White goods major Whirlpool of India has invited four agencies to pitch for the advertising accounts of its air-conditioners and microwave ovens. While executives at Whirlpool declined from commenting on the pitch when contacted, agency sources connected with the development have confirmed that the pitch is indeed on, and that it has been scheduled for later next week. The agencies that would be making presentations for the estimated Rs 10-crore account (the combined size of the two businesses) are Ambience-Publicis, Leo Burnett India, St Luke's India and FCB-Ulka. Ulka, for the record, currently handles Whirlpool's air-conditioner account. The agency is also in charge of the brand's washing machine and refrigerator accounts.
From what agencyfaqs! has gathered, the focus of the pitch would be limited to air-conditioners and microwaves. Which means that the refrigerator and washing machine accounts that are with Ulka are not under immediate threat. Not surprising, considering the agency's work on both accounts (best recalled for the 'ice, ice baby' and 'mummy ka magic chalega kya' campaigns) has been appreciated, winning the client precious market share, and fetching the agency a bronze Effie last year. Yet, one agency executive observed that both refrigerators and washing machines could be subjected to a relook, depending on which way this pitch goes. Another executive, however, feels that Whirlpool would eventually opt for a two-agency format. The latest pitch seems to bear out this line of thinking.
Of the agencies in the fray, Ulka, by virtue of being a sound, long-standing incumbent, naturally finds a place at the presentation table. Ambience's presence is explained, in part, by the 'Publicis' appendage to its name (Publicis Worldwide happens to be Whirlpool's globally aligned agency). Also, Whirlpool's new vice-president (marketing), Arvind Mediratta and Ambience go back some way - to the time Mediratta was head of marketing at Marico Industries. Mediratta was one of Burnett's clients as well (again at Marico), and that could be one of the reasons why Burnett has been invited. Which leaves St Luke's as the rank outsider. Well, not really, considering St Luke's Praveen Kenneth was once the CEO of Publicis India…
This promises to be an absorbing pitch… Â© 2003 agencyfaqs!