Hughes Escorts Communication Ltd (HECL) - a joint venture between US-based Hughes Network Systems and Escorts and a company involved in providing communication networks - is set to sign up Lowe Lintas & Partners to handle the advertising account for a new long-distance education initiative it plans to launch soon. An HECL executive told agencyfaqs!, "We have zeroed in on Lintas because the agency fell in the same bandwidth, so to speak. But the formalities are not over yet. The entire process will take another seven to 10 days."
In the last week of March, agencyfaqs! had reported that Grey and Lintas were on HECL's shortlist at the end the pitch which happened over three rounds spanning two months. It has now emerged that there were nine agencies chasing the Rs 8 - Rs 10 crore account. Besides Grey and Lintas, the agencies in the fray included McCann Erickson, Leo Burnett, Publicis, TBWA Anthem, Madhyam and Ushak Kaal. It seems HTA was also invited for the pitch, but the agency eventually "opted out" as it handles some other HECL products.
The HECL official, however, refused to talk about the time of launch for HECL's interactive distance learning programme and its advertising strategy. "The launch could happen in the next fortnight or even in the next week. All I can say is that it will happen really soon." About the advertising strategy, he said, "The broad outline of our communication strategy will emerge when we sit down with the agency and brainstorm on the product offering, which again will happen only after we complete the formalities of signing up the new agency."
For Vsat operator HECL, the new initiative is one of is biggest gambit ever. A Lintas executive said, "HECL has a lot at stake in this new service, given the fact that they have planned an investment of Rs 1,000 crore on the project." The broad plan is something like this. From a state-of-the-art studio in Gurgaon, it will hold classes on management and technology for students across India. It will provide training courses for corporates and for students studying for competitive examinations.
As media reports indicate, the service will be kicked off next week itself.
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