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Hanes account shifts to Lowe

This is after the McCann Erickson-Hanes split some months ago. The ad spends are estimated to be Rs 8-10 crore

According to sources in the know, undergarment brand Hanes (from the US based Hanes Brands Inc. stable) has moved to Lowe. This is following a pitch process that commenced around May 2008.

As reported by afaqs! at the time, Hanes had split with its creative agency, McCann Erickson, after a controversy regarding some press ads the latter created for the brand. According to some, McCann was sacked by Hanes, but others insisted that it was a mutual parting of ways. The next one heard was that Hanes was on the lookout for a creative agency.

The pitch is believed to have involved agencies such as Lowe, O&M and JWT; the final tussle, according to industry sources, was between Lowe & O&M.

Now, Lowe has clinched the deal and the formalities and paperwork are virtually complete. However, Lowe and Hanes executives could not be reached for comment. Ad spends are estimated to be Rs 8-10 crore.

Hanes won’t be much of a loss for McCann in terms of billings; however, the public mud-slinging did affect 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 (read Prasoon Joshi’s exclusive interview with afaqs!). Joshi, who is McCann-Erickson’s executive chairman, India, and regional executive creative director, Asia Pacific, 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.

Well, it seems IPG didn’t really suffer at the end of the day. Now, with McCann’s cousin, Lowe, winning the business in India, one can safely say that Hanes continues to stay in IPG’s custody since both McCann and Lowe are IPG agencies.

For the record, Hanes was launched in India in 2004 and McCann had been its agency since then. After a few press ads, McCann created Hanes’ first TV commercial 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 when she sees him pick up a pair of scissors and take it below his torso to cut 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 was Hanes’ sole TVC 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. Informed industry insiders tell afaqs! that the brand’s media duties are not under review as of now. However, whether the equation will change in favour of Lintas Media Group (Lowe’s media arm) in time is anyone’s guess.

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