Following a four-agency shootout, Contract Advertising's Mumbai office has picked up the advertising account of the South African Tourism Board over the weekend. Rajiv Sabnis, senior vice-president, Contract Advertising, confirmed the news of the win to agencyfaqs!. "We made our presentation on Friday (November 21), and were awarded the account the next morning," he says proudly, adding, "We have been assigned the task of looking after all the advertising and promotion for India, as a market."
While particulars pertaining to the contending agencies are not available, Sabnis reveals that the pitch was extremely comprehensive, and involved "understanding of tourism and the Indian market, the proposed communication strategy, and an integrated approach to communicating this to prospects". He informs that the agency did not present creative work but provided a creative direction. "We presented an integrated face of Contract to the client. This included advertising, DM, media and PR. The client is looking to access all the services through Contract, and would be looking at the DM, media and PR partners basis our recommendations."
The agency is enormously pleased with the speed with which the client took a decision on the business. "The feedback from the client tells us that we were able to capture the 'soul' of the brand the best," Sabnis explains the short turnaround time. "They also felt that after removing all the bells-and-whistles from the other presentations, we had the most solid content and integrated plan-of-action. The team that presented was also the team that was committed to work on the account. That made a big difference."
In terms of an advertising business the account is new in India, as this is the first time that the South African Tourism Board is making a concerted effort to promote South Africa, as a holiday destination, in this country. "The South African Tourism Board has identified India as a key market, and would be focusing on it," Sabnis reveals. "This is their first big foray into India." Which is why he estimates the size of the account to be "largish" - although he insists he really has no clue about ad budgets. "We have been so excited with the opportunity the brand offers us in terms of doing great work that we have not even got to the point of asking them that question," he says.
Specific to the communication task at hand, Sabnis says, "There is very low awareness of what South Africa has to offer. It is surprising how little people know about South Africa other than its wildlife, Sun City and the ICC Cricket World Cup. We need to ramp-up the knowledge about the country's multi-faceted attractions. It is a virtual melting pot of what you would look for in a great vacation. We have to get South Africa on the consideration set of the experienced Indian traveler. It must have a unique position vis-à-vis long-haul destinations like Australia, Europe and USA. We must be able to make it a destination travelers seek, and not just go to. The communication will have to capture the essence of South Africa and sell it like never before."
The agency, it appears, is looking forward to the prospect of taking these challenges head-on. "It's going to be one of the most exciting brands to work on," Sabnis avers. "As the team expressed after the win: There are some things you do for business and some things you do for your soul. This one's clearly in the latter category." Â© 2003 agencyfaqs!