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Flashback 2010: The year of retaining big fish for media agencies

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Planning & Buying | January 05, 2011
Mindshare retained Unilever, Madison held on to Airtel and General Motors, LMG retained Sony India, and more, in this recap of key account movements for media agencies in 2010.

Media agencies had a rather interesting time last year, but one noticed several big ticket clients call for pitches - either independently or as a part of global directives - but media agencies managed to retain several of these businesses. A look at the year that was, for media agencies in terms of business wins and losses:

The fight to keep business

The first quarter of 2010 was about media agencies making sure that they retained their old businesses. Madison Media kept the Rs 100-crore General Motors business, while Mindshare retained Unilever (media spends pegged at Rs 1,000-1,200 crore) and ZenithOptimedia (ZO) retained Aviva Life Insurance (Rs 30 crore), all of which were no small feat.

Says Meenakshi Madhvani, co-founder and chairperson, Spatial Access Solutions, "When one looks at retention of businesses, media agencies retained far more businesses than creative agencies. This could be because media reviews seem to be just a matter of procedure or global review, whereas creative ones were probably triggered because of dissatisfaction with the creative agency."

Moreover, moving a media business is more tedious and cumbersome compared to a creative one, as media involves more of relationship building or negotiating money and puts far more pressure on a client's operating system.

Madhvani adds that though the Unilever business stayed with Mindshare, the FMCG giant did bring in another agency - OMD - aboard even if only for its digital business. "They probably want to make sure there are two relationships involved. This could be a sign of what is to come," hints Madhvani, adding, "advertisers are increasingly hesitant about putting all their eggs in one basket." Parking one's business elsewhere keeps everyone on their toes, and generally, the way clients go about it is using 'excuses' such as specialised services offered by other agencies, including digital media.

Mediacom won a steady stream of businesses including Streax, Vasmol and Turkish Airlines. Lintas Media Group (LMG) got lucky with two wins: Voltas, the Rs 35-crore media spender (moving from MPG), and the Rs 50-crore Religare account (moving from NAC Advertising).

Media Direction didn't have a great first quarter. It lost Mercedez-Benz to MEC, SBI Mutual Fund to Allied Media, and Amrutanjan to Vizeum. Lodestar UM happily skipped along winning Population Service International of India [PSI], Omron Healthcare and Verisign, while Carat won Nikon, Deutsche Bank, Parag Milk Foods and Abmeribaari (AMB Talent Media). Down South, Mindshare Chennai won Muthoot Pappachan Group.

Multiple wins, multiple losses

RK Swamy Media Group/Media Direction had a whale of a time in the second quarter of 2010, scoring several hits - many of them large-sized ones. It won 18 businesses such as Allahabad Bank, Adarsh Developers, Asian Motor Works, Basecamp, Bayer Pharma, Central Bank, Calcom Cement, Chaitanya Developers, Gemini Oil, Makro Technologies, Noel Pharma, Rasa, SBI, UCO Bank, United Stock Exchange, Victorinox, West Bengal Tourism and Zuari Industries.

Madison Media went on to retain another major client after General Motors in the previous quarter. This time it was the Rs 350-crore media duties for Airtel. Madison Media and Mindshare won the Rs 50-crore Shriram Transport Finance Company and the Rs 20-crore Dhanalakshmi Bank businesses, respectively. OMD kept it short and simple with two wins: Hindustan Pencils and Cotton World - each worth Rs 18 crore. Karishma Initiative and Alliance Advertising together won the Rs 30-crore Wynncom telecom businesses. Lodestar UM won Tata Sumo (from Maxus) and Star Health & Allied Insurance. ZenithOptimedia won Kingdom of Dreams, Chicco (baby care) and McCain Foods India.

Karishma Initiative won Hamdard, Neo Sports moved from MEC to Maxus (it was worth Rs 20-25 crore) while Mudra Max won Gulf Oil Corporation, Apollo Hospitals and Kalpataru Real Estate.

Coca-Cola's turn now

The third quarter saw Lintas Media Group retained the Rs 350-crore Sony India account, while winning the Rs 35-crore Intex Technologies and Urban Health Initiative (Bill Gates Foundation) businesses. The bumper news arrived in the form of the Rs 200-crore Coca-Cola India account moving its media duties from Madison Media to Lodestar UM. However, Lodestar lost the Rs 150-crore L'Oreal account to Maxus. Maxus also won the Parle Products account (Rs 50 crore) from TME.

Reliance Communications' GSM and CDMA business moved to MEC and OMD from Mudra Max. OMD also won Venus Water Heaters, Sangam India, Puma and Ferrero Group. Starcom won Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Radio One, while Vizeum won Dalmia Cement Bharat Limited (DCBL) and Maya Appliances. Vibrant won United Stock Exchange.

A little something for everyone

The fourth quarter was lucky for LMG, which won the Rs 90-crore Union Bank of India account from Motivator. Lintas Media Group also won Expedia.co.in, Envista Education and Travel Network Brand. However, LMG lost out the Rs 400-crore ITC account to Madison World.

ASK Group (wealth management) moved from Media Direction to MEC. OMD hogged the Renault-Nissan business. Mindshare won Videocon D2H and Electrolux (ZenithOptimedia was the incumbent on both), as well as Philips television (incumbent: Carat, but the Aegis Media company continues to handle the account globally). Huawei's media duties went to Mudra Max while OMD India won Cleartrip.com, SAH Petroleum and Paramount Farms and Maxus Delhi won Greenpeace.

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