afaqs!

Hanes calls for creative pitch after split with McCann

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | May 26, 2008
The McCann-Erickson-Hanes controversy has led to a parting of ways for the two. McCann had been handling the brand since its launch in India in 2004

Undergarment & #BANNER1 & # brand Hanes (from the US based Hanes Brands Inc. stable) is no longer a part of McCann-Erickson India's portfolio. Following the recent controversy regarding an ad for Hanes created by McCann, the agency and the brand have split up. According to some industry sources, McCann has been sacked by Hanes, while others insist that it was a mutual parting of ways. Prasoon Joshi, McCann-Erickson's executive chairman, India, and regional executive creative director, Asia Pacific, was unavailable for comment.

Now that Hanes is single and ready to mingle, the brand has called for a creative pitch. Sources peg the ad spends to be in the region of Rs 8-10 crore. This won't be much of a loss for McCann in terms of billings; however, the public mud-slinging has affected the agency's image somewhat.

The entire debacle started with McCann creating certain controversial ads for the brand, which were released apparently without prior client consent. The ads offended certain sections of society (see Joshi's exclusive interview with afaqs!). Joshi apologised publicly, but the issue had created waves even outside India, and IPG executives stepped into the picture. Ultimately, the matter died down, but not before damaging the Hanes-McCann relationship.

Hanes was launched in India in 2004, and McCann has been its agency ever since. After a few press ads, McCann created Hanes' first TVC towards the end of 2004, which featured a newly married couple on their wedding night. The blushing bride smiles on seeing her husband fiddling with his pyjamas. But soon a worried look crosses her face as she sees him pick up a pair of scissors and take it below his torso, cutting something. As she exclaims in horror, he turns around and shows her the tag of his briefs by way of explanation. A voiceover concludes, "No itchy tags, no scratchy labels. Hanes Undergarments." This has been the sole TVC for Hanes in India up till now. Since its launch in the region, Hanes has stuck to its global positioning of 'Original, Tagless Comfort'.

The media planning and buying for Hanes is done by Lodestar Universal. According to sources in the know, the brand's media duties are not under review.