In a low profile move, Reckitt Benckiser India has put its estimated Rs 50-60 crore media business on the block. The incumbent on the business is Delhi-based Universal McCann.
This development comes four months after an announcement made earlier this year by virtue of which the company realigned its creative duties between Euro RSCG and HTA, Delhi. The reconfiguration of the creative business came into effect in July, 2002. As things stand now, Euro RSCG handles the home care, fabric care and shoecare categories and HTA handles the surface cleaners and the anti septic products in the company's portfolio.
The reason for initiating the pitch seems to be the imminent lapse of the current AOR arrangement (which is valid till September end). The company obviously has "nothing to comment" at this stage claiming it is "early days still". However, information available with agencyfaqs! indicates that there are at least five agencies in the fray - including Zenith Media, The Media Edge (media arm of Rediffusion), Optimum Media Solutions (the media specialist unit of Mudra), OptiMedia (the media wing of Publicis) and Euro RSCG. Universal McCann, it seems, has not been invited to defend the business.
None of the agencies is willing to talk about the pitch, which is currently on, and is expected to be over in the next three weeks. Their caginess is understandable. Reckitt Benckiser is one of those rare clients that insist that agencies sign a non-disclosure clause even before they are briefed for a speculative pitch. Obviously, all the suitors this time around have had to go through the same drill. It seems the current confidentiality clause also says that any query by the media has to be forwarded to the company. For those in the fray, therefore, a lot is at stake
Interestingly, when the company realigned its creative duties in April, the parent company of Reckitt Benckiser India, in a note to Euro RSCG had mentioned, "Current media planning and buying arrangements (except those with McCann) are unaffected by this." A senior official at Universal McCann had indicated then that the Reckitt Benckiser AOR account "remains undisturbed" as it was won on the back of an "independent pitch" - implying perhaps that the AOR account didn't come its way as part of the global alignment five years ago. As such, the agency was hopeful of retaining the AOR account.
But with absence of Universal McCann in the current pitch, it is apparent the company is falling in line with the international arrangement on media. So, as the rains bring the temperature down in Delhi, the media guys in the prospective agencies perspire over 'a new strategic media direction' for Reckitt Benckiser. © 2002 agencyfaqs!