Chennai-based Fountainhead - that has on its roster brands such as Nyle Herbal Shampoo, Fairever Fairness cream, Ramco Cement, Citibank PropShop and Aircel cellular service - shed its single branch agency status by opening an office in Bangalore on June 18. "Varun Jura, ex-general manager, Nexus Equity, has joined us and is heading the Bangalore office from June 18. We are spreading the reach of our agency, while trying to take our event management company, Eventus, national," said Suresh Pillai, managing director, Fountainhead Communications.
Interestingly, this comes at a time when Fountainhead is poised to emerge as the single biggest agency in Chennai - or so it claims. The last one year has been particularly good for the agency. It acquired new business worth Rs 18 crore, which is likely to push its total billing to Rs 72 crore by March 2002, compared to Rs 40 crore in March 2001.
The clients it signed up last year include Medimix Vrinda soap, Medimix hair oil, a new shaving cream from the Cholayil Group (which owns the Medimix brand), Bharti Television from Zee (a new Tamil channel), Dishnet DSL broadband, Dishnet DSL Hubs and Carnegie Education from the Sterling Group, Crocodile International range of apparels and Komatha toned milk
from Hatsun Agro. Among its latest acquisitions is the Terumo Penpol (a Trivandrum-based group which is into blood transfusion equipment) account, which it won in April this year after a multi-agency pitch involving Lowe Lintas, TBWA Anthem and Fortune.
However, Fountainhead's claim of being the largest advertising agency in Chennai has been disputed by most large agencies in Chennai that agencyfaqs! spoke to. For one, U Jayraj Rau, vice-president & client services director, HTA, Chennai, said, "Mr Pillai has been maintaining for a long time that his agency is the largest in the city. However, HTA's billing in Chennai for the year ended March 2001 stood at Rs 85 crore and we are not even taking into account our potential billing growth for this year." Renu Prasad, vice-president, Lowe Lintas, Chennai, echoed a similar sentiment.
Both Rau and Prasad have a point - given the names that adorn their respective client rosters. In Chennai, HTA's major accounts include Ford India, Parryware, Reynolds, Parry's Confectionery, Lifestyle department store, Welcomgroup, National air conditioners and Pepsi Aquafina among others. Among the heavyweight brands serviced by Lintas are MRF, The Hindu, RPG Wings and Saint Gobain Glass.
What is, however, undisputed is the agency's efforts to provide an 'integrated marketing solutions' platform to its clients in the region. To that end, it had floated various specialised divisions for events, sales promotions and direct marketing - all under the Eventus branding. Of these, the event management division, which was started in 1996, has grown really big. With a turnover of Rs 4 crore, Eventus is today among the largest event management agencies in south India. Its client list includes Coca-Cola, Parle Foods, Citibank, Telco, Dishnet DSL, Medimix, Ramco and CavinKare. Interestingly, while Fountainhead was operating out of a single branch in Chennai, Eventus had offices in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, besides its base in Chennai.
Pillai said that Eventus is mulling a national network of sales promotion personnel who would be spread over all the state capitals. "We would have at least 12 offices which would co-ordinate the direct/event activities of the agency," he said.
© 2001 agencyfaqs!