Rachit Vats

Mudra move creates conflicting opinions in industry

Mudra Advertising has added media to its basket in Mumbai. Advertisers express their doubts about whether the move will become a trend, but also say it could work well for small clients with special needs and limited budgets

Advertising agency. Creative agency. Media agency. And now once again, advertising agency, where both creative and media are combined within one outfit. Over the years, with the explosion of media and advertising options, more and more agencies became specialised creative, media, digital or outdoor agencies. More and more clients sought more and better services and agencies responded by providing them various separate specialised units.

Now, Mudra Advertising seems to have hit reverse gear by introducing both creative and media from its Mumbai branch. The need, explains Mudra's senior executives, arose when a few clients demanded a one step solution and both services under one roof. Optimum Media Solution (OMS), Mudra's media division, will continue to operate as a separate entity, providing media expertise. OMS will set up an eight member media team for Mudra Mumbai. Mudra is expected to take this offering to its other branches as well quite soon.

Mudra move creates conflicting opinions in industry
Sandip Tarkas
Mudra move creates conflicting opinions in industry
Hemant Sachdev
Mudra move creates conflicting opinions in industry
Anisha Motwani
Mudra move creates conflicting opinions in industry
Sunil Dutt
According to Mudra officials, the time is now right to combine media strategists and creative people and bring back effective brand planning. More agencies might follow suit. Again, according to the agency officials, a growing percentage of clients are seeking an amalgamation of creative and media under one roof.

However, not everyone nods in agreement. Sandip Tarkas, president, customer strategy, Future Group, says, "Over time, clients have progressed and their needs have changed a lot. With changing structures, clients prefer to work with specialist units. A lot of small clients would prefer the kind of format brought in by Mudra. In a sense, it may be a good thing for them, but I am not sure if this will become a trend replicated by other agencies."

There are clients who may value this renewed approach for brand building. Hemant Sachdev, group director, brand and communication, Bharti Enterprises, says, "Though the whole space is multilayered, we have no problem if the same agency brings in all sorts of specialisation and has the ability to give proper treatment to all functions under one roof. The marketer's focus is to get the best for his brand. We are equally happy to be associated with a single window agency existence."

By integrating creativity and media, Mudra Mumbai has made itself into a full service agency. In fact, through this move, Mudra is trying to push the thought behind its strategy, that in a fragmented media environment, brands will be better served if creative strategy and media thinking come together early in the campaign development process.

Some believe it is in the best interests of all to get a specialist on board when it comes to brand building. Anisha Motwani, senior vice-president, marketing, Max New York Life (MNYL), says, "There will be no major value addition in this case. Most clients still prefer to have a separate independent division for various functions. Media anyway is a technical subject and no compromise can be made in this zone, or for that matter, any other area." MNYL has two creative agencies on board, Equus Red Cell and Euro RSCG. Carat Media handles its media duties.

Sony Ericsson has deployed Saatchi & Saatchi as its creative partner, while Mediaedge:cia is its media partner. Says Sudhin Mathur, country general manager, Sony Ericsson, "The way we work today, it is best to work with multiple specialist units. However, Mudra Mumbai's initiative will be beneficial for many clients with limited or small budgets."

Sunil Dutt, country head for Samsung, offers a completely agnostic view. He says, "If one agency has various arms capable of providing expertise in various areas, it's good to work with them. But it all depends on the degree of their skill sets." Cheil is the creative agency for Samsung, while Starcom handles its media duties.

Mudra move creates conflicting opinions in industry
Madhukar Kamath
The client fraternity was of the opinion that this can exist as an alternative model which will work for clients with special needs and limited budgets. Now it remains to be seen whether other agencies, too, will follow Mudra's example.

agencyfaqs! also spoke to Madhukar Kamath, managing director, Mudra Group, to get his views on the reaction from the client fraternity. He says, "There are many big advertisers in our clientele, who are looking for such dual service. So the fact that clients with limited budget will opt for this dual service doesn't stand. Also we have rolled out this service on our clients' demand."

Mudra already has clients such as LIC, Union Bank, MTDC, and Godrej, who have opted for the dual service.

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