N. Shatrujeet

rmg to launch specialized radio advertising cell; adds new business worth Rs 8 crore

Slated for launch on January 2003, rmg radioactive will focus on retail thinking for radio, and develop strategies and creatives on radio for retail clients

Exactly two months after Rajiv Agarwal unexpectedly quit the top post at WPP Group-agency rmg david, the outfit appears to have put the past behind itself and is in the midst of drawing big plans for the future. One such initiative is the constitution of a specialized cell that would focus on providing radio advertising solutions to clients. Branded rmg radioactive, the division is slated for launch on January 26, 2003.

The agency has also reported new business gains - both in Mumbai and Delhi - to the tune of Rs 8 crore. The wins include Ion Exchange (water treatment brand, Zero-B), Metro Shoes, Nimbus Communications, Bombay Hospital and FOGSI (Federation of Obstetrics & Gynecological Society of India). Also, existing Delhi-based client Daawat Basmati Rice has given rmg the additional mandate of handling its businesses in the Middle East and the US.

Disclosing the agency's plans with radioactive, Josy Paul, chief creative officer & agency head, rmg david, told agencyfaqs! that he believes the time is ripe for the specialized service. "On an average, a client doesn't spend more than 4.5 per cent of its total advertising spends on radio," he admits. "But retail advertising is on the rise. Radio has made it a lot easier and affordable for local shops and retailers to build brands and sales. More and more local retail brands want to take advantage of the localized nature of FM radio, and its growing popularity."

The agency's reasoning is simple. Although small, localized players recognize the opportunity radio offers, they often hesitate in approaching large mainstream agencies - the sheer size of these agencies is daunting. "Big agencies may not find them commercially viable," says Paul. "So there is a need-gap - one that we are keen to fill. rmg radioactive will focus only on retail thinking for radio. The cell will develop strategies and create radio spots, jingles and innovations on radio for retail clients."

Paul is of the opinion that there is a real need for a specialized cell that caters to radio advertising. "It's for the same reason that you have a cell for interactive or direct marketing or PR or outdoor - to explore the business and creative potential the medium offers to the fullest," he says. "There is also a need for focussed attention. It is also a period of discovery and exploration." He adds that retail clients and "big marketers" have already approached the agency - the former for radio-specific ideas, the latter to "use radio FM to test their concepts".

In response to whether all this implied that mainline agencies did not provide the best solutions in radio, Paul replies, "Anyone can do it, but rmg radioactive will do it better, because we are better geared and we have the expertise. There's passion for sound, sound play, the spoken word, the imagination inherent in radio… As you know, last year, our work for Benetton (the ‘rang barse' spot) was rated the best in the country. And check our new sound for Officer's Choice Aqua Pura." The agency is in the process of recruiting people for radioactive, which will be headed by a general manager. Paul is looking at a team of two writers, an in-house producer and an account executive. "We are looking at strategic alliances with music directors, talent managers and external radio producers too," he adds.

Speaking about the new business wins, Paul reveals that some of the accounts came in "when Rajiv was here" - Metro Shoes and Bombay Hospital (which is launching a 400-bed hospital in Indore) are among those. "Bombay Hospital wasn't exactly a pitch, but when you have to present to 25 serious doctors, it's more like a pregnancy test - can we deliver?" laughs Paul. The Zero-B business was the result of a two-round, multi-agency pitch involving "some of India's leading elderly agencies", is how Paul puts it. "We won Zero-B because we stole the vision statement of the company, no jokes. And, of course, because of our work, which, we've been told, was refreshing."

Paul doesn't reveal much about the Nimbus win apart from what we already know: Nimbus is the sole marketer of the World Cup 2003 for Doordarshan. "We'll be handling their communication for the World Cup," is all he says. "The rest is classified stuff." He does disclose that the FOGSI win is essentially "a special project for the year". Incidentally, agencyfaqs! has gathered that rmg bested Grey Worldwide and Rediffusion-DY&R in a three-way pitch for the FOGSI project. Paul is unwilling to talk about the exact spends of each new account. "I can, however, say that we expect the total incremental capitalized billing from all these gains to be in the region of Rs 8 crore." © 2002 agencyfaqs!