The Tata group has been in the news for the
disintegration of its media business, which began in June 2004. Tata group companies, since then, have been opting to consolidate their business with new media partners, moving away from incumbent The Media Edge (TME). However, the latest on the Tata saga has more to do with the creative business than media.
Tata Chemicals, which has brands such as Tata Salt, is hunting for a new creative agency. Currently, creative duties are executed by Bates, while media, which involves both planning and buying, rests with The Media Edge.
Without much fanfare, the company called for a creative pitch inviting seven agencies - Rediffusion DY&R, Contract, Lowe, Leo Burnett, Quadrant, FCB-Ulka and incumbent Bates - for the first round of presentations on January 31 and February 1.
The presentations were essentially credentials, and subsequently, the company has whittled down the number to about four-odd, who move into the second and final round, to be held in the fourth week of February (February 20-26). Final presentations will be back-to-back, says a company source, and the decision will be arrived at shortly.
Tata Chemicals' ad spend this year has been about Rs 8 crore, while BTL-related work has cost the company Rs 1 crore. In the new financial year, the total communication budget is set to go up to Rs 15 crore, and BTL-related activities will play a major role.
The objective of looking for a new creative partner is linked to the company's need for a fresh approach, and it is seeking an agency with a strong creative and BTL edge. "Our focus is more creative and less strategy," says the source. "BTL work will play a crucial role in the rural areas where we are looking to grow."
Apart from flagship Tata Salt, Tata Chemicals also has Samundar Cooking Soda and Samundar Crystal Salt in its portfolio of products. The last one is targeted at the Southern market only, and currently the company is test-marketing a flavoured salt variant as well as looking to launch a low-priced second brand of salt for the rural markets.
The new products are likely to be launched in the new financial year, and for this, the company believes that a new perspective to its brands will help.
Bates has been the creative agency of Tata Chemicals for close to three years and was responsible for the 'Desh Ka Namak' campaign for Tata Salt, which has been the positioning of the brand for the last two-and-a-half years.
Though the tagline of 'Desh Ka Namak' may remain, the creative can change, says the company source. "Modernity will be our skew in the new set of creatives," adds the source.
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