BPL Mobile Communication has awarded its direct marketing account to Thompson Connect. BPL Innovision Group - of which BPL Mobile Communications and BPL Net are subsidiaries - had called five agencies to pitch for the Rs 4-crore direct marketing account around a month back. It had shorlisted two agencies - Thompson Connect and Tequila
Anthem's DM arm) a fortnight ago. The account was with Wunderman Cato Johnson for the past two years. WCJ is an affiliate of Rediffusion DY&R in India and operates in the direct marketing and customer relationship management arena.
It appears that the first round of the pitch took place about three weeks back. In the fray were Grey Direct, Thompson Connect, McCann Relationship Marketing, Tequila and Draft Worldwide (of the MAA group). Sanjay Prabhu, head, brand management, BPL Innovision Group, said, "We had given the agencies a brief on a new initiative we are planning to launch. The agencies were asked to make a broad strategy-cum-creative presentation, together with an implementation plan."
Informal talks with BPL Mobile executives reveal that the agency was getting increasingly dissatisfied with the way the incumbent agency was executing its direct marketing plans. "We were not perfectly happy with what they (WCJ) were doing," Prabhu told agencyfaqs!. "In fact, after Ajay Rao's (ex-COO) departure last year, we felt the agency was losing direction and its creative abilities. We saw the inadequacy in their work loud and clear. There was very little involvement on their part with our product." Naturally, BPL didn't call the incumbent agency to defend the account. For the records, Ajay Rao moved on to head customerasset.com.
Thompson Direct will start work soon - and Mumbai will be its first stop. "Very soon our DM activities will spread out to the other circles we are present in, namely, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa and Maharashtra. We are working on the details of the exercise. The budget may not be very big to start with but as we add on the circles, our investment on the DM activities will grow. We hope the account to be worth Rs 4-crore by the year end." It appears that the new initiative Prabhu was talking about revolves around a new royalty, retention and rewards programme.
BPL Mobile has also aligned the advertising business of its pre-paid cards brand mots with McCann-Erickson, Mumbai. The Rs 2.5-crore account moved from Rediffusion, Mumbai. The account was with McCann-Erickson to start with, but was subsequently moved to Rediffusion for the Mumbai circle only. The southern circles remained with Rediffusion. Recently, the entire account was consolidated with McCann-Erickson, Mumbai. Prabhu said that there was no pitch prior to moving the account to the new agency. "We wanted to align the entire mots business with a single agency," he said.
BPL Mobile had launched its prepaid card mots at Rs 249 in April last year. At an initial cost of Rs 249, mots provides instant connectivity to a potential customer. Subscribers also have the flexibility of choosing their budget by charging their SIM card with talk time through a mots recharge voucher available in denominations ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 2,500 at over 2,000 BPL Mobile outlets in Mumbai.
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