Tara Sinha, doyen of Indian advertisement world, passes away at 88

Tara Sinha
Tara Sinha (pictured), best known as the founder of ad agencies Clarion and Tara Sinha Associates, passed away on Wednesday at her Gurugram residence. She was 88.

Sinha, who had both agency and client experience having worked at Coca-Cola in the 1970s and early 1980s, was the first woman to set up a national advertising agency. While Tara Sinha Associates was launched in 1985, Clarion was launched way back in 1955 at the start of her career.


Sinha was also regarded as a fearless woman, who spoke her mind and never hesitated to take tough decisions. Her career saw her travel places and acquire skills across the advertising, marketing, and research spectrum, working with some of the best brands in fast-moving consumer goods. Tara Sinha Associates, in fact, was formed after she was controversially fired from Clarion in 1985, the agency she came back to following her return from the US.


This pushed her to set up Tara Sinha Associates much the way she had Clarion with clients (Nestlé and Gillette) and staff from the agency she was exiting. The agency became Tara Sinha McCann Erickson (now McCann) in the later years.


Having completed her advertising diploma in the early 1950s from London, Sinha joined D J Keymer, Kolkata, the Indian subsidiary of S H Benson that later became Ogilvy & Mather.

In 1955, Benson closed its Kolkata office, pushing Sinha and others to form Clarion. She became its first director at 23.


Sinha relocated with her husband to Mumbai in 1963 and headed Clarion’s office there. She worked in Delhi as well, joining Coca-Cola in 1973, overseeing its marketing operations in India and then working at the Atlanta office, after the company quit the country in 1977. In 1984, she returned to head Clarion for a year and never looked back when the agency closed its doors on her.


Two subsidiaries — Admar, a market research agency, and Result, a below-the-line and direct marketing agency, were formed in addition to the agency Tara Sinha Associates.



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