Sumita Vaid

Swatch account is up for grabs

The advertising account of Swatch, the flagship brand of the Swatch Group, is up for grabs. The account is currently with HTA

Agencies scouting for new business, watch out!

The advertising account of Swatch, the flagship brand of the Swatch Group, is up for grabs. Abhimanyu Chakravorty, manager, sales, Swatch, confirmed the news to agencyfaqs!. "Yes, we are in the process of reviewing the Swatch advertising account," he said. However, the company refused to share any other information including the size of the business, the agencies in the fray and the brief given to them.

What we gathered from a series of questions put to the company is that HTA, the incumbent, is among the agencies vying for the business and that Bates is ‘the frontrunner' among those who have made presentations before the company.

Apparently, the decision to put the current advertising strategy of the Swatch Group's brands in India - including Omega, Longines, Rado, Tissot, and Calvin Klein - under the scanner was urged by the company headquarters at Switzerland. agencyfaqs! has also learnt that there has been a restructuring of sorts at the management level to improve the company's overall operations in India. It seems the beginning is being made with the people and the strategy behind the Swatch brand.

To put things in perspective, Swatch entered India in January 2000. "It took a while for Swatch to find its feet in the market. Now that the company is getting stronger on the ground, obviously the brand communication is being revised as part of the new marketing focus. A brand, after all, is the face of the company," commented an industry source close to the recent developments at Swatch. While the company has not been among the big advertising spenders, with a new focus, the size of the account is expected to be sizeable. "While it may not have been largish, it is a prestigious account no doubt," said an industry observer.

Informal conversations with HTA executives indicated that the agency's contribution to the Swatch brand has been "limited to the extent of making tactical advertisements and handling international releases". The question topmost on everybody's mind now is: With the change of agency and advertising strategy will there be an attempt to ‘Indianise' the communication? Is it not time the company tried forging the right connect with the Indian consumer? Though there are no clear-cut answers to these questions yet, what is certain is that even if there are changes, no compromise will be made on the ‘imagery' of the brand.

Which has actually been the core strategy of Swatch ever since it entered India. It was aimed at providing the Indian consumers an ‘international brand experience'. This, the company believed, was key to its success in India. The gameplan, therefore, was to target a cross-section of "trend-conscious consumers" and create "a credible and an aspirational" brand image for Swatch.

Only time can tell which is likely to be Swatch's new agency in India. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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