The advertising agency empanelment for the Rs 100-crore Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) account has entered the last round.
The insurance company had called for a final round of presentations on August 31. The agencies who were invited to make presentations that day were Mudra Communications, Rediffusion DY&R, FCB-Ulka and J Walter Thompson. The two stand-by agencies - Lowe and Grey - were not called for the final round though.
Given the fact that the proceedings were over a fortnight ago, the outcome would normally have been public by now. However, from the looks of it, the insurance company still seems to be deliberating on the final list.
When contacted, S Venkateswaran, secretary, PR and corporate communications, LIC, maintains that nothing has been firmed up yet. "We had called the agencies for some clarifications and a decision is yet to be taken," he says, referring to the final presentations.
Media reports last month had indicated that the four agencies had been "selected" by the insurance monolith. But Venkateswaran maintains that the field is still wide open and a decision by the top management is awaited.
To put things in perspective, LIC had advertised in the newspapers around mid-May this year inviting applications from agencies interested in handling the insurer's advertising business. Ninety-nine agencies had responded to the ad, of which thirteen were shortlisted. These included Mudra, JWT, RK Swamy/BBDO, FCB and Rediffusion among others.
The thirteen then went through a round of presentations around the months of July-August, subsequent to which the final shortlist comprising Mudra, JWT, FCB and Rediffusion was drawn.
LIC has been looking to empanel four agencies based on recommendations made by its current and erstwhile consultants Deloitte & Touche and Booz, Allen & Hamilton.
The move towards a rejig of its advertising portfolio was necessitated owing to the cumbersome process of dealing with 45 agencies that the public sector undertaking wanted to do away with. Besides, LIC was looking to augment its image and for this reason, it felt that a fresh perspective on advertising was required.
Nevertheless, the general consensus in advertising circles is that the lot of four who made it to the final round will eventually be empaneled as well. However, since LIC is yet to formally announce its final decision, one can only wait and watch.
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