After aligning the estimated Rs 8-crore advertising business of its pre-paid and post-paid brand, SmartPhone service, with Capital Advertising, Delhi, cellular operator Escotel has consolidated its AOR business with (Interpublic Group company) Millennium Media, Delhi, Lowe's second media wing. The estimated Rs 8 crore-Rs 10 crore AOR business came the agency's way after a three-way pitch.
Information available with agencyfaqs! indicates besides defending agency Enterprise Nexus, Delhi, and incumbent Millennium Media, there was a third agency in the fray. Though the creative and the media pitches happened around the same (first week of March), the company took a little more time to zero in on the media agency.
Millennium Media has got the AOR for Escotel's existing circles Uttar Pradesh (west), Haryana and Kerala and the four new circles, where it plans launch its services - Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (east) and Himachal Pradesh. With the AOR business now with Millennium Media, Enterprise Nexus has lost the entire Escotel account (the creative went to Capital earlier). The size of the AOR business till recently was relatively small - between Rs 4 crore and Rs 5 crore.
It seems all three agencies asked to present were given a fair chance. "We gave a very exhaustive note on the brief to all three. The brief was to work out a strategy that would help Escotel consolidate its leadership in its current circles and build the same brand equity in the four new circles," explains Sonjoy Mohanty, chief officer, customer acquisition and retention, Escotel.
Apparently, the task of finalising the agency was not an easy one for Escotel. The company followed a comparative rating system to evaluate the performance of each agency. "Seven parameters were taken into account to gauge the performance of the three contenders. These were the billing size of the agency, pure AOR billings of the agency, the buying ability in a particular circle in a way that saves money, innovation, processes, resources, local team and lastly, commercial terms (fee-based or commission). Once the presentations were over, all three agencies were handed out the rating sheet so that they could see how each has performed vis-a-vis the other. This, I believe, is a very clean and fair method of judging," says Mohanty.
For one, Enterprise Nexus is quite taken in by Escotel's professional approach. "All the parameters applied to evaluate the agency were pretty much fair," agrees Sanjay Garg, general manger, servicing, Enterprise Nexus, Delhi. However, he has a different opinion on the way the creative pitch was conducted. "While the AOR pitch looked at parameters that ensured a long-term working relationship, the same was not seen in the creative pitch. The decision was solely based on the presentation. Though there is nothing wrong with it, I feel one meeting is not enough to take a decision. Otherwise, the overall procedure of selection was fair."
To get Millennium Media's views on the account gain, agencyfaqs! got in touch with the agency. This is what Venkat Subramaniam, media supervisor, Millennium Media, Delhi, had to say, "While we have made our presentations to the client, at the current moment, due to organisational policy, we are not in a position to answer any queries on the size of business and plans etc."
What is interesting about the whole event is that Lowe pitched for the business through relative newcomer Millenium Media and not through the well-established Initiative Media. As a senior media observer points out, "Participating in the Escotel pitch would have been tantamount to pitching for a conflicting business. Initiative Media handles the AOR account of telecom company Birla AT&T (present in the circles of Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh) in Mumbai."
As regards the media skew for Escotel's new campaign, it is going to be region specific. It would be a mix of print and television, supported by below the line activities on a large scale. Escotel provides coverage in 164 towns, highway coverage in 77 towns and 3,000 villages in UP (west), Haryana and Kerala. The subscriber base of Escotel currently is over 4,70,000. Of these about 1,50,000 lakh are post-paid customers and over 3,20,000 are prepaid. © 2002 agencyfaqs!