Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB) has appointed AMO Communications, a Percept Hakuhodo company, as its brand development agency. The agency won the account following a multi-agency pitch, which officials say included names such as Ogilvy India, JWT, Landor and Mudra, among the estimated 11-12 agencies invited for the pitch.
Out of these, eight were shortlisted on the basis of their credentials, following which AMO Communications was the final choice on the basis of strategies, concepts, design and financials. The media partner is yet to be decided.
Elvis Dias, managing director, AMO Communications, says, "How many times do you get to create a new identity for a brand, right from scratch? Winning PHTPB not only gives us a creative high but will also garner a huge dominance and expertise in the tourism marketing domain.
"For nearly a decade, we have handled Goa Tourism and have successfully positioned it as a '365 days holiday destination'. After Goa, Punjab will be the second state that we will promote as a tourist destination. In the very first round, Punjab was awarded 'Most Innovative Product' at the TTF in Hyderabad."
This is for the first time that PHTPB has embarked on a strategy to promote Punjab as a tourist destination. PHTPB has appointed the World Trade Organisation to present a feasibility report and marketing strategy for marketing Punjab as a tourist destination and as a part of the plan, identity creation and branding will be the first steps of the state in this direction.
So, what suddenly prompted Punjab to advertise itself? Bhandari says, "Keeping in mind the fact that tourism in India is increasing by the day, the government has been pushing states to be more proactive and visible to tourists and promote themselves. Punjab has a lot to offer and sadly, it hasn't been packaged or marketed yet. This realisation has lead to the effort."
So, if beaches are to Goa what the backwaters are to Kerala, what is Punjab synonymous with? Bhandari maintains that the concrete details and imagery are still being worked out. However, initial research suggests that Punjab is more about the 'big hearted' people and lifestyle that the state boasts of, apart from cultural and traditional cues.
AMO Communications also handles brands from across other categories such as consumer durables, FMCG, IT, retail, lifestyle and corporate accounts. Brands such as Indian Oil, NEXT, TCL, AMW, BILT and CSIR have been handled by the agency.