NDTV English goes to St Luke's

By , agencyfaqs! | In | January 20, 2003
This is the first big win for the agency, which was set up in August 2002

In what could be its first big win since the time it was set up, Mumbai-based St Luke's has grabbed the creative duties of the Prannoy Roy-promoted, soon-to-be launched English news channel from NDTV.

The pitch for the creative business happened late last year, as was reported by agencyfaqs! in the story NDTV calls for pitch; eight agencies in the fray (November 14, 2002). Agencies in the running for the much-coveted business included Contract Advertising, Leo Burnett, Grey Worldwide India, Euro RSCG and, of course, St Luke's.

As was the case with the Hindi channel, neither the agency nor the media house was willing to comment on the size of the business or the details of the launch plan. What is known however is that there will be a separate pitch for the media business of NDTV's English channel, which is slated to be launched "sometime in April" this year.

agencyfaqs! diehards would recall our story earlier this month which reported that NDTV has awarded the creative duties of the Hindi news channel to McCann-Erickson, Mumbai. NDTV Hindi is also slated for an April launch and the combined size of the two accounts is estimated at Rs 4-6 crore.

While the size of the account may not be huge, the thought of having bested four heavyweights is what makes the win doubly sweet for the St Luke's. "This is the first multi-agency pitch that we went for," smiles Anil Nair, co-owner & senior vice-president, St Luke's. "It's not as if NDTV is not our first client… we have been working on some developmental brands and have a few 'confidential clients'. But this feels absolutely great. It is an honour to be associated with names like Prannoy Roy and NDTV, and I must say it's a tremendous boost for the team here. It's an emotional high."

Speaking about the pitch, Nair reveals that the brief was very specific. "The brief was for the English news channel, and NDTV had very clear parameters for assessing agencies," he says. "But I think we went beyond all that by actually putting ourselves in the shoes of NDTV and thinking like a news channel. And from what we gather, it was our passion that worked in our favour. We came across as very committed, and I think the client was impressed by the passion we exhibited for our craft."

Nair draws parallels between St Luke's situation and NDTV's. "Here are two new entities that are striving to make a difference in their respective industries - they in television broadcasting, we in advertising," he says. "It's a coming together of two passions." He is, however, unwilling to talk about the agency's communication plans for the channel. "I can't say anything because the news channel scenario in India is very fluid. However, let me assure you that we have a couple of scenarios ready, and are prepared for whatever shape the competition takes."

For St Luke's, acquiring the NDTV account is a much-needed shot-in-the-arm. And Nair admits that the win will stand the agency in good stead in the days to come. "It will give us confidence while going into the big pitches ahead of us," he says, referring to the upcoming Asian Paints and Onida pitches. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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