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Airtel to change home - from Rediffusion to JWT

By Biprorshee Das and Rohit Nautiyal , afaqs!, Mumbai/ New Delhi | In Advertising | August 11, 2010
Rediffusion - Y&R's prized account, which the agency has been handling since the brand's inception in the '90s, is worth Rs 400 crore

Airtel, one of the largest telecom players in India, is on the brink of ending its 15-year-long relationship with creative agency, Rediffusion - Y&R. Rediffusion has handled the brand since its inception in 1995, and has been with it through various ups and downs.

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It has also been learnt that the account is on its way to JWT India -- the agency that was brought aboard in 2008 to handle Bharti Airtel's DTH venture, Airtel Digital TV.

The Airtel account is worth Rs 400 crore in terms of ad spends.

In June, Madison Media retained the media duties for Airtel, which the agency had been handling for more than five years. Additionally, it now handles out-of-home and digital for the brand too.

Apparently, Airtel has been "dissatisfied" with Rediffusion for quite a while now, with talks of it threatening to move out of the agency doing the rounds in many an agency hallway. Reasons range from the work produced to the creative churn the agency has been undergoing, resulting in discontinuity or ambiguity in the brand's advertising premise. The turning point was about two months ago, when Airtel called for a pitch, in which JWT presented its viewpoint on the brand.

Sources further state that the top management at Bharti Airtel had a word with the senior bosses at WPP, expressing concern over brand Airtel. After much deliberation, the account is slated to move to JWT, although no official nod on this could be obtained at the time of filing this report, from the parties involved.

afaqs! also tried to contact senior officials at JWT, who were unavailable for comment.

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