Chennai-based Maitri gets Finalist nomination at New York Festival

By , agencyfaqs! | In | June 11, 2002
The recognition comes its way for the ad created for MRF Wall Coat (an MRF Speciality Coating Division brand) in the Household category for print advertising

A small shop based in Chennai has done its bit to push India's case in the global advertising arena. Maitri Advertising has made it to the finalist grade at the recent New York Festival 2002 International Print Advertising Competition. The recognition comes its way for the ad created for MRF Wall Coat (an MRF Speciality Coating Division brand) in the Household category for print advertising. The competition attracted more than 6,500 entries from 64 countries.

"We are thrilled at being recognised for our work. We are a small outfit with lots of young people. It just goes to prove that good ideas and great work are not just the exclusive preserve of big agencies. This, in a way, vindicates the idea behind starting Maitri six years ago," says Sajan Abraham, managing director, Maitri.

Abraham says the main aim of the MRF Wall Coat print campaign was to break clutter in a category dominated by big spenders like Asian Paints, Berger et al. "We decided against showing a house because everyone was doing that anyway. And the result is for everyone to see," he says.

The creative idea is interesting indeed. The whole series is set against the backdrop of Egypt. One of the ads has a shot of the Egyptian Sphinx, saying, "To look good and stay protected in this weather, MRF Wall Coat is not as expensive as a nose job. Great, now they tell me." Another ad in the series has the shot of a king and queen talking. The queen says, "All you do is sit around all day. Ever thought of getting some MRF Wall Coat to protect us from this darn sunlight?"

The whole concept was a team effort, reiterates Abraham, comprising Melvin Jacob, V Jeyananth and Sanjay Nair, the account manager on MRF Wall Coats. "We are very proud; our agency is a virtual David among the Goliaths, completely unheard of when compared with the big names such as Bates, McCann-Erickson and HTA," says Abraham.

To put things in perspective, the agency was set up six years ago when three friends got together to do their own thing. Abraham, for instance, headed Mudra, Chennai, before quitting to set up Maitri. The two other partners C Muthu and Raju Menon are ex-Mudra and ex-RK Swamy/BBDO hands respectively. Their ability to offer a combination of big agency expertise and small agency flexibility has helped Maitri bag lucrative accounts over the years. Some of the accounts handled by the agency are BPL Mobile (in Tamil Nadu and Kerala), AVT Tea brand, Matribhumi Group of Publications in Kerala, V-Guard brand of voltage stabilisers, Tourism Ministry of Malay and Dhiraaga Co (the telecom company in Maldives), some new brands of Parry's Confectionery - the names of which the agency doesn't wish to reveal - Music World, RPG's Health & Glow retail brand, and of course, MRF Speciality Coatings. The billing for the agency for March 2002 stands at Rs 10 crore. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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