Alokananda Chakraborty

Honda to part ways with Everest

Everest, Delhi, may cede the Honda Siel account to Dhar & Hoon and the Honda Motorcycle & Scooter account to Triton Communications

Times are not exactly right for Everest Integrated Communications. The agency's Delhi branch is on the verge of losing two of its three Dentsu-aligned businesses in India. Information available with agencyfaqs! indicates that the advertising account of Honda Siel is set to move to Delhi-based creative hot shop Dhar & Hoon and the Honda Motorcycle & Scooter account to Triton Communications, Delhi. Both these accounts were being handled by the agency for about half a decade now. For the record, when Honda entered the country in 1996, the advertising account of Honda Siel was handed to Percept Chuo Senko (now Percept Advertising) and that of Honda Motorcycle & Scooter to Everest. The automobile account moved to Everest in 1997.

While the Honda Siel account is estimated at Rs 15 crore, the ad spend of Honda Motorcycle & Scooter last year was to the tune of Rs 8-10 crore. With a slew of launches round the corner, the ad spend of Honda Motorcycle & Scooter may go up to around Rs 15 crore this year, indicates an agencyfaqs! source. What is not certain is what the arrangement is likely to be for the media part of the Honda Siel business. It seems Dhar & Hoon will take care of the creative work - which happens to be its forte - and will guide the Honda Siel brass to work out a feasible solution on the media front.

No official confirmation on the recent moves was available from Everest; neither were the Dentsu representatives in Delhi willing to comment on the same. However, some officials close to the development also indicate that the current move might be an indication of the manner in which the future relationship between Dentsu and Everest will shape up. As things stand now, Dentsu has a 20 per cent stake in Everest.

While Everest managing director (and Rediffusion president) Ram Sehgal has recently gone on record saying that Dentsu's stake in Everest remains intact, agencyfaqs! sources say that things are set to change very soon. It is understood that the Japanese advertising major is toying with the idea of "pulling out of Everest and take up a stake in another agency over a period of time". Among the prospective new partners is, of course, Dhar & Hoon.

These moves also put a question mark against the other Dentsu-aligned business on the Everest roster - National Panasonic. Readers might recall the story we ran last year where we said that National Panasonic India (a 100 per cent subsidiary of Japan-based Matsushita Electric Industrial Co) has moved the advertising account of its entertainment electronics business to McCann-Erickson, Delhi, from Saatchi & Saatchi, Delhi. The entertainment electronics business comprises Panasonic colour televisions, home theatre system and the entire range of audio systems. However, the Rs 10-crore advertising account of National Panasonic's home appliances business (or the National brand) stayed on with Everest. But the question is: How long?

And the reason for the speculation in Delhi's advertising circle is obvious. Exactly a month ago, Ajit Shah, ex-president, Everest, joined Dhar & Hoon as executive director. Shah, who had put in about 22 years at the agency, was closely associated with Honda and, as the branch head had overseen the growth of the National Panasonic business, say our source.

Shah, in the meanwhile, remained uncontactable. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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