The nine-month-old Chennai branch of Hakuhodo Percept has plucked the advertising account of Nippo batteries (from the Indo National stable) - including sub-brands Hyper, Super and Gold - from Metaphor, Mumbai. Besides ex-incumbent Metaphor, the other agency in the fray was Fifth Estate, a local agency that had done some work for Nippo earlier. Nippo is the third account in Hakuhodo Percept, Channai's kitty, and adds another Rs 7 crore to the agency's billing. The other two accounts of Hakuhodo Percept's Chennai branch are National Cookers of Indo Matsushita Appliances and M M Foam. While the National Cookers business is estimated at Rs 3 crore, M M Foam is pegged at under a crore.
The agency is quite ecstatic about Nippo, which it acquired after a three-round presentation drill. agencyfaqs! has learnt that other agency heavyweights like HTA, O&M and RK Swamy/BBDO had also showed interest in the account in the initial rounds. As it tuned out, Indo National had a different gameplan.
Hakuhodo Percept approached the client on its own - of course, not without doing its homework well. "The client wanted an effective long-term brand strategy for the Nippo brand because its image did not match up to the competition, though the product was superior," emphasises Debashis Bose, COO, Hakuhodo Percept.
The agency went on to make a media, strategy and creative presentation with 'vital inputs' on the techniques of brand building. "Brand WIN, a Hakuhodo system of brand management, was the basis of our presentation. We were asked to do a small exercise on the company's corporate communication. We used that as an opportunity to put forward our innovative approach and it worked in our favour," Bose adds.
It appears the advertising for Nippo will be television-driven. However, the print medium will be leveraged first. The Diwali promo will be released very soon, followed by corporate ads. The agency is in the process of thrashing out a communication strategy for Nippo that integrates the futuristic use of batteries with an emphasis on the core attributes of Nippo - namely, 'power' and 'longer life'.
"The battery segment is very interesting. With time we will see the use of more high drainage devices, battery-driven personal devices and infotainment products. Our idea is to reflect on a futuristic lifestyle while harping on the product advantages. Since the demand for zinc chloride batteries - which is what Nippo is - has always been higher than alkaline batteries, the task is to grow the market share of Nippo by strengthening its brand image," explains Bose.
The battery market is estimated at 1.80 billion units per annum currently. It is broadly divided into two categories - zinc chloride and alkaline. The bulk of the Indian market - around 97 per cent - is held by zinc chloride batteries. Alkaline batteries take up the remaining 3 per cent. What is interesting, however, is the fact that the alkaline segment is growing at 40 per cent per annum whereas the zinc chloride segment is growing by a tardy 6-8 per cent only.
Eveready dominates the zinc chloride market with a share of 39 per cent. Nippo stands second with a market share 31 per cent. The other players in this segment are Novino with 19 per cent, Geep with 10 per cent and BPL with 1 per cent. Bose adds, "Eveready is having a tough time defending its turf. They have given up their popular 'Give Me Red' baseline for 'Full Full Masala', which isn't working so well."
Nonetheless, it's clear Nippo has to watch out for competition from the players in the alkaline segment, a segment that leads most markets worldwide. In India the alkaline market is lead by Duracell, which has a 40 per cent share. It now has a tie up with Geep and plans to foray into the zinc chloride segment. But the agency and its newly acquired client are all geared for competition. "The coming war in batteries is going to be exciting and we look forward to winning every inch of the market," says Bose.
© agencyfaqs! 2001