Ashwini Gangal

Kokuyo Camlin initiates creative pitch

The process is underway in Mumbai. The company is looking for a strategy-strong agency.

Stationery manufacturer Kokuyo Camlin, formerly known as Camlin, is currently scouting for a creative agency. The pitch process began very recently and is underway in Mumbai, where the company is based.

Kokuyo Camlin initiates creative pitch
Kokuyo Camlin initiates creative pitch
Kokuyo Camlin initiates creative pitch
Shriram Dandekar, executive director of the company, tells afaqs! that participating agencies will be evaluated on their understanding of the whole product range and competitive scenario. "The mandate will include brand planning, brand strategy, brand positioning as well as promotion of the brand across both BTL (below the line) and ATL (above the line) media platforms," he says.

He also specifies that the mandate will not include product packaging and design, duties for which the company has already roped in an agency offering these specialised services.

Dandekar expects the pitch process to yield a result no sooner than a few months from now.

Currently, Lowe Lintas & Partners handles this account. The agency has created some memorable ads for the brand in the past, such as the award-winning 'Rudali' film in which a woman's dying husband suddenly revives as the 'bindi' on her forehead - a symbol of her married status - can't be wiped off because it is made using Camlin's permanent marker. Interestingly, a few years back, this commercial was selected to be broadcast in Japan by NTV, a leading television network in the country.

Established by the Dandekar family, Camlin is a home grown, heritage brand that came into existence in 1931 -- over 80 years ago. Camel Ink was one of its first products. It was in 1946 that 'Dandekar & Co' was re-named 'Camlin', a combination of the words 'camel' and 'ink'. That was when the camel, a tough and hardworking desert animal, was selected as the brand symbol, one that went on to become very popular in the years that followed. In fact, the camel continues to appear on the company's new logo as well.

A couple of years ago, Japan's Kokuyo S&T, a 100-year old marketer of stationery and institutional furniture, acquired majority stake in Camlin. This was when the company was re-named 'Kokuyo Camlin Limited'. Popular product brands Camel and Camlin were retained post the acquisition.

Overall, brand Camlin has very high top-of-mind recall in India, especially in those sub-segments of the stationery category in which it enjoys a lion's share of the market (for instance art stationery and geometry boxes). More recently, however, the competitive scenario in the market has changed with the entry of relatively newer players such as ITC, which forayed into the stationery category in 2002 and currently markets its products under the brands Classmate, Paperkraft, and Colour Crew.

Other brands that offer stationery products include Cello, Reynolds, Montex, Lexi, Rotomac, Luxor and Linc (pens); Nataraj and Apsara from the house of Hindustan Pencils (pencils); Cello, Faber-Castell (mechanical pencils); and Bilt, Navneet and Sundaram (notebooks), among others. As far as art stationery brands are concerned, some popular names include Staedtler (which also markets other stationery items such as pens, pencils and technical drawing instruments) and Faber-Castell (which also markets general writing and craft products), among others.

In fact, the stationery category has evolved from unorganised to organised over the past few years. It appears as though the recently formed entity, Kokuyo Camlin, has decided to tackle the changing market situation and growing competition by investing in its brand image and media presence.

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