United Colors of Benetton moves from FCB-Ulka to Leo Burnett

By , agencyfaqs! | In | November 28, 2002
Sequel to FCB-Ulka winning the Rs 8 crore apparel brand from ITC

A series of dramatic events resulted in Leo Burnett grabbing the Benetton business.

About seven months ago, United Colors of Benetton had invited three agencies - FCB-Ulka, Leo Burnett and Contract Advertising - to pitch for its advertising account. At the end of the assessment process, FCB-Ulka was entrusted with the Rs 3-4 crore business. However, United Colors of Benetton's partnership with FCB-Ulka was barley six months old when another opportunity knocked on the incumbent's door. This was ITC's new apparel brand. FCB-Ulka pitched for the Rs 8-crore ITC business and lapped it up after several rounds of hectic presentations.

In the process, FCB-Ulka actually ended up winning a conflicting business. And, Benetton went scouting for another agency. "We decided to dissolve our partnership because FCB-Ulka had a conflicting business, which was ITC's new apparel brand," confirms Richa Puranesh, head, marketing services, United Colors of Benetton. So what prompted the company to realign its business with Leo Burnett? Says Puranesh, "Both Leo Burnett and Contract made very impressive presentations. Since we had to choose one agency we decided to partner with Leo Burnett. We are convinced about the agency's commitment and its services."

Leo Burnett did fight tooth and nail to get the business. "We used our proprietary tool Hot Buttons to research the Indian fashion industry to understand its current trends and its fast-paced growth. On the basis of that we made a strategy pitch," says Anisha Motwani, vice-president, Leo Burnett, Delhi. Of course, Leo Burnett is expected to deliver its best. Its role would not be limited to planning the communication alone; the agency would be actively involved in the marketing activities.

As far as media is concerned, the thrust will continue to be on print and outdoors. Television would be used "carefully". "United Color of Benetton's brand values, its philosophy, its imagery, its attitude are best communicated through the print and outdoors. The communication is so strong visually that it requires one to dwell more on the message, which is possible through print and not TV, given the nature of the medium," explains Puranesh.

Apart from releasing international creatives, the agency would also produce local creatives for the brand. Puranesh also clarifies that adaptation of international creatives will happen " only if the context requires localisation and that too without compromising on the brand values of United Colors of Benetton."

Alongside, the company, which is present in 45 cities across the country currently, plans to expand its product portfolio. "Recently, we had launched sun-glasses and infant wear. Soon we would be launching lingerie in India under the brand name 'Under Colors'," adds Puranesh. And if all goes "as planned", the company hopes to break even this year. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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