National Panasonic India, the 100 per cent subsidiary of Japan-based Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, has moved the advertising account of its entertainment electronics business to McCann-Erickson, Delhi. According to the new agency, the entertainment electronics business comprises Panasonic colour televisions, home theatre system and the entire range of audio systems. It appears McCann-Erickson was intimated about the development late last evening. The Rs 10-12-crore account moved to McCann-Erickson from Saatchi & Saatchi, Delhi. However, the Rs 10-crore advertising account of National Panasonic's home appliances business (or the National brand) stays with Everest Integrated Communications, Delhi.
"McCann-Erickson is our agency as of today," Gurdeep Singh, director, consumer products division, National Panasonic, told agencyfaqs!. "We gave our consent to the agency yesterday and the terms and conditions have also been specified. The briefing will be done today. As for Saatchi & Saatchi, Mr Shantakumar (V. Shantakumar, managing director, Saatchi & Saatchi) was in my office till some time back and we have just intimated the agency of the move."
Talking on behalf of McCann-Erickson, Nikhil Nehru, president, said, "We have a team passionate about this brand and in course of time this partnership will achieve the objective we set out for ourselves. The task really is to ensure Panasonic occupies its rightful position in the consumer electronics category." A decidedly upbeat Debashis Paul, vice-president, McCann, and a key figure in swinging the account in the agency's favour, said, "We have to make Panasonic the most exciting brand in the category and this is our mission, simply put. Though it is still early days to talk about the future strategy, I can say we will do a hell lot more than anything you have seen in this category." He has reason to be upbeat; he'd worked on the Panasonic account during his earlier stint at Saatchi & Saatchi, where he was general manager at the agency's Delhi office.
Interestingly, National Panasonic didn't call for a formal agency pitch before shifting the account. Singh said, "We had to shift the account from Saatchi because of internal reasons. While there was no pitch, we short-listed a few agencies on the basis of their past work, experiences and clients and McCann was held up as the best choice. But the fact remains, we have had a great experience with Saatchi and I am looking forward to working with the agency at an appropriate time."
To put things into perspective, when National Panasonic set foot in India in 1995, it had split the consumer electronics account between FCB-Ulka and Everest. While the former was handling colour televisions, the latter was in charge of the company's audio systems account. In 1997, National Panasonic moved the colour television account to Saatchi & Saatchi and in two years' time, the audio systems account too was consolidated with the same agency.
Currently, National Panasonic's market share is 3.4 per cent in CTVs, 5-7 per cent in DVDs and about 10 per cent in mini compos (portable mini hi-fi systems). Informal talks agencyfaqs! had with some other players in the consumer electronics market indicates that the company, which was unable to exploit the advantage of an early start, is putting in place a more aggressive strategy now. To that Singh said, "While I would not like to agree to that, I would say that our learning phase is over and we are on the acceleration mode now." The key driver of its marketing thrust now will be the Tau range of digital colour TVs that were launched in the Indian market in November 1999.
It seems there are a slew of new products slated for launch very soon. Sanjay Nayak, McCann-Erickson, said, "We are working with them on unveiling some new products. The company has relied mostly on top-line advertising and has traditionally been print-heavy. I would say, mainline newspaper heavy. And that would, in all probability, remain its future focus." The company is also adding to the existing exclusive outlets and hopes to take the number up to 26 by end-2002 from seven currently.
© 2001 agencyfaqs!First Published : July 04, 2001