"Mantra, as a brand, has been a fascination with Percept," remarks Navroze Dhondy, CEO, Percept Advertising. And while Rediffusion-DY&R and Leo Burnett too have vigorously chanted the Mantraonline mantra various times in the recent past, the entire advertising account of the ISP major finally found repose in Percept some two weeks ago.
It was only in July this year that, following a five-agency pitch, the Rs 20-crore Mantraonline account was spilt between Leo Burnett and Percept. The agency that lost out: Rediffusion. The ISP part of the account was handed to Leo Burnett while the advertising for Mantraonline's portal and the Mantra brand went to Percept.
Incidentally, Rediffusion had the account for exactly a year - from June '99 to July 2000. "Realizing that Rediffusion was not the ideal agency as it itself had a hugely successful portal in Rediff.com, Mantraonline decided to call for a pitch in June this year," explains Navroze.
Although disheartened at not having got the entire Mantra account, Percept didn't allow the disappointment to show. In fact, it only made the resolve to consolidate stronger. And the India Internet World (IIW) fair provided Percept the opportunity to cement its relationship with Mantra.
"Percept was not interested in making quick bucks. For us Mantra was an investment," reiterates Navroze. Both during the run-up to the IIW and during the event, Percept had a dedicated team working 24 hours with Mantra. Understandably, the client was more than impressed.
Meanwhile, the success of Percept's promotional campaigns made Mantra surer of its agency. For instance, the 'Surf Te Reh Jao Ge' campaign apparently pushed sales up manifold. "Despite competition from VSNL, NOW, Satyam et cetera Mantra's promotion has done the best!" exclaims Navroze. Again, Percept's idea of tying up with greeting cards major Archies to promote 'Net-CD gifting' found favour with Mantra.
And though ISP was not really Percept's area of activity, the agency consistently gave suggestions to help consolidate Mantra's Net user base. "ISP, which is connectivity, is dependent on factors such as availability, pricing and promotion," says Navroze. "Furthermore, market research indicated that there was no brand loyalty among surfers. Percept strongly felt the only way to promote the Mantraonline brand was through Customer Relationship Management."
It was the clincher as far as Mantra was concerned. "Somehow our chemistry never clicked with Leo Burnett. So we decided to amicably part ways," explains Aniruddha Roy, general manager, marketing, Mantraonline. He adds that the main reason for awarding the ISP account to Percept was "the extraordinary effort and the commitment of the Percept team".
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