Now Dabur has two more agencies to its roster. The company has appointed Bates India to handle Binaca, the toothpaste brand it acquired from Reckitt & Colman in 1998, and Euro-RSCG to handle one of its cough syrup brands. While both agencies confirmed their respective acquisitions, Euro-RSCG refused to give further details to agencyfaqs! on the plea that its new acquisition requires "market silence"— for the moment at least.
With this, Dabur will have a total of six agencies on its roster. Prior to this development, Dabur was working with four agencies. While Leo Burnett was handling products like Dabur Chywanprash, Dabur honey, Homemade, Contract was the custodian of Restora, Real, Lal Tel; while O&M had Vatika shampoo, Dabur Amla hair oil and Mudra showcased Hajmola, Nature Care, Binaca toothpowder and toothbrush.
Breaking the news to agencyfaqs!, Atulit Saxena, vice-president, Bates India's Delhi office, said, "We have been talking to Dabur for quite some time now, looking to work on developmental products. I guess this gives us an enormous opportunity to work on a challenging assignment." However, both the agency and executives at Dabur refused to talk about the size of the account or the advertising strategy that the brand is going to follow. "We got the confirmation on the account only on Monday, we still haven't received the client brief. All I can say is that our presentation was made on the basis of our understanding the oral care market," Saxena said.
To put things into perspective, Dabur acquired Binaca in 1998, when Reckitt & Colman sold it off and launched Cibaca to replace its erstwhile brand. While Cibaca never really took off, Binaca began to languish in the Dabur stable. Till about that time, Dabur had over 10 agencies working on its various brands. However, around the same time that Binaca was acquired, the company brass decided to rationalise their product portfolio as well as its agencies. It severed ties with agencies of the stature of HTA, McCann Erickson, Everest, Enterprise Nexus and consolidated its business with four of the chosen ones.
Now, as Bates and Euro-RSCG get a share of the Rs 125-odd crore Dabur ad pie, the question is: Will Dabur go back on its earlier decision to rationalise its agencies? "I would say the period between 1998 and 2000 was a time of consolidation for us. Now with our portfolio expanding, we feel the need to go in for new agencies that can introduce new thoughts and creativity to the whole process. In fact, our decision to hire Bates was driven by the quality of their work and their creative thinking," said a top-ranking sales and marketing executive at Dabur.
While the company refused to talk about the time for the launch, sources at the agency said it could happen anytime over the next six to eight months. And Bates is upbeat. Said Saxena, "Even during its heyday, although it was never the market leader, Binaca enjoyed tremendous brand recall." However, with the oral care market already crowded, will Binaca get a fair chance this time round? "I would like to believe, it's all a question of timing," sums up Saxena.
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