Bates Chi & Partners’ campaign to bid adieu to 55B is high on nostalgia

With Bates Chi & Partners merging with Soho Square, an Ogilvy owned agency, the entire Bates team is shifting their office from 55B Mirza Ghalib Street in Kolkata to a new address, leaving the legacy filled building behind. In true advertising style, Bates Chi & Partners recently conceptualised a campaign – ‘55B Bye Bye’ – to bid adieu to what has been its home for many years.

The focus of the campaign is on the address change as well as to celebrate the rich history associated with the address. Both former and current 55Bians came together to share their sentiments around 55B and celebrate it one last time. Key campaigns that came out of 55B were showcased, video content on key people and their sentiments about 55B, teaser video on the change in the address leading up to the mother video announcing the shift in address form part of this campaign. Bates even created micro video contents, which features prominent names in the ad world sharing their sentiments about 55B.

On this occasion, Sharmista Dev, Office Head, Bates Chi & Partners, Kolkata, said, “The campaign touched a chord. Not just with those who were once a part of the famous address, 55B Mirza Ghalib Street, but also among people from the advertising industry. For an industry known for its professionalism and where the minute just gone by becomes history, such an initiative was unheard of. What’s more, it also brought a few seasoned professionals to tears. They all have thanked us for making them a part of 55B forever in such a unique way.”

Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Soho Square, remarked, “The office as 55B was a landmark. Its historical significance stems from it being around for decades, in various avatars. Most recently, it became a subsidiary of Ogilvy and a part of its Soho-Bates combine, which I have been heading since last year. I would say I came late to the party as I am one of the few Kolkata advertising people who had never passed through its hallowed portals in the past. I am fortunate that I got to be a part of it in the last year though. It was especially emotional to be a part of the farewell event, which was attended by luminaries such as Barun Chanda, Ram Ray and Usha Uthup.” 

Continuing further, Chattopadhyay said, “I feel proud to be able to say that I am part of an agency that, in its old avatar – DJ Keymer – employed Satyajit Ray. Later, as Clarion, it created the famous ‘Ami Sananda’ campaign, among others. And as Bates, it produced landmark taglines such as ‘Ulte dekhun, palte gachhe’ for Anandalok. There must have been some special magic within those walls. For me, the success of the ‘Bye Bye’ campaign is that it brought back to 55B, for one last time, former Bates people such as Souvik Misra of SoS Ideas and Diptanshu Roy of JWT, who are today our competitors. I think it shows that once you are a Bates person, you are always a Bates person. That is a very special feeling and we carry it with us to our new premises. We will always have 55B in our hearts and it will spur us on to take the agency to greater glory in the days to come.” 

Sujit Sanyal, former Head of Kolkata branch, Clarion Advertising, reminisced, “Clarion or Bates, 55B has always been a homestead for people like us. We were sad indeed when Clarion got turned into Bates, but this is something else where we say a good bye to 55B as a whole. This is like moving out ofour house, losing your roots. Clarion had always been a vibrant set-up, a house like no other, and that evening, while saying a final farewell to 55B, I witnessed or rather realised that this current gen at Bates (now Soho Square) possesses the same kind of vibrancy and DNA that I always look forward to as an ex-member of the same clan.”

Former Deejay Keymer transformed to Clarion, which was later changed to Bates Chi & Partners, crossed over little more than 50 years. In this journey, this building has seen a lot of industry stalwarts come and go. Satyajit Ray worked as a copywriter at Clarion and was also a part of the BOD at Bates. This building, this address was home to many memories and achievers from the fraternity. The campaign was a final farewell to this legacy.


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