The advertising accounts of Levi's and Dockers from the Levi Strauss (India) stable are up for review. The incumbent is McCann-Erickson, Bangalore, which has been handling these two brands for close to seven years now. The business is estimated at Rs 5 crore.
The names being bandied about by well-placed agency sources seem to suggest that practically all the top agencies in the city have thrown in their hats in the ring. In the fray are JWT, O&M, Rediffusion, Enterprise Nexus, SSC&B, Contract as well as incumbent McCann-Erickson.
When contacted by agencyfaqs!, Dileep Ashoka, vice-president & general manager, McCann-Erickson, Bangalore, confirmed that Levi Strauss has indeed called for a pitch. But he added, "This does not mean there is some problem between us and the company. In fact, we share a very good relationship with them." However, as a market observer pointed out, "It helps a company to have fresh thinking on any brand, as many old relationships tend to go into an auto-pilot mode; so change is always welcome."
That apart, neither the company nor the agencies were willing to go on record on what was the need for change and what exactly is the client brief to the various agencies. In fact, a senior executive in one of the agencies in the fray remarked, "McCann has done a pretty decent job with both the brands."
For the record, McCann's work for the brand has brought plenty of accolades for both the client and the agency. Last year, the Levi's communication won McCann a finalist status at the New York Festival 2002 and at the Cresta Awards, besides a whole host of local awards won by the brand back home. The agency's work on the new Sykes range launched under the Levi's label is regarded by many as one of the more successful projects handled by McCann in recent times.
So the question comes back to, what is the reason for the pitch? The common refrain is that these are tough times for all apparel brands and the festive season in 2002 didn't really prove as bountiful as it had been in the past. In short, every player in the market is feeling the heat. Levi's and Dockers, like the Louis Philippe brand which is also up for grabs as reported by agencyfaqs! (Louis Philippe account is up for grabs, December 26, 2002), are seen as 'more intellectual' (as put by one observer) in their media approach than what their target audience would like them to be.
The need of the hour, therefore, is to be seen as more vibrant to be able to reach a wider audience that is being wooed away just as aggressively by the domestic brands. © 2003 agencyfaqs!