Time for Grey to cheer! In mid-March, Grey Worldwide made a strategy presentation to Hindustan Times (HT) and in just 10 days, the publication decided to award the Rs 10-crore plus account to the agency. HTA was asked to resign the account around the same time.
HTA got the HT account last April and thus added Rs 50-60 lakh to its billings. Though HTA will continue to work on the account till mid June - when the three-month notice expires - Grey has begun brainstorming on the campaign that is expected to break some time in July.
Whether HT had called for a full-fledged multi-agency pitch or not is not known. However, a senior HTA official did say, "I believe Lintas was also in the fray for the HT account." agencyfaqs! tried getting in touch with senior officials at Lintas but no one was available to confirm this information. And HT refused to comment.
The reason why HT abandoned HTA is not clear either. When Priya Gupta, brand manager, Hindustan Times, was contacted to enquire about the same, she remained tight-lipped. Industry veterans believe the most obvious reason was that HTA's campaign failed to strike a chord with the relevant readers.
Mukul Kansal, vice-president and client services director, feels otherwise. "I do not know what the reasons for the fallout were but we continue to have a good relationship." Which is understandable. After all, an agency and a publication house can only thrive on the basis of a symbiotic relationship.
The agency least concerned with this kind of nitty-gritty is Grey. Right now, the agency is busy deliberating with the client to thrash out the communication strategy. Which is very much in line with the presentation Grey made to HT before getting the account. "Ours was a strategy presentation talking of why HT should be the first paper to be picked up in the morning. Our experience with the media clients came in handy since we handle media buying of Sony and publications like Business Today, Computers Today and a few assignments on behalf of Dainik Jaagran," says Ashutosh Khanna, senior vice-president, Grey Worldwide.
"The task now is to evolve the brand character of HT. Though it is perceived as a respected paper, its identity is still ambiguous. We would obviously look at print, outdoor activities and, if need be, even television," he adds. To achieve this, Grey has synchronized the efforts of its various divisons. While the advertising part of the business will be handled by Grey Worldwide, the direct marketing bit and other below the line activities will be managed by Grey Direct and Exhibit respectively.
Obviously, with the new design and the launch of the Kolkata and Jaipur editions, HT is finally putting its act together.
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