Universal McCann is on a high. It's lapped up two big AORs in a row. In April it won the media planning and media buying business of Bangalore-based readymade garments heavyweight Madura Garments. This time it is TVS. Chintamani Rao, president, Universal McCann, who retuned from Bangalore last evening after signing up TVS, confirmed the win, but refused to talk about the size of the account. However, after some persuasion, Venkat Subramaniam, general manager, marketing, TVS Suzuki, said that the account would be worth between Rs 30 and Rs 40 crore in the next one year.
TVS-Suzuki manufactures the entire range of two-wheelers - mopeds, motorcycles, scooterettes - and hogs a 24 per cent market share in the two-wheeler industry. The company has 5 million customers nationwide. Till recently, the media planning and buying for its mopeds, motorcycles and scooterettes was being handled by the respective agencies handling the accounts. For example, O&M was in charge of its scooterette brand Scooty, in terms of both creative and media; Saatchi & Saatchi was the custodian of the company's motorcycle account and McCann was servicing the mopeds and rural motorcycles.
In fact, as Subramaniam pointed out, the media buying arms of all three agencies were invited for the AOR pitch, which happened in late April. "It was a close contest between Maximise (O&M), Zenith (Saatchi & Saatchi) and Universal McCann. But we felt Universal McCann had an edge over the others in planning," he said. "We hope to leverage the benefits of this media consolidation when we enter the mainstream motorcycles market with more 4-stroke offerings in the next quarter." He refused to divulge the name of the new motorcycle brand slated for launch in August.
Talking about the task ahead, Subramaniam said, "The use of media will be important in view of our plans. The issue is simple: growth and how to use the media to fuel the process. While the mopeds market is not growing as we would have wished, in scooterettes we are doing very well and in motorcycles we are going to be very aggressive now." TVS currently is the market leader in scooterettes (ungeared segment) with a 35 per cent share. It also leads the moped market with 65 per cent. In the motorcycle market, led by Hero Honda with 50 per cent, the company has a sizeable 17 per cent.
When quizzed about the new media strategy, Subramaniam said, "In media planning and buying we have been doing things in a very traditional fashion all this while. We would like to reexamine all that in view of the media realignment to increase the customer contact points in the most optimum way." In the same vein, Rao of Universal McCann, said, "The client is obviously looking at greater synergies in the use of media through this consolidation."
About the specifics neither the client nor the agency was very forthcoming. "Of course, it will be a mix of TV, print and outdoor, but it is not easy as it seems. The product category is extremely heterogeneous. See the difference. While mopeds are a very middle class, small town, small market product, scooterettes are seen as hip and very feminine. On the other hand, motorcycles range from the high end to the low end, there are the rough and rugged ones and there are the city bikes. What
I can say right now is that the media skew will be specific to the product category and the target market."
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