Bates India's Kolkata office has picked up two new accounts - Shalimar Paints and the Amul brand of hosiery products (from JG Hosiery) - adding Rs 6 crore to its billing. Both the accounts came to its portfolio this week. Confirming the move, Amitava Sinha, executive vice-president, Bates India, said the agency would start work on the new accounts 'rights away'. Both the accounts came Bates' way after a protracted pitch process.
The Shalimar Paints account is worth Rs 2 crore and moves from Mudra Communications' Kolkata office, which has been handling the account for close to a decade now. The pitch for this account happened in early August and there were quite a few agencies in the fray. Sinha, however, refused to divulge the names of these agencies and, despite repeated attempts, Shalimar Paints executives remained inaccessible.
It appears the pitch for Shalimar Paints happened in one round and was in the nature of a strategy-cum-creative presentation. The brief to the agencies was "how to make the Shalimar brand top-of-mind". Says Sinha, "Shalimar Paints has been out of the media for some years now. Initially our task would be to get the Shalimar name back in the reckoning and not promote any particular brand."
A tough call indeed, with the top three players in the category moving into high rev.
The other new brand in Bates' portfolio happens to be one of the older crop of organised players in the hosiery market. Amul, from the JG Hosiery portfolio, is also one of the bigger spenders in its category. For the current year, the size of the Amul account is estimated at Rs 4 crore. The account moves from Leo Burnett, Kolkata, which has been handling the brand for the past three years.
The entire pitch process took up four months, says Sandeep Seksaria, director at JG Industries. He informed that besides Bates, the two other contenders were Mumbai-based creative hotshop Chlorophyll and Alyque Padamsee, in his individual capacity.
Bates will handle the entire range of Amul products, comprising a men's and a women's line of innerwear. The men's range comprises five sub-brands: Gold, Bodywarmer, Comfy and Macho; and the women's line has one brand, Priya. Though not an exciting category by any stretch of imagination, Bates' enthusiasm is understandable. For one, the company spends quite a large sum of money on advertising. And two, JG Hosiery has lined up an aggressive expansion plan.
Seksaria indicated that JG Industries is getting ready to storm new markets. "We were always strong in the Hindi heartland - in UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and Delhi. Now we plan to target other markets aggressively. We launched the product in Kolkata a few days back and we will get into the west in a big way."
But the question is, why did the company take so long to launch its brand in the market where it is headquartered? Seksaria has his defences ready. "Because of competition. When we started 25 yeas ago, competition here was high and the margins were low. So we decided to consolidate ourselves in a region which was relatively underdeveloped."
Amul's Kolkata launch will be supported by a high profile advertising campaign focused mostly on television and print. "About 80 per cent of our spends will go into the electronic media," says Seksaria. In the meanwhile, the Bates' Kolkata office is readying itself for some "swashbuckling action."
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