Brothers in Ads

They carry a famous surname – Anthikad. But what Shabu Anthikad, Shibu Anthikad and Deepu Anthikad do is different from what their uncle (Sathyan Anthikad) does. The trio has made a small empire of their own, through their ad filmhouse, which has churned out some notable ad films.

The three brothers would let their work do the talking rather than brag about the fact that their ad filmhouse – Images AdFilms – is perhaps the only such firm registered in Kerala and making ad films of national reach. It is a fact that most of the ad firms run by Malayalis which make works of national and international reach opt to have their main office outside Kerala, owing to professional reasons.

Their client list reads ACC Cement, LIC of India, McDonalds, Smyle, Tech Mahindra, Canara Bank, ECGC, Cadbury’s, Joy Alukkas, Geepas, Alonsa, Sky Jewellery, Alukkas, Josco, House of Alapatt, Kumaran thanga maligai, Scoobee Day, Mather Builders, Anna Aluminium, Lakshmi Jewellery, Nirapara, Desabhimani and KLF and is definitely growing.

The brothers started off some 15 years ago. “Looking back, we are proud that Images AdFilms has been able to introduce what you call strategy-oriented ad filmmaking. That is, we introduce a brand, position it well and take it to the next level. Something which an ad agency does. Thus we grow along with the brand,” says Deepu, dubbing it as their success mantra.

Of the three, it is Shibu and Deepu who do the direction. Shabu, the eldest of the three, does the administration part. Talking about their success, Deepu can’t hide his excitement while taking about opening a new office in Mumbai soon. “It is a great feeling to have something of our own in a place like Mumbai,” adds Deepu, who works more in Mumbai. Shibu handles most of the clients in Kerala.

An ad filmhouse was not something they had planned. While Shibu has done a course in animation, Deepu did his graduation and BEd. “I wouldn’t have made a good teacher. When Shibu decided to set up an animation studio, me and Shabu decided to support and thus the Images Ad Films was born,” says Deepu.

They started off with animated ad films, like the one for Malabar Cements. Then they graduated to the level where clippings were integrated with animation. As years passed by, ad films became their forte.

It was the ad shot for Alukkas (when the Alukkas group was yet undivided) that gave them a break. The ad ‘Penne ninne…’ with Anjana Sukhani as the model (who is now an actress) was noticed. More ads followed and they even bagged a client like Geepas from Dubai.

“Each ad has been a learning experience for us. And we have been able to adapt ourselves to the need of the client. For eg, in jewellery ads the focus used to be on the collection. Now it is different. You try to tell a story in that space; big stars come as models and the whole work is expected to reach out to a larger market,” Shibu says. Brands like Joy Alukkas ( the ads featuring Madhavan, Adah Sharma and now Shreya Ghoshal), Jos Alukkas (Vijay) and Geepas (Resul Pookkutty) are a few such examples. “Most clients are now willing to spend more on ad films. They even treat it as an investment,” Shibu adds.

When a project I taken up, the trio sit down for a brainstorming session first. Then either Shibu or Deepu would don the director’s mantle.

Deepu affirms that they are not competing with anyone. “We evaluate our works and focus on our growth, that’s all.” And he adds that the going was not easy when they expanded their work to Mumbai. “In Kerala, we started from zero and it has been a smooth ride here. When we began working in Mumbai as well, some five years back, it was not easy. We were a drop in the ocean. We had to start from the scratch.” Their hard work didn’t go in vain. They got clients like McDonald’s, Cadbury’s, Tata Indicom (for Gujarat), among others.

They do show their works to Sathyan Anthikad and take his feedback, Shibu adds. If everything wortks out in the right way, both Shibu and Deepu are planning to enter tinseltown. While Shibu has a project with Mammootty, Deepu is working on a film with Jayaram playing the lead.

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