VLCC brings agencies onboard for Rs 75 crore marketing plans

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | June 24, 2009
The company has appointed a creative agency and a CRM partner

VLCC, a brand in the slimming and wellness domain, is looking at strengthening its marketing plans, with a budget of Rs 70-75 crore for both national and international activities, reveals Sandeep Ahuja, managing director, VLCC India in a chat with afaqs!.

As part of this plan, it has brought Ogilvy India onboard as its creative agency. This decision comes after a multi-agency pitch. Equus was the incumbent, and had worked on the business for about four years. Prior to that, JWT handled the account for about six years, and M&C Saatchi also handled the personal care bit for a while.

The media duties continue to be with MPG, which came onboard last year.

VLCC has also partnered with Media Contacts, the global interactive media network of Havas Digital, to solidify its digital plans.

141 Sercon, the below-the-line arm of Bates 141, has been VLCC's CRM partner for a year now. However, the agency did not play too active a role so far, as plans have begun to take shape only now.

Ahuja says that it has been three years since the brand advertised on television. "Equus did some very good films -- four of them -- which we ran for about four months, around three years back. But ever since, only tactical plans have been taken up."

The group is looking at increasing its purview as a brand. "We were essentially considered as a slimming brand. With wellness becoming a larger area of interest for brands in a coinciding space, we would like to get further and give the brand multiple facets," he adds.

VLCC was launched as a slimming brand three years back in the UAE as well.

Ahuja brings out that the idea of venturing out into the wellness space stemmed from the fact that up to 40-45 per cent of the company's revenues came from the beauty business. Therefore, the segment could not go ignored -- it had to come forth in terms of visibility.

The company plans to set up the Nutri-Diet Clinic and is considering focussing on its CRM programme, Way of Life, which, so far, had an international presence, but would now come to India. VLCC is also looking at enlarging the portfolio for its anti-cellulite, body firming brand, Shape Up.

On the international front, the company is present in the West Asian markets, including UAE, Bahrain and Oman. The creative duties of the brand in that region are taken care of by Dubai-based Bates Pan Gulf.

VLCC is planning to extend its presence to about 150 locations, which means entering new countries -- Qatar and Kuwait -- as well as adding centres in India.

In terms of advertising, Ahuja emphasises that the brand would actively use television and magazine advertising. The company has also tied up with television channel, Sony, for activation for one of their serials.

The company also plans to bring on brand ambassadors, a male and a female. Though not spilling the beans completely, Ahuja mentions that one celebrity from Bollywood and one from cricket would be considered.

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