N. Shatrujeet

O&M India shines at ABME Awards; wins 2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze

The agency’s rural communications division, Ogilvy Outreach, accounted for three of these awards, while direct division, OgilvyOne India, returned the fourth

Effectiveness, very clearly, is the new mantra at O&M India. Actually, let's rephrase that to say effectiveness awards, very clearly, is the new mantra at O&M India. No, that should actually read, effectiveness awards, in addition to creative awards, is the new mantra at O&M India.

For just over a month after claiming five Effies (the maximum number of Effies won by a single agency this year) at the local Effie Awards, the agency has picked up four awards at the ASIAN BRAND MARKETING EFFECTIVENESS (ABME) AWARDS 2003, which were given away in Singapore on the evening of September 25. O&M India's rural communications division, Ogilvy Outreach, accounted for three of these awards (two gold and one silver), while its direct division, OgilvyOne India, returned the fourth (a bronze).

For the record, the ASIAN BRAND MARKETING EFFECTIVENESS AWARDS, held under the aegis of Hong Kong-based Media Magazine, celebrate the most effective marketing campaigns and initiatives in Asia. Thirty-two entries from the region made it to the Finalist stage at this year's ABME Awards, with five entries from India making the grade. Apart from the four award-winning entries from O&M India, McCann-Erickson India's ‘Thanda matlab…' campaign for Coke (which picked up the Grand Effie here, last month) made it to the Finals.

The entries that fetched O&M India its awards were for lubes brand Castrol (one gold, one silver), hair care brand Clinic Plus (gold), and telecom brand Hutch (bronze). Ogilvy Outreach's case study on Castrol CRB Plus was found gold-worthy for the manner in which the brand repositioned itself as ‘a caring brand' in the drought-affected regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Working with NGOs, the brand mobilized the farmer community in these states and helped educate them on issues related to watershed management (water harvesting). The awareness campaign was awarded the top award in the Most Effective Use of Sponsorship category. Castrol and Ogilvy Outreach added a silver for the ‘Khabar Ghar' concept, whereby information centers were created to dispense advice and help to the truck driver community, thus earning the brand precious loyalty. Fittingly, the Khabar Ghar entry won in the Best Brand Loyalty Marketing Campaign category.

Ogilvy Outreach's second gold (and third award) was for its ‘Mother-Daughter Day' concept for Clinic Plus. Initiated across some 6,000 villages in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, the idea here was to bring mothers and daughters together and provide them with a platform to display various skills such as handicraft, education and cookery (the Clinic Plus proposition being mothers care for their daughters). Simultaneously, the target audience was educated on hair care, with the aim of upgrading them to shampoo usage. This case study made its impact in the Most Effective Use of Event Marketing category. The bronze-winning entry from OgilvyOne India was the ‘personalized ad' case for Hutch. Incidentally, the Chennai-based DM exercise - where personalized newspaper ads targeting high-value individuals were carried in the Chennai edition of The Economic Times - also landed a Bronze Lion at this year's Lions Direct.

Expectedly, Dalveer Singh, country manager, Ogilvy Outreach India, is thrilled. "Any appreciation, any award feels fantastic," he said, speaking to agencyfaqs!. Specific to the three winning case studies, he feels each one demonstrates how Ogilvy Outreach treats below-the-line brand initiatives differently. "We are not the typical below-the-line agency," he says. "We're not here just to sell a few units more of something. The essence of all Outreach programmes is not just sampling and selling, but imparting the brand essence and its experience to consumers. We want consumers to bond with the brand at an emotional level, because only that will generate loyalty." He points to the geographical growth of all three award-winning concepts as proof of the ideas working for their respective clients.

Of course, getting clients to invest time and money in systematic below-the-line activity is a long haul, especially since "activation in India is basically a van touring the countryside". Yet, Singh is hopeful when he says, "We are educating clients to do more intensive programmes so that the effect is long lasting. We are telling them to give it the kind of attention mass media receives."

The mood at Ogilvy is upbeat. And why not? Plaudits are always welcome, and if it's in the newly tapped area of ‘effectiveness', even better. "We have taken a conscious decision to showcase our capabilities in brand strategy and effectiveness," says Kunal Sinha, vice-president - planning, Ogilvy Discovery, explaining the rush of wins at the Effies and the ABME Awards. "It's not as if we weren't doing strategically sound work. The work always got done with great results for our clients, but we never showcased it. We've now taken the opportunity that the Effies and ABME afford."

Interestingly, none of Ogilvy India's ABME winners picked up metals at this year's Effie Awards. In fact, none of them even made it to the final shortlist. Bring this to Sinha's notice, and it's evident that it hasn't escaped his attention either. But all he does is shrug. Not that he has reason to complain after the wins in Singapore. "Ogilvy Asia's divisions in India and Singapore emerged with the most metals among any agency network in the region," he says. "It's clear that Ogilvy is not only a giant in creative, it's the strategic powerhouse in this region." © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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