Alokananda Chakraborty

Confluence soars high with Air Sahara and Sahara Consumer Products

The mid-sized agency has made inroads into Sahara India Pariwar’s advertising account, picking up business to the tune of Rs 5-6 crore

Confluence Communications has made inroads into Sahara India Pariwar's advertising business.

The New Delhi-based mid-sized agency will now service a part of the advertising business of Air Sahara, as well as that of the newly formed, Sahara India Products Division (SIPD). The pitch for the consumer products business, according to Shakti Mukherjee, assistant director, SIPD, saw the likes of FCB-Ulka, SSC&B and Bates - besides of course, Confluence - battling it out against three more, the identities of which are not known.

On Air Sahara, Confluence will work alongside Percept Advertising, the group's incumbent agency. "There is no vertical divide as yet," avers Alok Sharma, vice- president, Corporate Strategy & Commercial, Air Sahara, when quizzed about the exact bifurcation of the business. "I would be in a position to comment about it in a month's time," he indicates when pressed for details.

For the record, Confluence is handling the ‘Sixer in the Air' (a promotional offer aimed at economy-class travelers whereby six Air Sahara tickets will be available at Rs 25,000) and the ‘Super Sixer' (this one is aimed at business class travelers whereby six tickets are available at Rs 36,000) campaigns, on till August 31, 2002. Market sources indicate the two new businesses put together would add between Rs 5-6 crore to Sahara's billing.

On its part, Percept D'Mark (Percept Advertising's event management wing) will handle the mammoth cricket promotion titled ‘Crickcitement'. "We were impressed with the creatives presented by Confluence," states Sharma. "Their strategic inputs were in place and we felt they had the right approach," he adds. "As of now, Air Sahara is perceived as the third option after Jet Airways and Indian Airlines," says Tapas Gupta, managing director, Confluence. "We intend correcting this perception and making Air Sahara, the preferred airline within a year."

Incidentally, Air Sahara is also "revamping its product" with a thrust on providing "value-added services". "We have managed to stay top of mind," informs Sharma. "We are looking to move into the top bracket," he explains.

On the consumer products front, however, it would be a long haul for the agency. Sahara has plans to launch a slew of products in the coming months with emphasis on home care, personal care and healthcare segments to begin with. "We have 25 years' experience in para-banking operations (door-to-door selling of chit funds and other financial products) and it is critical for us to see how we can leverage this relationship to address the consumer products market," reiterates Mukherjee.

Sahara's consumer products division will initially concentrate on the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, which also happen to be its stronghold in the para-banking sector. "It is a tremendous challenge to make your presence felt in a big way in the FMCG market," states Gupta. "I feel we are geared to handle it."

The agency has formed two teams comprising servicing, creative and media executives to exclusively handle the two businesses. Also, Indranil Chatterjee, executive director of the agency, has been appointed as the all-India coordinator for both Air Sahara and Sahara India Products Division. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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