Neha Kalra

Maxima 'maximises' with Saatchi & Saatchi

The agency has won the creative duties for the brand from Equus Red Cell. The ad spends are pegged at Rs 7-8 crore

Maxima Watches, the decade old watch brand, has signed on Saatchi & Saatchi as its creative agency. The business has been aligned keeping in mind the strong ties the brand has shared with Sanjib Dey, currently president, Saatchi & Saatchi, reveals Manjot Purewal, managing partner, Maxima Watches, in an exclusive conversation with afaqs!.

Equus Red Cell was handling the creative duties for Maxima for about two and a half years in two different stints. In the first go, the agency took care of the brand for about a year and a half; in the second and most recent stint, it handled it for a year.

Maxima 'maximises' with Saatchi & Saatchi
The media duties continue to be handled by Alliance Advertising, which has been its media partner for two and a half years. While Purewal is satisfied with Alliance's partnership on the media front, he says that “a certain level of responsibility needs to be placed with the creative agency,” too.

Purewal adds, “The brand has an old relationship with Dey. He is extremely close to the brand as he launched it in 1996 during his stint at Everest. He has handled the brand for about five years, and even when not working on the brand, he has kept up with its progress.”

Dey clearly remembers working on the brand since its inception. “There is an emotional connect with the brand as I have seen the brand grow bit by bit during my stay with Everest. By the time I moved out of Everest, around 2000, the company had already sold 1.5 million watches.”

Maxima 'maximises' with Saatchi & Saatchi
Dey adds that he wishes to take the brand to the next level that it deserves, referring to Steele, the new range of watches Maxima is set to launch.

Purewal is, however, absolutely pleased with the incumbent, Equus Red Cell. Maxima has no complaints, whatsoever, with regard to the latter's delivery. “It is a creatively sound agency and we are quite happy with the work they have done for the brand,” he says, adding, “It's just that the brand is expanding and with our growing needs, we saw the need to shift the brand to a slightly larger agency.”

Maxima was launched in 1996, with Everest handling the launch communication. Apart from Equus and Everest, agencies such as Avenues Advertising, Mudra and Zenith Media have also worked on the brand.

While Everest and Equus have handled the business in two stints each, Mudra has handled the brand for a little less than a year.

Steele, the new range of watches by Maxima, will be launched by early next month. The brand is targeted at the youth and the stylish. Purewal confirms that television and digital are the media that will be looked at seriously for Steele. The communication for the new range will be out in the next 45 days.

Purewal reveals that the meltdown has not taken a hit on sales of Maxima in any way and there are no cuts in ad and marketing budgets either. However, liquidity has become a considerable problem. He adds that the company continues to be “carefully aggressive and optimistic”.

Talking about the brand's advertising plans, Purewal says that for this year, Maxima has planned an ad budget of Rs 7-8 crore (an increase of about 30-40 per cent over the last year), which will include the brand communication for Maxima as well as the new range, Steele.

Purewall further adds that Maxima, which launches a minimum of two television commercials in a year, will probably stick to this policy. The brand is predominantly present through television and press. “While we have dabbled a lot with press, the brand gets minimum salience through television advertising,” says Purewal.

Maxima competes against the Sonata brand of watches from Titan Industries. In terms of volume, Purewal confidently mentions that Maxima stands at No.2. With the launch of Steele, he hopes that it will be better placed by the end of the year.

For the record, the Rs 3,000 crore watch market, which includes Swiss brands as well, has a large unbranded component. The unbranded players commonly infringe on the trademarks of big players such as Titan, Maxima, Timex and Swatch. A Watch Federation, which looks into the interest of market players and has the involvement of senior people from brands such as Titan, Timex, Maxima, Chanel and Swatch, meets once in every two months to discuss issues of concern. Currently, the trademark infringement issue is of deep concern to the federation.

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