Universal McCann, Delhi, has won the media planning and media buying business of Bangalore-based readymade garments heavyweight Madura Garments. The agency won the business in the fag end of April, following a three-way pitch with media specialist MindShare and incumbent Mudra Communications, which has been handling the account for approximately five years now.
Chintamani Rao, president, Universal McCann, confirmed the win, but was rather taciturn when quizzed for details. "Yes, we have won the account, and we are undoubtedly happy with the way things have gone," he told agencyfaqs!. While Rao did not reveal the size of the business, agencyfaqs! has gathered that the account should be worth upwards of Rs 35 crore, considering the number of brands in the Madura stable.
Rao, however, did admit that it is a "substantially-sized business" while talking about what this spelt for Universal McCann. "It feels good that we have won this account in a pitch against strong contenders," he said. "And it is even more significant because, for McCann, it is a media-only business… the AOR has absolutely no creative assignment with Madura."
Which was not the case as far as Mudra was concerned. The agency even now handles the creative account for two Madura brands - Peter England and Byford. And Mudra launched Van Heusen in India (remember 'Underline your presence'?) Interestingly, Madura is one marketer that has a record of switching agencies every now and then, whatever the reasons.
For instance, while Mudra started with Van Heusen, it forfeited that brand to Enterprise Nexus sometime in 1997. Mudra, however, was compensated with Peter England and Byford (which, incidentally, started in India selling socks, with advertising support from Saatchi & Saatchi). Enterprise Nexus was not able to retain Van Heusen for long (probably because the brand was getting into trousers and Raymond wasn't kicked by Nexus working on that), and the account moved to HTA, which continues to handle it even today.
Louis Philippe's 'Upper Crest' was nurtured by Chaitra Leo Burnett (now Leo Burnett) for a very long time, but was eventually moved to O&M. O&M has, perhaps, been the most fortunate Madura agency, in that sense. O&M launched Allen Solly, and not only does it retain the account, it now also has Louise Philippe.
All this is not to suggest that Universal McCann has reason to fear - it doesn't, so long as it has a sound planning and buying strategy in place. Rao doesn't reveal anything about the strategy, of course. "The strategy is at the heart of the matter, and I cannot tell you anything else," is all he says. However, he did say that the switchover process has started, and the agency has begun work on the account.
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