitement about getting into ‘start-up mode’. “I have heard all my clients talk about the power of word of mouth, but very few agencies have a structured model to trigger and sustain word of mouth, which goes beyond digital social media. The potential to learn and be part of building a new and impactful marketing model is what excites me most about joining Advocacy”.

Malaysia is just the start of Adovcacy’s regional expansion plans, added Gupta. “We have already won projects in India and Indonesia and by 2014 we should be present in two to three more markets in Asia and potentially other emerging markets like Russia.”


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