Silk saree trade: New opportunity for southern agencies

By , agencyfaqs! | In | March 07, 2002
It is big-ticket accounts such as Chennai Silks and Deepam Silk International that are making agencies in the south look at local enterprise with renewed vigour

If last year taught agencies some tough lessons in cost cutting, it also forced them to chase local business with major gusto. One of the bigger beneficiaries of this fresh look at prospective business has been the silk saree trade in Chennai.

Indeed. Silk saree trade, which has long remained within the purview of traditional enterprise, suddenly saw big boom in ad spends last year. According to industry estimates, the category accounted for Rs 30 crore worth of spends in Chennai alone (2001). The good news is that the trend seems to continue this year as well. Informed guesses suggest such spends might grow at a healthy 20 per cent this year, though optimistic watchers also predict that spends in the category could well double this year.

It is easy to understand why agencies are so optimistic. Chennai Silks is supposed to have splurged around Rs 2 crore on its launch alone - which happened towards the fag end of last year. The agency on the account is Sasi Advertising, and it had won the business against stiff competition from the likes of Mudra, Fountainhead and Enthrall (a local agency). "Despite the fact that we are working on the account, many big agencies continue to make presentations to our client," says John Jesudason, account director, Sasi Advertising.

Another big spender was Pothy's (a recent entrant in the silk saree market in Chennai), which reportedly spent around a crore on media in one day flat. The date was August 16 and Pothy's is supposed to have blocked spots across all channels in the region to drive home the message that they were not a force that could be easily ignored. Given this scenario, top national agencies have spent most of last year chasing big-ticket saree accounts. Take O&M, which bagged the Bangalore-based Deepam Silk International account after courting the client for quite a while.

In the past, well-entrenched players such as Nalli Silks and Kumaran Silks have released ads through local outfits on occasions such as Diwali, Christmas and Pongal. Now the needs have changes and the focus really is to stand apart in a highly competitive market. "We have always represented fashion trends and now we want to convey a lifestyle to our consumers. We want to be known as the house that brings the latest designs and fabrics to consumers rather than a 'plain vanilla' silk saree trading house," opines M Chandrashekar, managing director, Deepam Silk International.

Inevitably enough, the entry of new players has helped grow the market, which in turn has increased the total advertising pie in the region. According to industry sources, local saree traders notch up sales of around Rs 40 lakh per day. And this figure goes up as much as three times during festival and marriage seasons.

Interestingly, many of these players have gone beyond sarees and started offering a complete range of apparel to their customers. For example, Deepam has kicked off a winter collection with a fashion show in Chennai and has roped in top models to represent the brand - setting off a new trend in the homespun industry. "That is because we aspire to grow out of Bangalore and enter other major metros. O&M has been able to reflect our attitude and highlight the fact that we stand for exquisite work, which takes into account the latest fashion trends. The fact that we tied-up with Tanishq and Hidesign for the fashion show is proof that we think of our consumer in totality," opines Chandrashekar. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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