Leo Burnett pips Lemon to Bajaj microwaves, cooler biz

By , agencyfaqs! | In | February 02, 2002
Leo Burnett India has won the advertising business of Bajaj Electricals' microwave ovens and room coolers. The businesses - worth about Rs 3-crore in billing - move from Touchstone

In the wake of a two-way pitch that also involved Lemon Communications, Leo Burnett India has won the advertising business of Bajaj Electricals' (BE) microwave ovens and room coolers. Both accounts move from Touchstone, which has been handling the cooler business for the past year, and the microwave business for over two years now. With this movement, BE has consolidated its creative account with Leo Burnett, although the 'small appliances' part of the business continues to be with Touchstone.

Vidyadhar M. Wabgaonkar, director, business & brand strategy, Leo Burnett India, informs agencyfaqs! that the accounts moved to the agency some 10 days ago, following a strategy-cum-creative pitch held in the first week of January 2002. "Our pitch concentrated upon the challenge of building market share for the two businesses, using the agency's proprietary Brand Belief System," he says. It might be recalled that early last month, Leo Burnett had formally launched its global branding philosophy, Brand Belief System, in India. "Brand Belief is about converting more and more 'buyers' into 'believers' by building and strengthening a bond with them," he continues. "The pitch presentations centered at how such a 'human' bond could be built using the technical advantages inherent to the client's product designs."

Evidently, Leo Burnett was also able to harness the benefits of its existing relationship with BE to swing the decision in its favour. agencyfaqs! loyalists may recall that in May last year, we had reported the movement of BE's fans, lighting (CFL) and luminaries, and Engineering Projects businesses to Leo Burnett. "Last season, we delivered our first campaign for the client's fans business, based on the platform of 'Fastest fans'," says Wabgaonkar. "With this campaign, pre- and post-tracking measures showed a huge jump in the saliency of the brand. The account is, in fact, showing healthy growth."

The agency reveals that the size of the combined wins (microwaves and room coolers) is approximately Rs 3 crore (in gross billing). "We expect it grow rapidly, as the client has aggressive plans of expansion in both these categories," Wabgaonkar adds.

In the room cooler market, Bajaj is up against established players like Videocon, Usha Lexus and Symphony. And, of course, the huge amorphous mass that constitutes the unorganized sector. In that sense, Leo Burnett has quite an uphill task. But Wabgaonkar is confident that the Bajaj brand packs enough power by itself. "We found that the strong equity of Bajaj Fans, is very helpful when Bajaj present coolers to the market," he says. "Further, Bajaj has built a superior cooling product, and the communication will instill this strongly in the minds of consumers. Also, the cooler market in India is large and growing rapidly. The pie is large enough and is getting bigger. At the same time, the business requires significant front-end investments in working capital, distribution and communication. Thus, there is room for several operators in the market."

The agency is also confident that Bajaj can find its place in the microwave oven market - where almost every multinational durables player already has an iron or two in the fire. "A large section of the Indian middle class is emotionally very close to Bajaj Electricals," Wabgaonkar says. "They have already improved their lives with Bajaj OTGs, water heaters, irons, toasters and other such appliances. Plus, a variety of snacks and fast foods have entered their eating habits. We saw them jumping forward, when the relevance of Bajaj microwaves was shown to them."

The agency sure seems to have made an impression on BE. "Leo Burnett exhibited a clear strategic thinking for the task ahead on the room cooler as well as the microwave businesses, which, we believe, can be progressed into relevant creatives," says Himanshu Patil, general manager, publicity and promotions, Bajaj Electricals. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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