Equus Red Cell's Mumbai office has won one part of the advertising account of automotive battery manufacturer, Exide. The agency has been awarded the motorcycle battery business, which was previously with Rediffusion-DY&R. Rediff, however, continues to handle Exide's car battery business, as well as Exide Freedom, one of Exide's flagship battery brands. Speaking to agencyfaqs! about the win, Swapan Seth, co-CEO & chief creative officer, Equus Red Cell, said, "We were appointed on the motorcycle business on Friday, and I must say I am happy, as this business is a large part of the Exide portfolio." He declined, however, to comment on the estimated value of the business.
From what agencyfaqs! has gathered, there was no pitch leading up to the move. None that Equus was involved in, at least. "We did not pitch for the account," Seth confirms, adding, "Our past association with Exide has been stellar, and what we have done in the past is really our credentials." For the record, Seth had worked with Exide during his tenure at Trikaya Grey. To a question on the extent to which this association played a role in the win, Seth replies, "I have been associated with Exide for a decade. Obviously, there are great comfort levels, deep respect. They are arguably one of the finest groups to work for."
Interestingly, this is the second time in three years that Equus would be working on an automotive battery brand. Old loyalists of agencyfaqs! might recall that in mid-2000, the agency had won the Standard Furukawa brand of batteries. However, a while later, the business moved to JWT (then HTA). Commenting upon the tryst with Standard, Seth says, "We lost the Standard Furukawa business squarely because the Standard business moved to Kolkata, and we had just shut shop there. We did lovely work on it, and the brand soared. It was plain unfortunate. But I am a firm believer in the fact that you can't keep a good idea down. Exide and Equus working together is a good idea." His eyes twinkle. Seth attributes "category experience" (through both Exide and Standard) and "an understanding of the brand ethos" as reasons why Exide moved this particular business to Equus.
Speaking about the communication challenges facing the agency vis-à-vis Exide, Seth says, "I think we need to fortify our leadership position as well as mount an assault on the unbranded (battery) frontier." The second appears to be the tougher task, considering the abysmal levels of consumer involvement the category enjoys. That, coupled with price sensitivity, has given the unbranded battery market enough room to flourish - so much so that roughly 60 per cent of the overall battery market in India is in the hands of the unorganized sector. How Equus goes about achieving the set objectives remains to be seen. As of now, Seth refuses to reveal anything about the agency's plans on Exide. Â© 2003 agencyfaqs!