HTA clarifies position on Tata-AIG

By , agencyfaqs!, na | In Advertising | October 11, 2001
Tata-AIG's ex-agency HTA has clarified that its pitching for Allianz-Bajaj was based on a "complete misunderstanding" arising from a communication hiccup between it and Tata-AIG

agencyfaqs! News Bureau

On October 5, agencyfaqs! had run a story on Bates India winning the advertising account of insurance major Tata-AIG (Bates, Mumbai, wins Tata-AIG after "close fight"). One of the issues raised in that story was Tata-AIG's motive for moving the account out of HTA. Finger-pointing being what it is, the general view within the ad industry was that Tata-AIG had taken a dim view of HTA pitching for the account of rival Allianz-Bajaj. Incidentally, when probed on this, Tata-AIG had chosen not to comment.

However, subsequently, agencyfaqs! received a letter from Sunil Gupta, senior vice-president and general manager, HTA, clarifying HTA's point. "In May 2001, HTA was told by a senior representative of Tata-AIG - and by a senior representative of AIG - that Tata-AIG would be realigning its business with Bates India with effect from July-October 2001, as AIG was aligned with Bates in the Asia-Pacific," the letter reads. "We were also given to understand that thus, Tata-AIG would not be renewing our contract when it expired in October 2001."

Commenting upon Allianz-Bajaj, Gupta writes, "It was on this basis that we met Allianz-Bajaj, and we were absolutely upfront with them as to the situation. I must state unequivocally that HTA does not pitch for rival business while we are the incumbent agency, unless we clear it with both parties. Unfortunately, it later transpired that the news that had been given to us in May - and upon which we had acted in good faith - had been premature, and had not been cleared by all concerned in Tata-AIG. That this was a misunderstanding was conveyed by me, personally, to the Tata-AIG management, but by that time, too much water had flowed under the bridge, and Tata-AIG had taken its current decision."

Gupta concludes by saying, "Thus, it was a case of complete misunderstanding that has led to this unfortunate situation. We regret the inconvenience that was caused to Tata-AIG or anyone else in this matter. But I must stress once again that HTA does not behave unethically at any time, and we value our reputation on this score."

© 2001 agencyfaqs!