HTA reclaims Godrej refrigerators from Ambience D'Arcy

By , agencyfaqs! | In | February 27, 2002
Three years after it lost the advertising account of Godrej Appliances to Ambience D'Arcy, HTA has won back the refrigerator business following a creative-cum-strategy pitch

The country's biggest advertising agency, HTA, has won back the advertising account of Godrej Appliances' refrigerator business from Ambience D'Arcy. The account, which had moved from HTA to Ambience some three years ago, was relocated with HTA following a creative-cum-strategy presentation made by both agencies. Ambience, however, continues to handle Godrej Appliances' washing machine account.

Speaking to agencyfaqs!, Tarun Rai, senior vice-president and general manager, HTA, Mumbai, said, "We were asked to make a presentation for the refrigerator business, that's all. There was no talk of washing machines. So, as of now, that business is still with Ambience."

Expectedly, Rai is thrilled with the win - incidentally, the first at HTA's Mumbai office since he took over as Mumbai head following Sunil Gupta's departure from the agency. "It feels great as this was the first thing I got into after coming from Kolkata," he smiles. And what makes the win that much sweeter is that it marks Godrej Appliances' return to the HTA portfolio. It may be recalled that the agency had been handling Godrej's refrigerator business for a considerable period of time, and the path-breaking, gold-caped 'PuF-man' campaign from the mid-eighties was HTA's creation. "It always feels wonderful to have old clients coming back," says Rai.

It's not clear what prompted Godrej to move the business out of HTA in 1999. And Rai, for one, does not want to dwell on it. "I have no idea why they moved… I'm sure the client must have had reasons. But that is not pertinent now, is it? What matters is that they are back with us, and we are happy to be back with them." Of course, Rai knows very well why this move happened. "The reason they came back was the great creative product we presented, based on strong consumer insights and a sound understanding of the refrigerator market."

Interestingly, some six months ago, MindShare India had won Godrej Appliances' media planning and buying account from Starcom (this business had been with Starcom since the time HTA had lost the account in 1999). When asked if MindShare had helped pave the way for HTA's reentry into the client's agency roster, Rai replied, "I'm certain our selection had everything to do with the quality of the presentation we made. After all, we had nothing to do with media. Our recommendations were strictly on strategy and creative. Of course, if MindShare did, at some level, influence the decision, it shows the level of confidence MindShare enjoys in the client's mind."

Winning a refrigerator account when the muggy Indian summer is knocking on the door can be a nightmarish prospect for any agency - the turnaround time available being so little. Add to that a sluggish, yet fiercely competitive market where aggressive rivals have been steadily gaining market share at Godrej's expense. Although still a hugely popular brand in the in the direct-cool segment (which constitutes 82 per cent of the domestic refrigerator market), Godrej has been consistently losing market share and market leadership to Whirlpool and Electrolux. Interestingly, according to the latest ORG figures, the brand has done exceptionally well in the frost-free segment, where it has upped market share to 15.7 per cent (January-December 2001).

Rai agrees that given the short notice, it's a "bit of a crunch" for the agency, but adds, "The turnaround time at HTA is pretty quick - it's one of the inherent strengths of this agency. I don't see us having a problem. The campaign should be out on time."

Quiz him about the specifics of the campaign and Rai shakes his head. "I'm not talking anything about the campaign or the strategy we're employing. We'll be into the execution pretty soon, so you'll get to see. All I can say is our task is to increase market share for the client, and our communication will stick to that basic task."

Rai does not reveal the size of the account either. "We have not discussed media as yet, so I have no idea of spends," he says. "All I can say is it's not small, given the competitive market. But let me add that although size is most welcome, working with a great brand like Godrej is a reward in itself. Their coming back to us gives us a sense of achievement that goes beyond numbers." © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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