Continuing its tryst with consumer electronics accounts, Quadrant Communications' Mumbai office has picked up the Rs 6-crore advertising business of Toshiba's recently launched top-end CTVs and DVD players. The account officially moved to Quadrant some 15 days ago, following an uncharacteristic presentation scenario where, by the final stage, the agency virtually had the entire field to itself.
Speaking to agencyfaqs!, Anil Nair, vice-president, Quadrant Communications, said, "Quadrant had made a couple of presentations - which included our understanding of the market, and our recommendations - to Toshiba representatives from Singapore. Once the strategy was agreed upon, we developed creatives based on the strategy. Creatives are currently being finalized and improved. I should admit the development of the creative happened only after the account was awarded to us."
Here, it is important to note that Quadrant winning Toshiba's CTV account has no bearing on the advertising for Toshiba's computer hardware account (Toshiba has been retailing notebooks in the country for quite some time now), which is with Contract Advertising. "Toshiba's laptop business is a different business altogether," Nair clarifies. Vis-ŕ-vis CTVs, Toshiba shares a marketing and distribution arrangement with Videocon International (VIL), while in the IT hardware sector, it has a longstanding association with Delhi-based HCL Technologies.
While it is not clear why the account moved to Quadrant virtually unchallenged, agencyfaqs! has gathered that VIL was extremely keen on Quadrant working on the account… because of the work it had put in behind the Akai brand, in particular. However, Nair insists that the decision to move the account to Quadrant "was jointly taken by Videocon and Toshiba Asia-Pacific". He adds that, "The agency's in-depth understanding of the CTV market must have worked; and our creative standards are well known."
Interestingly, worldwide, Toshiba is handled by Japanese agency ASATSV, which is affiliated to JWT. And agencyfaqs! has learnt that at least during the initial stages of presentations, HTA did show interest in the account. However, as it transpires, HTA subsequently dropped off on its own… perhaps because things had crystallized on the Philips front.
Be that as it may, for Toshiba, this is not the first foray into the Indian consumer electronics market. The brand had launched a limited range of televisions in the country a few years ago - also in association with VIL - but had met with limited success. "The products that Toshiba launched were superb, but were ahead of the times," avers Nair. "It was too premature a market, so the brand did not do well enough. However, now the client feels the market is right, and has decided to come back with a bang." Incidentally, back then, the advertising for the brand was being handled by iB&W, another VIL regular.
Given the brand's background in India, the immediate task for Quadrant lies in establishing Toshiba's famed product supremacy, built on technological superiority. "Each product of theirs is avant-garde," Nair explains. "Toshiba has been pioneering the home entertainment electronic revolution the world over for many decades now. It was Toshiba that invented 'picture' in picture and DVD technology. Toshiba has always led the revolution in any CTV market. And even in India, it is bringing in products that are at the cutting edge of technology."
Needless to say, Toshiba is looking at the premium end of the market. "Toshiba is not here to play the number game, and therefore, has a modest market share objective," Nair explains. "But Toshiba is here to revolutionize the way Indians look at televisions and home entertainment. Toshiba products have no comparison, but if you force me to take names, there's only one - Sony."
For Quadrant, the association with VIL is proving to be a purple patch. This is the fourth VIL-related consumer electronics brand that the agency will be handling. The agency already has the account of Sansui. Then there is Kenwood, which it got in lieu of Akai (which it had to surrender to iB&W, because of a potential clash with Sansui). Of course, there is no threat of conflict between Toshiba and Sansui. "The Sansui customer is completely different from a Toshiba customer. Toshiba looks at the highest end of the market, and Sansui plays the popular end of the market. They are as different as apples and oranges," Nair beams.
Specific to Toshiba, Nair is thrilled with the gain. "It feels great to be associated with such a global giant who is a household name the world over. And we feel that it is a great responsibility that has been vested on our shoulders. We are confident about the task ahead."
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