After a month-long tussle among eight of Delhi's leading media agencies, the Paris-based luxury watch and jewellery group Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) has awarded its media duties to Starcom MediaVest. The account is estimated at Rs 8 crore. Starcom MediaVest will handle all the four brands marketed by the watch and jewellery division in India - Christian Dior, TAG Heuer, Ebel and Zenith.
The group is a big spender on communication and its investments in advertising and promotion around the globe is as high as 12 per cent of its sales turnover. For Starcom MediaVest, however, the task is far from easy. The agency has to spearhead LVMH's formal launch in India. And the brands LVMH will be competing with include Omega and Esprit, which are, by themselves, very high profile in media.
But Starcom officials are upbeat. Talking about the gain, Andrey Purushottam, managing director, Starcom MediaVest India, says, "The product category is unexplored in our country and therefore our work will be extremely challenging. We cannot rely on past examples; we will have to create new ones. India is a key market for LVMH and our strategy coupled with their excellent team will ensure that India retains its priority and develops strongly in the coming years."
India figures prominently in LVMH's global plan for one simple reason. The luxury goods business, especially watches, has been badly hit by the global economic downturn. What's worse, the LVMH Group lost $7 million of its global business in the first half of the current year. With the company aiming for a 14 per cent increase in sales this year, the importance of India cannot be overlooked.
Yet, given the price-sensitiveness of the Indian market, is the company being too optimistic? "The task is not snatching market shares, but growing the market," answers Dupindera Sandhu, branch head, Starcom MediaVest, Delhi. But that is an awesome task in itself as many premium foreign labels that landed in India with great fanfare have found out. No doubt, that is one reason why LVMH was so cautious about choosing its media partner.
As Gilles Mangin, general manager, LVMH Watch and Jewellery India, puts it, "We needed to choose our media partner very carefully because India is going to be an important pillar for the watch and jewellery business in future. Starcom showed the best understanding of the product category - luxury watches - which, is not a sector widely advertised in India and needs careful analysis to avoid wastage."
Interestingly, while LVMH's watch and jewellery subsidiary has been around in India for the last two years, it is only now that the group is getting aggressive. And it plans to move fast. Starcom MediaVest will release some of the creatives pretty soon. Though Starcom officials were not willing to reveal the media plan at this stage, Sandhu mentions, "…all below-the-line activities would be supported with above-the-line activities." Â© 2002 agencyfaqs!