MAA Bozell has bagged the Carborandum Universal account at Chennai. The account, worth Rs 75 lakh, was earlier with Chennai-based Umac Advertising. "This gain will add to our long list of industrial accounts," said Thomas Prakash, account director, MAA Bozell, Chennai. The advertising of Carborandum Universal, popularly known as CUMI, was with a regional agency Umac before MAA grabbed the account in a multi-agency pitch which was held in April-end this year. Incidentally, Carborandum Universal is in the business of abrasives, refractories, industrial ceramics and electro minerals. Its close competitor in the market is Mumbai-based Grindwell Norton.
Carborandum Universal has a turnover of Rs 280 crore, and its advertising account was with O&M three years ago. Thereafter, it chose to work with a small agency with a very specific reason. According to the official spokesperson of the company, the decision to shift advertising from O&M three years ago to a small agency was to trim its marketing spends. "It is easier to negotiate on rates with small agencies and they are more than willing to go that extra mile for you. Whereas, the tendency among bigger agencies is to devote the best copywriters and teams to FMCG clients and other consumer accounts rather than on industrial products," the spokesperson stated. Interestingly, the return to big agency fold has been the very reason why smaller agencies in the long run tend to get marginalised -national reach.
The agencies involved in the pitch were incumbent Umac, O&M, MAA Bozell and MCS Communication. So what made CUMI bite MAA's bait? "Research," said Prakash. "We found that there was a great deal of confusion in the market regarding the branding of the company. People knew it differently and did not relate one to the other," he said. According to Prakash, while some people knew the company as CUMI others knew it by its full name, some
others still were only aware of its individual brands such as 'Red Indian' and 'Ajax' and did not know which company was retailing them. "Our pitch was research-based and sold the idea of creating CUMI as the strong umbrella brand that pushed the idea of its sub-brands in all its points of contact," he said.
Interestingly, the company itself does not acknowledge the confusion regarding its corporate identity and maintained that it has always been pushing the CUMI identity ahead. "However, we do want to create a more strong national impact and push beyond the southern moorings. For this an agency with a national network is necessary. We were looking for an agency that can take on research-based market activity and MAA seemed to fit the bill," said the spokesperson.
MAA, which formally bagged the account in May plans to take the direct marketing route for its new client besides some print advertising. "We will steer clear of television as it does not make sense for their products which are mainly targetted at industrial users," Prakash said, and added that the agency was in the process of doing its spadework before any visible media activity can take off.
Though he declined to comment on how much this account would contribute to the agency's business, he stated that for the financial year ending March 2001, Chennai had accounted for Rs 7 crore billing of the agency's total billing of Rs 170 crore. Among others, the Chennai of MAA Bozell handles major bluechip clients such as Caltex, Dupont, Tynex, Teflon (coatings), LPG marketing of Spic Jyoti, Rane Group of Companies, Tidel Park and GDA Technologies.
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