ZEE News calls for a pitch

By , agencyfaqs! | In | May 07, 2003
The agencies in the fray include Mudra, Contract, Bates, Quantum Communications and The Hive

After NDTV, STAR and Sahara, it is time for ZEE News to be in the news. Not for any other reason, but for launching an agency hunt.

Information available with agencyfaqs! indicates, ZEE News has invited as many as eight agencies to pitch for its advertising duties. However, the names of only five - Mudra Communications, Contract Advertising, Bates India, Quantum Communications and The Hive - could be ascertained. While Dilip Venkatraman, head, brand management, ZEE News, could not be contacted (he is on vacation), reliable sources have confirmed this development.

It appears the agencies in the running have been briefed and two dates have been assigned for the presentation. While the first round of presentations is scheduled for May 10, the second is likely to happen on May 12 (company sources indicate this schedule "is subject to change").

While details of the brief were unavailable, the expectation from the agency is to drive home the point that ZEE is "the first private news channel to hit the airwaves" and "to reinforce the number one slot that ZEE News occupies". Incidentally, in a recent interview with agencyfaqs!, Laxmi N Goel, director, News Group, ZEE Network, had said, "The biggest strength of ZEE News is the fact that it is a pioneer. We were the ones who started telecasting news in the country. Besides, ZEE News has tremendous reach not only in the Hindi-speaking markets but also in the non-Hindi speaking areas…"

Perhaps it is time ZEE News did something to spruce up its image. Especially at a time when the new entrants are going whole hog to create buzz around their respective channel brands. In fact, barring ZEE News, all the others have been very active in the media in the recent past. While some have gone and hired international branding consultants (NDTV has roped in New York-based Lee Hunt Associates) to give their brand a face-lift, others have roped in beauticians and hair stylists to give their journalists valuable advice on their wardrobe and personal grooming (hair stylist Javed Habib and Delhi's leading beauty consultant Vidya Tekari have reportedly briefed journalists at Rupert Murdoch-owned STAR News).

At ZEE News, however, all communication and promotional activities so far have been devised in house and they have been, to put it mildly, very matter-of-fact. In fact, the channel's positioning plank of being 'Sabse Pehle' is also the result of an in-house effort. Though in the past ZEE News had hired the services of McCann-Erickson but the agency never really got about doing much work for the brand.

Given this history, ZEE News' decision to call for a multi-agency pitch can be a pointer to the fact that things are set to change. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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