Starcom India has been assigned the media duties of HDFC Bank. The business was bagged in a four-way pitch involving incumbent Media Planning Group, Zenith, Carat and Starcom. The decision to go with Starcom, according to Ajay Kelkar, vice-president and head of marketing, HDFC Bank, was based on the agency's "sound strategic thinking and media buying and planning skills". "The retail market for financial services is growing rapidly and we are looking at getting aggressive on that front," explains Kelkar. "The first step in this direction was to evaluate and identify a media agency that could partner with us. Hence the decision to go with Starcom," he adds.
Incidentally, the creative business of HDFC Bank is handled by EuroRSCG, and the activity so far has been restricted to below-the-line work, which is set to go mainstream or above-the-line this year. Communication spends, which were in the region of Rs 1 crore, are likely to see a jump to Rs 10-12 crore, and the bank, according to Kelkar, will unleash a massive branding campaign in the coming months.
To put things in perspective, over the past few years, the retail banking or financial services sector has seen some heavy-duty brand-building activity by ICICI, with other players, such as HDFC slowly waking up to the need to "connect with the consumer". Category spends are pegged at Rs 80-100 crore with ICICI using both print and TV to ensure top-of-mind recall. HDFC's communication has been more product-specific in nature, demanding more frequent use of print rather than TV.
The HDFC corporate campaign, which is likely to break in the coming months, will see a significantly higher use of television, and, according to Kelkar, the bank is hopeful of adding around 1.5 million customers to its existing base of 4.5 million in the next financial year.
"Our marketing effort will encompass a number of activities," says Kelkar. "And hopefully the result of this outburst would be visible in a few months from now." © 2004 agencyfaqs!