FCB-Ulka wins Frito-Lay, setback for Mudra

By , agencyfaqs! | In | November 19, 2000
Ending months of speculation within the ad industry, Frito-Lay India has appointed FCB-Ulka as its new advertising agency to handle the Lehar, Lays and Cheetos brands

agencyfaqs! News Bureau
NEW DELHI, November 19

Speculation that Frito-Lay India had called for an agency review had been making the rounds for over two months. Mudra Communications, the incumbent agency, was understandably tightlipped. The client was noncommittal, which only added grist to the rumour mill. However, on Saturday, all doubts were put to rest when Frito-Lay officially appointed its new agency - FCB-Ulka, Delhi.

Confirming the development, Richa Arora, vice-president, strategic planning, FCB-Ulka, said, "We have received the official notification from the client. We shall be handling the entire Frito portfolio, which includes Lehar, Lays and Cheetos."

One of the theories that were floated when speculation was rife was that Frito-Lay was calling for a review due to global alignment compulsions - BBDO is Frito-Lay's agency in the Asia-Pacific region. Incidentally, unconfirmed reports insist that RK Swamy/BBDO was one of the contenders in the pitch, along with HTA.

According to Richa, FCB-Ulka had made a series of presentations over the past two-three months. The pitch included both strategy and creative presentations. "I think the fact that we addressed the issues facing the Frito brands with meaningful creative solutions based on consumer insights helped us win the account," Richa said. "Also, the excitement and perseverance of the team right through the pitch was infectious. I think it got to the client too."

While the exact size of the account is not available, industry sources peg it at approximately Rs 7-8 crore. Mudra shall certainly feel the pinch. Incidentally, this is the second account Mudra has lost to FCB-Ulka in three months - the first being Compaq, as the result of a global realignment.

What surprises some within the industry is Frito-Lay's motive behind the shift. It is generally believed that Mudra gave a pretty good account of itself by helping Lehar find its feet in a market dominated by Haldiram's. "The advertising was quite focused and was able to tap the consumer's sentiment," observes an analyst. "Frito-Lay must have a good enough reason to move the account, but it's not an obvious one."

Naturally, FCB-Ulka is pleased as punch with the win. The agency realizes that Frito-Lay is trying to grow the snack market, and time is critical. "Work on the Frito-Lay account will be starting very soon and should be visible by the year end," Richa promises.

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