By the looks of it, a kettle full of strategies seems to be brewing at Hindustan Lever's (HLL) beverages division.
And though no one is prepared to go on record about anything pertaining to the goings-on, agencyfaqs! has gathered - from well-placed sources - that HLL is keenly looking at streamlining its tea portfolio. Also, murmurs in the agency circle over the last two months suggest that this 'streamlining' could result in a realignment of the advertising accounts of key tea brands.
agencyfaqs! understands that sometime in late February-early March, JWT India, O&M India and Lowe were invited to "share ideas" on Brooke Bond (some reports even suggest that ideas were sought specifically for Brooke Bond Red Label), although none of the concerned agencies admit as much. Soon after, there was talk about Brooke Bond 3 Roses (which enjoys considerable franchise in Kerala and Tamil Nadu) moving to O&M from JWT, although no confirmation was available on this.
Subsequently, there has been talk of HLL planning a 'master-branding strategy' for Brooke Bond, under which all Brooke Bond sub-brands (including Red Label, Taj Mahal, 3 Roses and A1 Kadak Chaap) will be clubbed. As per information available with agencyfaqs!, JWT India and O&M have already made two rounds of presentations on this master-branding strategy. Lowe, it appears, went out of contention at the end of the first round. What is not clear is when and what sort of a decision will come off this.
HLL, for its part, brushes aside the entire matter with an explanation that beverages are being handled under the master-branding strategy, and both O&M and JWT are free to contribute to the brands' growth by offering suggestions that can aid market strategy and positioning. Specific queries about the pitch weren't entertained.
Apart from the Brooke Bond range, the other significant tea brands in HLL's portfolio are Top Star and the Lipton. The brands that fall under the Lipton banner are Lipton Taaza, Yellow Label and Green Label. For the record, JWT handles the plum accounts of Brooke Bond Red Label, Taj Mahal, 3 Roses and Lipton Yellow Label, while O&M is in charge of Lipton's homegrown brand Taaza, A1 and Top Star.
Incidentally, agencyfaqs! has also learnt that of late, HLL has become extremely cautious about the Red Label brand, and according to the buzz, the company has been reconsidering avenues for repositioning the brand. In a significant aside, Red Label, which was previously handled out of JWT's Bangalore office is now being serviced out of JWT, Delhi.
Where all this will eventually lead is something that only time will tell… Â© 2003 agencyfaqs!