N. Shatrujeet

O&M scripts wins with Hindustan Pencils and ADD Pens

The agency has picked up the accounts of Hindustan Pencils’ flagship pencil brands – Apsara and Nataraj – following a six-agency shootout

In its first major set of new business acquisitions this year, O&M India's Mumbai office has won the creative accounts of Hindustan Pencils and a part of the ADD Pens portfolio. The agency has picked up the accounts of Hindustan Pencils' flagship pencil brands - Apsara and Nataraj - following a six-agency shootout that also involved Contract Advertising, McCann-Erickson India, Ambience Publicis, Euro RSCG India and Triton Communications. Vis-à-vis ADD Pens, O&M has acquired the creative duties of some of the writing instrument major's new products. Nishi Suri, executive director & head of Mumbai office, O&M India, confirmed the news of the Apsara, Nataraj and ADD wins to agencyfaqs! late last evening.

Hindustan Pencils had called for a creative pitch (Carat India is currently in charge of the media duties) last month, following a "detailed and methodical evaluation process" which involved over 15 agencies. "The client had screened a large number of agencies to get a hang of the structure and capabilities of each agency," Suri reveals. "They then shortlisted a handful of agencies, and briefed each one on their requirement. Based on the brief we were given, we went back to them with our recommendations, and we got the business." For the record, Ogilvy was formally awarded the business late last week.

Interestingly, the development brings Hindustan Pencils and O&M together after a span of five-odd years. "They were our clients till about five years ago, when they, to quote them, ‘took a break from advertising'. It feels nice to be working with them again," Suri smiles. She, however, feels that it was the agency's approach in the pitch that worked in O&M's favour. "They told us that they saw a meeting of minds, and they liked our appreciation of their business problems and objectives. And, of course, our great creative. I think the chemistry was just great."

Hindustan Pencils has been out of mainline media for quite a while now, although its brands Apsara and Nataraj continue to enjoy a fair bit of recall (the animated ‘…Aur yeh laga sixer' commercial for Nataraj is still fresh in the memory of a generation brought up on a staple diet of Doordarshan). However, the company clearly sees the need to strike a dialogue with younger consumers, a fact that Suri touches upon when she says, "Hindustan Pencils is seriously looking at rebuilding equity."

With regard to the ADD Pens win, Suri informs that the agency has won the creative account of "new products in the marker segment, which the company is in the process of introducing in the market". She chooses not to go into the details of the nature of the products, but she clarifies that the agency is not handling any of ADD Pens' pen accounts. For the record, the company is best known for retailing a range of gel pens, roller pens and ball pens under the ADD brand, and its flagship brand, ADD Gel, is almost synonymous with the gel category. Suri informs that the ADD account was not preceded by a pitch. "We just walked in, and they asked us to work on the account. If only all accounts came in so effortlessly," she adds with a chuckle.

Suri is not willing to divulge the size of either business. "We have been asked not to share financials, so I'm afraid I can't tell you," she says. "But what I can say is that both are medium-sized businesses, which offer a lot of scope to do some really exciting work." © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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