JWT, Mumbai, wins SBI Mutual, Lake City Corporation accounts

By , agencyfaqs! | In | April 19, 2004
Following separate multi-agency pitches, JWT India has claimed the creative duties of mutual fund company SBI Mutual, and that of Lake City Corporation

JWT India's Mumbai office, it appears, has developed a penchant for adding advertising accounts in pairs. Just over a month ago, the agency picked up the Godrej air-conditioners and Philips mobile phones businesses on a trot. Now, the agency has done another double by claiming the creative duties of mutual fund company SBI Mutual, and that of the newly floated Lake City Corporation. Both developments have been confirmed by JWT, as well as the respective clients.

The SBI Mutual Funds account went up for review last month, and Sandeep Bhasin, chief manager, corporate communications, SBI Mutual, reveals that the company invited a handful of leading agencies to pitch for the business. "We had been looking at changing our communication approach for a while, and the objective of the pitch was to find fresh ideas and identify an agency that could carry the brand communication forward," he says, listing the reasons for putting the account on the block. "Rediffusion | DYR, SSC&B, McCann (Erickson India), JWT and Bates India were the agencies that made presentations." Bates, incidentally, was defending the account by virtue of being the incumbent for roughly a year (the account moved to Bates from Euro RSCG India last April).

Explaining why the decision went in JWT's favour, Bhasin says, "We used three parameters to assess the agencies that pitched. The first was the strength of the creative idea - which was given the highest weightage. The other two parameters were media and PR. And JWT came across as being very strong on both creative and PR. So JWT is doing the creative strategy, while IPAN, which came with JWT, will be our PR agency." For the record, vis-à-vis media, the company has retained the services of incumbent Zenith Media. "We didn't want a separate media agency," says Bhasin. "In fact, we want a single-window agency arrangement, and as Zenith is part of GroupM, it suits us fine. Also, Zenith has been doing a good job on the brand."

Commenting on the size of the business, Bhasin reveals that while the company spent Rs 8 crore on advertising last year, the ad budget for this year will "depend on how the market behaves". He does, however, add that the minimum spend would be to the tune of Rs 5-6 crore. "Our base is retail investors, and we will be looking at creating new value for our consumers, both in terms of our products as well as through our communication," Bhasin says. He adds that the agency has already been briefed on the immediate communication requirement, and that the first round of advertising should break in the next fortnight.

As in the case of SBI Mutual, the Lake City Corporation account has also come to JWT in the wake of a multi-agency pitch. "We invited five agencies to pitch for the business," says Anuradha Paraskar, controller - marketing & sales, Lake City Corporation Ltd. "We gave all five a broad idea of the project that we're coming up with, and asked them for their recommendations. Of the recommendations we were presented with, JWT's was the best, so we awarded them the account." The agencies that are believed to have pitched for the account include O&M India, Lowe and Ambience Publicis.

Lake City Corporation is a new company, floated jointly by Hindustan Construction Company, Ballarpur Industries, Venkatesh Hatcheries, and individual investors Aniruddha Deshpande and Vitthal Maniar. The project that Paraskar refers to is a first-of-its-kind city that Lake City Corporation plans to develop ground-up in Mose Valley in the Western Ghats. "The project covers an area of almost 8,500 acres, and is located roughly 50 kilometers from Pune," Paraskar explains. "The idea is to create an entire city, complete with industries, tourism, housing, recreation… Accenture has done the basic feasibility, while Feedback Strategic, Delhi, is helping with the project structuring. The town planning has been done by Hok (Planning Group) of the US, while the branding for the project is being done out of the Hong Kong and Singapore offices of WPP-company, Landor. JWT India will be involved in project communication and launch strategy, Thompson Connect will advice on direct, while IPAN will handle PR." Paraskar adds that the project - tentatively named Lake Town - will be launched "shortly".

It goes without saying that JWT is extremely pleased with the two wins. "Winning business in pairs does feel good and we'd like to make it a habit," smiles Tarun Rai, senior vice-president & general manager, JWT India. "The good part is both were well-contested, multi-agency pitches, so the sense of achievement is high." Commenting on SBI Mutual, Rai says, "The entire financial services category is seeing a lot of action, more so in the mutual funds sector. We are really looking forward to partnering SBI Mutual in an exciting environment."

Specific to Lake City, Rai reveals that the agency is working on the account on a fee, "because of the nature of the product". He adds that the agency is eagerly waiting for work to commence. "For us, this is a long-term project, as it would involve creating different types of communication for different audiences at different stages and points in time. It's a very interesting project, and the people at the agency are charged about working on this one. And, of course, we loved beating the really big guys in the industry at the pitch." © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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