Shamni Pande

O&M grabs Rs 30-crore Brooke Bond account

In an effort to communicate the brand values of Brooke Bond “more effectively”, HLL has appointed O&M, Bangalore, as the custodian of its Rs 25-30-crore advertising account

This is probably Hindustan Lever's (HLL) worst kept secret in recent times.

Agency circles in Bangalore are abuzz with the news of HLL's appointment of O&M to handle the Rs 25-30-crore advertising account of Brooke Bond. With this move, the FMCG giant has pulled the curtains on Brooke Bond's decade-long relationship with India's No 1 advertising agency J Walter Thompson.

While official confirmation on this shift was not available (the two agencies concerned referred to HLL; HLL, on its turn, asked for more time to comment on the issue), sources close to agencyfaqs! say O&M's creative honcho Piyush Pandey is "personally attending to the new business". For the record, O&M is in charge of Lipton's home-grown brands Taaza, A1 and Top Star.

agencyfaqs! has also learnt that O&M has already started work on Brooke Bond brands Red Label, Taj Mahal and 3 Roses. And that the company (HLL) will bring Taaza, which until now was a Lipton brand and is handled by O&M, under the Brooke Bond umbrella. An executive close to the development explains the reasons for these moves.

The key problem, it appears, in Red Label, which, despite being the largest and oldest tea brand in the country, faces an identity crisis having "no clear consumer peg". While the brand has seen sporadic bursts of creativity such as ‘Don't Mind - Ek Cup Aur' and ‘Jiyo Mere Lal', stable mate Taaza, we are told, has begun cannibalising its share, with its clear ‘Taazgi/freshness' brand proposition.

"Red Label has simply failed to built any taste or emotive factor into consumer-perception," says a source who has been associated with the brand in the past. "As a result, when a new brand is launched, the consumer is only too willing to latch on to it. Even attempts to peg it as a brand that brings family and friends together has not really worked as it has only added to the ambiguity surrounding the brand."

Besides rearranging its tea brands, it is also learnt through well-placed sources that HLL is considering axing its A1 and Top Star brands.

In fact, all these moves are part of HLL's master branding strategy aimed "to identify the power brands, work out clear market positioning strategies for each, and consolidate them under two master brands, Brooke Bond and Lipton".

Besides the new communication, HLL's master branding strategy also entails a new look (logo and pack design) for Brooke Bond, we are told. To this end, Paris-based designer Shombit Sengupta's Shining Strategic Design and another UK-based marketing consultancy (whose identity could not be ascertained) have swung into action in conjunction with O&M. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

Have news to share? Write to us