Aegis Media India has launched Carat Fresh Rural, an international rural communications agency. It is the rural division of Carat Fresh Integrated, which will provide comprehensive rural marketing and communication solutions to brands.
The brands that have already signed the contract with Carat Fresh Rural are Mahindra & Mahindra, Godrej Consumer Products, Escorts, Godrej, GPI, Sony MAX, Pidilite, Force Motors and Bayer Crop Science, amongst a few others. The company had a soft launch in April 2013, when Keshav Chandorkar was appointed as national head, rural marketing.
The activations company will start with a team of 30 rural marketers and a network of 1500 operators, across seven offices and 20 operation bases, led by Chandorkar. Between April (soft launch) and December, the company has already carried out activities in over 18,000 villages across 21 states.
Ashish Bhasin, chairman, India and CEO, Southeast Asia, Aegis Media, says, "Rural marketing communications is the holy grail that no agency has successfully cracked in India, thus far. I believe that there is a universe at least equal to the size of the entire advertising industry available to agencies to explore in the rural marketing communications field. Carat Fresh Rural will, in many ways, pioneer that. We are developing, for the first time in India, state-of-the-art rural management tools."
As per Aegis data, nearly 750 million Indians live in rural India and are expected to add additional consumption not only in the FMCG category but also in categories like automobiles, telecom, entertainment, consumer durables and others.
Carat Fresh Rural aims to have a network of 10,000 people and 100 rural experts, across 26 states, by mid-2015. By 2015, Carat Fresh Rural expects to have covered over 100,000 villages throughout India. In the second phase of expansion, which will span from 2016 to 2018, the network aims at doubling the number of people, villages and employees.
Bhasin further adds, "The Carat Fresh suite of rural tools will have the country's only real time rural planning tool, enabled by 3G connectivity and linked to a host of data sources including the rich census data, media data and 16 other sources of data. Since implementation in rural is key, every one of the Carat Fresh Rural operators will have an app on their GPS-enabled trackers that will automatically monitor and relay data without human intervention."
For the record, the Aegis Media India group comprises Carat Fresh Integrated (experiential),Carat (media agency), Vizeum, Posterscope (OOH), Brandscope, Hyperspace (retail), PSI (airports), Doosra (creative), Isobar (digital) and iProspectCommunicate 2 (search and performance marketing).