Action and entertainment channel AXN has appointed Equus Red Cell to handle all its communication requirements, following a long-drawn, five-agency pitch. Confirming the news to agencyfaqs!, Rohit Bhandari, associate vice-president, marketing & sales, AXN, said, "We wanted to look at our communication from a different perspective, so we invited five agencies to pitch for the account." Apart from Equus, the agencies that pitched for the business were Enterprise Nexus, Contract Advertising, Touche (which used to handle the business some time back) and Euro RSCG India (which currently also handles the accounts of Sony Entertainment Television and SET MAX). Incidentally, the AXN account was previously with Euro RSCG's Indian sibling, Lemon.
Speaking about the agency selection process, Bhandari says, "Our brief to the agencies was simple and similar. We wanted the agencies to come out with their interpretations of the AXN brand, and of the ideas that were presented, Equus recommendations were closest to what we had in mind. Which is why we awarded them the business." Commenting on the pitch, Swapan Seth, co-CEO & chief creative officer, Equus Red Cell, says, "It was a furious pitch that combined strategy and creative presentations. There were others in the fray, which made it exciting."
Attributing "several reasons" for winning the account, Seth says, "There is a common DNA between the brand AXN and brand Equus Red Cell. Both are a part of large stables, both are attitude-driven and both are eager to grow. That aside, the work we presented was top rate and outflanked the others. We did dramatic turnaround timelines as well." While he chooses not to share information on the communication strategy, he insists "there's more to AXN than meets the eye. It is among the fastest growing channels, and with the content configuration being what it is, expect ample action from it." For his part, Bhandari reveals that the thrust of AXN's communication is to "push specific programmes and prime properties of the channel, so that we rationalize media budgets". He adds that this will continue to be the strategy this year.
AXN isn't the only thing that has Equus' Mumbai office on a high. The agency has also been entrusted with the communication for an upcoming real estate project of the Raheja group. "The new commercial project will arguably be one of the biggest and most significant real estate projects in Mumbai," says Seth, without revealing details about the property. "The task is to invent desire and build preference around the project. We are just seized by this brand." He adds that Equus is working on both the accounts on a fee. © 2003 agencyfaqs!