agencyfaqs! News Bureau
Kolkata-based writing instruments company Linc Pen & Plastics Ltd has appointed local agency Mileage Advertising to handle its entire brand portfolio for the year 2003. For the agencies in Kolkata it was one of the more sought after accounts after Linc's previous agency Leo Burnett closed down its operation in the city earlier this year. Confirming the move, Shuvayu Bhattacharya, senior executive, products, says, "The account was handed over to Mileage on December 1, 2002, and our contract is valid for a 12-month period." The account is estimated at Rs 2 crore.
agencyfaqs! has learnt that besides Mileage two other agencies - Euro RSCG and Grey Worldwide India - were in the fray for the business. The pitch happened over the second and third weeks of November. Talking about the brief, Bhattacharya says, "We asked the agencies to give their viewpoints on how to take our pioneer brand Linc HiSchool Gel Pen forward. It was mainly a strategy pitch in which the agencies had also to touch upon the creative part, using it as a strategic tool to gain competitive advantage."
Bhattacharya informs, the media duties for Linc Pens, which was being handled by Starcom (till September 2002), would be handled by Mileage "initially".
Incidentally, the Rs 58-crore Linc Pen & Plastics first hired an agency in 1996. Between 1996-98, FCB-Ulka was the custodian of the company's advertising account. In the two-year period between 1998 and 2000, the account was handled by some local agencies and Prachaar of Mumbai. Leo Burnett served the account between 2000 and 2002.
"The task for Mileage," informs Bhattacharya, "is to weigh the options in hand in such a manner that the resources of Linc Pen & Plastics are optimally utilised for both above-the-line as well as below-the-line. Our aim is to develop a strong brand association through our tag line of 'Encouraging Literacy'."
The task for Linc, however, is not going to be very easy as the pen industry is increasingly turning to big agencies for brand building. The Indian pen market is valued at Rs 1,500 crore (2001-2002) and ball pens constitute more than 50 per cent of all pen sales in this country. As a senior professional associated with the industry told agencyfaqs! recently. "In India, pens are young in the category lifecycle, and it is a hugely commoditised market. The youth form the bulk of the consumers, and brand loyalty is very low. This affects everything from product design to communication."
Agrees Bhattacharya. "The biggest problem that players face in the market is low brand loyalty. Although there are a number of national players that seem to be on par with each other, Mumbai-based Cello is the clear market leader. Our aim is to top-of-mind for consumer, so that we are among the preferred brands when he/she makes a purchase decision," he adds. © 2002 agencyfaqs!