Incumbent and Interpublic Group-agency Interface Communications has retained the media planning and buying duties of the Chennai-based Henkel Spic group, following a three-month-long pitch for the account, which is valued at roughly Rs 30 crore in annualized billing. The agency, which has been servicing the business for the past four years, successfully fended off challenges from Carat India, The Media Edge and a combined media front of TBWAAnthem and RK Swamy/BBDO - Optimum Media Direction (OMD). For the record, both Carat and OMD are globally aligned to Henkel in different global markets.
Confirming the development to agencyfaqs!, Nandini Dias, national media director, Lodestar Media (the media arm of FCB-Ulka and Interface), said, "Interface has acquired the AOR for all the 20-odd Henkel brands, across all media (television, press, radio, outdoor etc). The agency has managed holding its own in a huge but meticulous pitch that started way back in June this year."
In fact, agencyfaqs! has learnt that the pitch was three-tiered, starting with a simple credentials presentation by all three agencies. However, the pitch apparently got progressively tougher - in round two, all three contenders were given case studies of two Henkel brands. The idea was to get the agencies to present their cases using their respective tools and techniques, and then assess the effectiveness of the tools and techniques used. "I must say that we came out flying," Dias smiles. "Lodestar's tools and techniques such as Mediagraphics and Perfidia helped establish us as that much better."
Interestingly, the agencies had to go through a third round of presentations too. "This was essentially to gauge our buying capabilities," says Dias. "We were given a task, and the same had to be achieved with a given amount of money. And the data from our presentations was evaluated by TAM to see how robust our recommendations were. The client based his decision on all these factors."
Expectedly, Dias is thrilled with the manner in which Interface has defended its turf. "Henkel is one of the biggest businesses in the south, and certainly the largest in Chennai, which makes it a coveted account," she says. "I must add that the competition tried everything to move the business, including getting their regional media heads to the presentations." So what made the client stick with Interface? Dias attributes it to "our abilities as one of the top buyers in Chennai". That, and the fact that the agency has worked hard on the account. "In the FMCG category, we have fought Levers and helped Henkel get noticed. I think Henkel has seen our work and appreciates what we have done - and are doing - for them." © 2002 agencyfaqs!