The advertising account of Indore-based tyre manufacturer Bridgestone has gone to HTA, Delhi, drawing the curtains on the three-year association that the multinational shared with Saatchi & Saatchi. It may be recalled that last week, agencyfaqs! had reported that the account, estimated to be worth Rs 25 crore, was up for review.
"Yes, we have won the account," said an emphatic Kamal Oberoi, senior vice-president & general manager, HTA, Delhi. For his part, Alokesh Banerjee, manager - marketing & planning, Bridgestone ACC India, confirmed that the company had indeed settled for HTA. "We have decided to award the business to HTA," Banerjee told agencyfaqs!. Mukul Kansal, vice-president & client services director, HTA, Delhi, was more guarded in his reply. "The client told us that we are in a few days ago, but the formal contract is yet to be signed," he said. "But, of course, we have already started work on the account."
According to Kansal, HTA was formally invited for the pitch. "The pitch took place at Indore on January 19, 2001, where we made a strategy presentation on how we planned to make the brand stronger in India." Kansal also revealed that although the pitch was strategy-led, the agency did present the creative 'think through' of the strategy.
Although agencyfaqs! had earlier reported that there were only three agencies - HTA, Percept Advertising and Saatchi - vying for the account, it is now learned that Everest Integrated Communications too was in the fray. Which makes sense, considering Everest has an equity participation with Dentsu (through its association with Rediffusion-DY&R); and Dentsu apparently services the Bridgestone account in some regions in the Far East.
Speaking on the reasons why Bridgestone might have opted for HTA, Kansal said, "There is no one factor that clinches the issue. The client basically looks at an agency's commitment and interest levels. Then there is the question of how well the agency understands the consumer and the market. Most markets are getting tough, and so is the tyre market. Any agency can come up with creatives, but in tough markets, long-term strategy and consistency are the only guarantees to competitive advantage. And these are what HTA brings to the table."
For HTA, Bridgestone is an important milestone, considering the agency has not had a tyre client in its portfolio in two years. HTA once used to service the Dunlop account, after which it shared the Ceat account with FCB-Ulka. (HTA handled Ceat radials, while Ulka had the commercial tyres, two-wheeler tyres and Ceat Cricket Ratings business.) However, two years ago, the entire Ceat account was consolidated with Ulka.
Kansal refused to reveal the strategy that HTA will employ for Bridgestone, nor did he comment on when work on the brand will be on view. "These are very tricky questions that could compromise the client in an unforgiving market," he smiles.
© 2001 agencyfaqs!