Everest Integrated Communications has acquired the creative account of LG Care - the FMCG division of Korean consumer electronics giant LG - following a multi-agency pitch that was held in Chennai through November and December 2003. Ram Sehgal, managing director, Everest Integrated Communications, confirmed the news of the win to agencyfaqs! last evening. "We have just won the LG Care account in a closely-contested pitch that also involved Contract Advertising, rmg david and Percept," he says. "We have been formally assigned the business, and in the first year, the account is expected to give us a billing of Rs 20 crore."
LG Care, for the uninitiated, is an LG company that specializes in FMCG products, quite a few of which are in the process of being formally launched in the country by the Chennai-based India Household and Healthcare Ltd. A broad spectrum of LG Care products have been lined up for launch in India, and these include toothpastes, detergent powders, shampoos, soaps, cleaners, kid diapers and hairstyling products. Of these, toothpastes, detergent powders, shampoos and soaps are the immediate focus at LG Care vis-à-vis the Indian market. A nationwide rollout of LG Care is expected within the next three months.
Interestingly, LG entered the FMCG business over five decades ago - back in 1947, to be exact - well before its foray into consumer electronics. Today, LG Care has a presence in 120 countries (Sehgal adds that in most of these countries, LG's FMCG business actually preceded its electronics business, India being one of the rare exceptions), is the leader in the North East Asian markets of Korea, Japan and China, and retails over 200 products in 16 categories. The company spends the equivalent of Rs 9,000 crore on R&D, annually, and has six manufacturing plants in Korea.
"The focus at LG Care has always been on quality and innovation," says Sehgal. "For instance, in toothpastes alone, LG Care has a whole range catering to different requirements. There is one toothpaste for whitening, one for tartar control, one exclusively for children… such is the extent of segmentation at LG Care. In soaps too, the accent is as much on skincare as on cleaning. Plus the state-of-the-art packaging at LG Care matches, if not betters, whatever is currently available in India." Incidentally, all the products that LG Care will be retailing in India are being imported from its Korean plants, and the company does not intend setting up a manufacturing and packaging base in the country. However, the FMCG company has offered to retail its products to Indian consumers at prices that are competitive with rival brands being manufactured and sold locally. "The agency is happy to be associated with a client who is so conscious of quality and consumer satisfaction," says Sehgal.
That the agency is happy is stating the obvious. "LG Care is the first big hit for Everest in 2004," beams Sehgal. He adds that this is just the beginning, as the agency is expecting the results of quite a few competitive pitches that are in various stages of realization. "We aim to wrap up all the new business acquisitions we have set our sights on by the end of the first quarter, so that we have the next three quarters to roll out the work and meet our growth targets," he says. And should things turn out as anticipated, it would mean a "40 to 45 per cent growth in revenue" for Everest.
Sehgal attributes "a clear-cut strategy backed by a 360-degree communication recommendation" as the reason for the agency netting the LG Care account. "We have access to the Y&R tool BAV (Brand Asset Valuator), and we used it to give LG Care the exact strategy they need to successfully enter the country. We did not go to them with alternative positioning strategies for the simple reason that we had a strong and effective strategy that we believed in. It was the single-minded positioning and the single-minded recommendations that worked for us. The client also liked the passion we displayed. And I must say the news of the win has fired up our creative department. Financial aspects aside, you need businesses that send an agency's excitement levels up. Also, LG Care gives us the opportunity to expand our knowledge of the FMCG category."
Servicing a Rs 20-crore account out of Chennai means the agency needs to set up an office in the city. Fast. Everest hasn't lost time on that front. "We have already appointed Vinod Natesan (vice-president) as our Chennai branch head, and we have the account management and creative team in place," reveals Sehgal. He, however, clarifies that planning and creative will be overseen by the Mumbai office, "to see that our recommendations stay on course". For the record, the Chennai office will also service the Caltex account, which Sehgal says would see some action post-April 2004. "Yes, we would want to expand in Chennai," he admits, when quizzed about the potential the city offers his fledgling branch. "But the current businesses (LG Care and Caltex) should keep the office busy for now." Â© 2004 agencyfaqs!