When Mohit Beotra, executive vice-president, Lowe Delhi, rejoined the agency in
January 2004, it was passing through particularly tumultuous times. More than half a dozen key executives, including erstwhile executive vice-president Santosh Kumar Sood, had quit Lowe, opening the flanks for poaching of people and accounts.
Around the same time, Lowe also saw the exit of a plum account in Korean consumer durables company LG, which split the advertising business between McCann-Erickson and O&M in early November 2003.
Beotra's primary job was to steady the ship.
One-and-a-half years later, not only has he successfully steered Lowe Delhi out of trouble, but has actually done more. The agency is back at its aggressive best at pitches and its creative portfolio hasn't looked better.
agencyfaqs! caught up with Beotra and quizzed him about Lowe Delhi's fortunes, especially in the last six months. Excerpts of the interview.
Greenply, LG and creativity
The company, Beotra says, never had a problem in selling its produce. "It's just that the company wanted to influence trade, and come up with a campaign which will make people talk about it."
Lowe Delhi was given a single-word brief: 'Durability'. Since the objective was to create awareness among consumers for Greenply, Beotra explains, it was clear durability had to be showcased in a way that ensured recall. "The reincarnation idea was just the perfect way of emphasising the brand's durability," he says.
Also, since 'durability' was a category insight, straying away from it was not the solution. The challenge was to use it effectively, he adds. "Everyone talks about durability. So, there was a need to position the brand in a strong manner to generate consumer awareness, and that's what we did."
Apart from Greenply, Beotra is proud of Lowe's work on LG as well. Centred around the concept of Inventive Thinking, the TVCs are about how children do out-of-the-box thinking to circumvent problems; the TVCs were released around Wimbledon.
"Have you noticed how the overall quality of execution has improved in recent times?" Beotra asks, rattling off examples such as Lifebuoy, Saint-Gobain, Greenply, LG, and the latest Liril TVC in the same breath. "We were never short of ideas. We have become good in story-telling now," he adds. The agency, Beotra says, is about to release yet another Parker pen advert, featuring Amitabh Bachchan. Lowe Delhi is also doing a Dish TV campaign through which it hopes to rope in a wider spectrum of subscribers.
"Touch wood! We have done well in the past six months. The best part is that we didn't lose any account," Beotra says. Lowe Delhi services an eclectic mix of brands, ranging from DTH brand Dish-TV to apparel brand Wills Lifestyle, and from Nestle's Polo to Woodlands Shoes. Plus, there are Maruti (Alto, Versa, Esteem, and Omni) and Dabur as well among the many others.
Beotra attributes the impressive roster of clients to the quality of people, who are with the agency. "In February 2004, we had Virat Tandon, who was associate vice-president, Contract Advertising, joining us as vice-president. October 2004 saw Harish Krishnamachar joining us as head of planning. This year, Anil Kumar, who was an associate vice-president with Contract Delhi, joined us as vice-president. These men, along with Amjad Ali and Sapna Walia, have helped Lowe Delhi grow in the past few months," he says.
Lowe Delhi is apparently pitching furiously these days. "We are backing up the pitches with high-quality creatives. That's the reason why Priti and Rahul are spending a lot of time in Delhi these days," he says.
Beotra was referring to Lowe's two senior executive creative directors - Priti Nair from Mumbai and Rahul Sengupta from Bangalore - jointly handling seven creative teams in the Capital.
Apparently, the duo now spend a bulk of their time in Delhi overseeing Delhi's creative output. "We needed senior people to strengthen the creative teams here. This was the best
arrangement as most senior executives are unwilling to move to Delhi on a permanent basis," he explains.
"Clients in Delhi now have an easy access to Priti and Rahul. In fact, the Greenply advert was created by Priti along with her team in Delhi, after she took over. Her team is
currently handling LG, Maruti, Joyco and Woodlands accounts among others."
A quietly confident Beotra advises matter-of-factly, "It's time to watch out for Lowe Delhi."
© 2005 agencyfaqs!