In the wake of a two-level, four-agency shootout held over the months for February and March, Lowe has retained its hold over the creative duties of two prime liquor brands from the Shaw Wallace stable. The brands in question are Director's Special and Royal Challenge. According to sources close to agencyfaqs!, the combined size of the two businesses should add up to Rs 12-14 crore, in annualized billing. In a related move, Shaw Wallace & Co has shifted the advertising business of its vodka brand, White Mischief, from Lowe to Publicis Ambience.
Followers of this website would recall that in late February, we had reported the news on the four-way pitch (which had then been underway) for the two brands. The agencies that had rolled up their sleeves for the pitch were incumbent Lowe, and challengers Publicis Ambience, St Luke's and a third agency (whose identity is still unknown). Back then, agencyfaqs! had gathered that the brief to the four agencies was to lay out ways to reposition Royal Challenge and Director's Special.
"Yes, the need of the hour was to take a fresh look at the two brands," says Balki (R Balakrishnan), executive creative director, Lowe, speaking to agencyfaqs!. "While Royal Challenge focused on golf the whole of last year, Director's Special was not even advertised. In fact, not much of brand advertising has happened on either brand lately. So, while I won't call it a pitch, it certainly was an exercise aimed at trying to look at fresh branding ideas for both brands. Like everyone else, we too gave it some fresh thought. Considering we retained the business, it seems our thoughts were the freshest."
When quizzed about what those fresh thoughts are and how they would translate into positioning for the two brands, Balki chose not to answer. "I cannot divulge anything right now because our recommendations have been put through research," he says. "The course of action on the two brands will be determined by what comes through from the research." He does not even confirm whether Royal Challenge will continue to ride on the back of golf in the days to come. "You will know what we have planned for the brands fairly soon," is all he offers. © 2003 agencyfaqs!