Religare to reconsider VGC as creative agency

By Neha Kalra , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | July 14, 2008
The promoter company has an ad budget of Rs 100 crore for all its sub-brands and its subsidiary companies

Religare, the & #BANNER1 & # Indian integrated financial services group, is looking at reconsidering its relationship with its creative agency, Vyas Gianetti Creative (VGC).

Subhrangshu Neogi, head, brand and corporate communications, Religare Enterprises, confirms to afaqs! that the contract with VGC, which is to expire soon, is up for review in the next few days. He says talks are on with agencies for a possible pitch and an evaluation process is on, but the formal pitch process hasn't begun yet. He says whether the pitch process is formal or informal, VGC will be given a chance to win back the business.

Neogi says consolidation of agencies will be considered later. At this point in time, the phase is one of growth for the company and its brands, and also one of consolidation and integration from the perspective of the overall brand architecture.

The mother brand, Religare Enterprises, represents itself in the financial services segment with sub-brands such as the personal finance stores, Finmart; the online investment portal,; and a unique women led and women centric financial advisory platform, Religare Femme Power. The promoter group has extended itself in the IT domain with Religare Technova, and in the air charter and travels domain with Religare Voyages, both of which are individual companies. VGC was handling the creative duties for all these brands.

Subhrangshu Neogi
However, Aegon Religare Life - the joint venture between Religare and Aegon - is handled by Contract and Mediacom. SRL Ranbaxy, the path labs and diagnostics business of the promoter group, has the Delhi based Arms Communications as its creative partner.

According to industry sources, Religare has chalked out an ad plan of Rs 100 crore for the fiscal for its various sub-brands and companies. Last year, Religare Enterprises was allotted an ad budget of Rs 20-25 crore; this year too, the spend will be in the same range. Aegon-Religare Life Insurance will account for around Rs 30 crore, and the mutual funds business, Aegon-Religare AMC, will be allotted a similar sum. Religare Technova and Religare Voyages will get an ad spend of Rs 5 crore.

Religare has partnered with Macquarie for a wealth management joint venture and has recently launched Religare Macquarie Private Wealth; Rs 3-4 crore of the ad spend will be allotted to this brand. Religare is also going global with the acquisition of Hichens Harrison, one of London's oldest broking and investment firms, which has a presence in 10 countries. The brand rollout and integration are being carried out internally and, once done, communication at a global level will be considered, says Neogi.

Talking about the reasons for ending the relationship with VGC, Neogi explains, "We believe efficiency and quick turnaround times are very important for any partner working with a vibrant, young, versatile and dynamic brand like us. When VGC came on board last year after the account had moved from Rediff, these were some of the reasons that had prompted us to opt for it after a multi-agency pitch process. It also had leadership bandwidth which had strong category competencies and skill sets. Unfortunately, as we all know, the agency is undergoing a bit of turmoil at this point in time and things do look a little unsettled. Having said that, we have not taken a categorical decision yet in this regard, but are considering and carefully planning our next move."

When Religare was launched, its logo and brand identity were put in place by Mudra, its first agency. Rediffusion DY&R came on board in early 2006, when the brand actually began to take shape in the advertising arena. Rediff's media arm, The Media Edge, was in charge of the media duties. Last year, VGC was appointed to take care of the creative duties and NAC was entrusted with the media duties.

Till last year, corporate branding was the focus of most of the communication for Religare and mostly for the umbrella brand. This year, the focus will be on particular businesses and the communication will be a mix of above the line and below the line activities.

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