N. Shatrujeet

Ambience picks up Sweekar, White Mischief, Nu Life

The three brands are expected to give the agency an incremental billing of roughly Rs 12-15 crore in the current financial year

Over the past one month, Publicis Ambience has picked up the advertising accounts of three brands, all of which have given the agency an incremental billing of roughly Rs 12-15 crore in the current financial year (2003-04). The accounts that the agency has won are cooking oil brand Sweekar, vodka brand White Mischief and nicotine-substitute ‘chewet', Nu Life. Nakul Chopra, president, Publicis Ambience, confirmed the news of the wins to agencyfaqs!.

According to information available with agencyfaqs!, the Sweekar account has come to Ambience following a pitch among Marico Industries' club agencies. The account moves from chlorophyll. Having added Sweekar to its portfolio, Ambience now handles four Marico accounts - the other three being flagship coconut oil brand Parachute, hair oil brand Hair & Care and Sil (jams and sauces). For the record, Grey Worldwide continues to handle the Saffola brand (both cooking oil and packaged salt).

Interestingly, the White Mischief win is the result of a four-way pitch for two other Shaw Wallace brands (Royal Challenge and Director's Special) that Ambience participated in. It may be recalled that Ambience, St Luke's, Lowe (the incumbent agency) and a hitherto unidentified outfit had pitched for the Royal Challenge and Director's Special accounts earlier this year. While Lowe has successfully retained both accounts, it appears that Ambience's efforts didn't go unnoticed. "White Mischief's alignment is a direct result of that pitch," Chopra agrees, adding, "The brand is in the process of moving to us."

Vis-à-vis Nu Life, it is not clear whether there was a pitch for the business. But what is known with a fair amount of certainty is that the account moves from Multimedia Aquarius, which introduced the brand in the country late last year. Nu Life, a brand of ‘chewets' promoted by Ceejay Healthcare, is essentially a nicotine substitute targeted at individuals hooked on cigarettes and gutkha. "Nu Life operates in the area of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and is an effective replacement for cigarettes and gutkha," Chopra informs. "Health-wise, it is 100 per cent safe and non-addictive, so it is a great way to kick the habit of smoking or gutkha-chewing. Similar products are very popular all around the world."

Incidentally, similar products (including nicotine patches) have also been available in India for some time now, but have mostly plied the pharma/chemist route. "This is perhaps the first time in this country that such a product is using the OTC approach for retail," Chopra observes. He adds that Nu Life is currently available only in Maharashtra, as the brand is in test stage. "It is not a test launch as we know it," he cautions, "for it is not to see if the product will fail or succeed. It is more a process of learning how to handle the national rollout in the best possible manner. Plus things such as distribution etc still need to be fully addressed." He does not give any indication of when one could expect a nationwide launch.

Chopra is quite pleased with the way the first three months of 2003 have gone, as far as new business is concerned. "I am not too much in favour of looking at every new account won in pure billing terms," he says. "But if you insist - and for want of another measure - these three wins combined should contribute some Rs 12-15 crore of billing this year. And that is a conservative estimate." © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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