What has occupied most top agencies in Chennai over the past few weeks is the creative pitch for the entire Sundaram Finance (a leading non-banking finance company) group. Well informed sources say the agencies in the fray are O&M, TBWA, Euro RSCG and rubecon. JWT, which is strong in the region as well, has had to keep out of this as it handles the Cholamandalam Finance business. The Sundaram account is estimated at Rs 12 crore. On being contacted by agencyfaqs!, AN Raju, senior vice-president, operations, Sundaram Finance, refused to be drawn into a discussion on the subject. "It is our internal policy to not comment on such issues," he said.
However, agencyfaqs! has learnt that while the advertising business of the individual group companies are split among a handful of agencies, Sundaram is looking to consolidate the whole account under one roof. "The attempt is to build the mother brand Sundaram and highlight the businesses and achievements of its constituent units," indicated an executive close to the development. It has also been learnt that the group is working at evolving a new logo that would congeal the group's overall focus.
Such an effort by the company was long overdue. Market analysts say the Sundaram Finance group enjoys a near-cult status in the region with a majority of south-Indian homes swearing by its history built on ethical values. Established in 1954 with the objective of financing the purchase of commercial vehicles and passenger cars, the group went public in 1972. After another two decades of steady growth, the group undertook a series of efforts to expand its business and now has a strong presence in a variety of financial markets.
The company made its first big announcement in 1996 when it formed Sundaram Newton Asset Management Company in collaboration with Newton Management of the UK. In 1998, it promoted Fiat Sundaram Auto Finance, a joint venture with Fidis SpA, Italy. The next year, it promoted Sundaram Home Finance with equity participation from International Finance Corporation, Washington, and FMO Netherlands. In 2000 it promoted Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Company, a joint venture with Royal & Sun Alliance Plc, to enter the field of non-life insurance.
With such remarkable growth record, it is understandable why Sundaram is determined now to develop a group identity with a clearly pan Indian outlook
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