Sumita Vaid

McCann-Erickson wins Rs 10-crore Pears account

While the creative duties move from JWT, the media function remains with MindShare Fulcrum

The creative duties of Pears, the glassy glycerine soap from HLL, have moved from JWT to McCann-Erickson. According to industry sources, the business is valued at Rs 10 crore. However, the move was not the result of a multi-agency pitch. Apparently, the decision to appoint McCann-Erickson was an internal decision by the company. Sources say, HLL had asked McCann to make strategy presentation, on the basis which it awarded the business to its new agency partner. For the record, Pears' media duties continue to reside with MindShare Fulcrum, the media agency for HLL.

JWT had serviced the Pears business for almost a decade before it went to McCann. But looking at the trend over the last few years, it is evident HLL did not invest much on the brand - be it in terms of advertising or in terms of trying to grow its market potential. In 1999 though, HLL had made an attempt to promote a range of skincare products called Pears Natural. Pitched at the mass market, the range included products like face scrub, face pack and face wash, which were made from (non-chemical) ingredients like ‘besan' and ‘multani mitti'. The company had hoped that Pears soap brand's skin care values - that of purity and gentleness - would have a positive rub-off on the skincare range. Unfortunately, that did not happen, and the company had to withdraw the Pears Natural range.

What cannot be overlooked, however, is the brand's distinctive association with the glycerine soap category and its almost timeless translucent, dreamy looks. While the brand recall remains strong, one has not seen any new piece of communication in recent times. The last ad on Pears appeared in early 2002 where the product attributes - of purity and gentleness - were elevated to a new level. They found a poetic expression in the attempt to equate the soap with the smooth touch of a mother.

Against this background, McCann-Erickson's obvious task would be to find ways of expressing the strengths of the brand while adding vitality to the entire proposition. It seems the agency has started working on the new campaign. Since Pears is not pitched head-on-head with any other soap, the idea would be to strengthen the position of Pears in its own distinctive space. © 2003 agencyfaqs!