In what could be seen as the coming digital conquest, many traditional advertisers - who used to focus mainly on TV and print advertising - searched, moved or selected digital agencies to strengthen their digital marketing initiatives in 2010.
Let's start with a big one. Hindustan Unilever (HUL) moved its digital media duties to Omnicom Media Group (OMG), in the first quarter of the calendar year. The FMCG firm wanted a dedicated agency to focus on the online medium and take its digital business forward. OMG handles digital marketing - search, display and mobile marketing - for various brands like Dove, Axe, Kwality Walls and Knorr. The estimated size of the HUL digital business was more than Rs 30 crore in 2010.
Other prominent advertisers that announced plans to strengthen their digital presence were Parle Products, Eureka Forbes and Mercedes Benz.
Eureka Forbes called for a digital pitch for the first time ever and signed up Quasar. "Eureka Forbes was not so active on the digital marketing front till the beginning of 2010. We were assigned the task of revamping the EurekaForbes.com site and use digital media to engage, create awareness and generate sales leads for Aquaguard, AquaSure, Euroclean (vacuum cleaner) and Eurovigil (security system) brands," says, Sandeep Singh, co-founder and business head, Quasar.
Mercedes Benz (India) and Zee Entertainment Enterprises appointed GroupM's digital agency MEC: Interaction for their digital media businesses. The agency points out that the digital media work for Mercedes Benz focused on display advertising (planning and buying) and social media marketing, which includes handling the Facebook presence of Mercedes Benz (Facebook.com/MercedesBenzIndia) while Zee Entertainment's digital media work mainly comprises of e-mail and social media marketing of its various channels and programs.
Even online firms went looking for agencies. In March, online jobs site Timesjobs.com, appointed Zed Digital to handle digital media planning and buying, social media and search engine marketing for the site.
The more the merrier
The second quarter of the calendar year witnessed the adoption of digital marketing by some well-known brands, which had not experimented with digital media before.
Even Fila, which hadn't been so hot on digital marketing, opted to hire an agency for the same. It brought in Rediffusion-Wunderman as its digital AoR in May. The agency has created a website, Fila.in, for the brand.
Hotels.com - the hotel accommodation booking site affiliated to the US-based travel group, Expedia.com - which was active in India since the last two years and was handling the digital marketing from its Singapore office, roped in Zed Digital to manage display advertising, social media marketing and online affiliate marketing for Hotels.com (India) in 2010.
Time for recreation
It was all about online destinations or recreating existing ones.
Lee hired 22Feet to strengthen its social media presence in July. The agency created Lee.in and also started a social media content initiative called 'Trial Room' (Lee.in/TrialRoom), where consumers can consume and create content related to various categories.
Essar Group's Aegis Global Academy - an educational institute that offers MBA in customer management - appointed Indigo Consulting to manage its social media and search marketing presence. Kaya Skin Clinic, owned by Marico, hired Ignitee Digital for social media marketing in August.
Another notable movement was that of Suzlon.com which roped in Dentsu Digital and Webchutney in September. Rediffusion - Y&R bagged the digital creative and media duties of ITC stationery brand, Classmate.
Renault India appointed Law & Kenneth Digital for its digital creative business. The automobile company has assigned the task of online reputation management, consumer engagement and sales leads generation through digital medium to the agency.
Maxus Interaction had three creditable wins in Google India, Kerala Tourism and Future Generali. Google used digital media for the promotion of Chrome, its Internet browser. Money didn't seem to be a problem. The estimated spend by Kerala Tourism on digital media in 2010 was Rs 5 crore. Amaron Batteries appointed Optima Advertising for its online marketing. Sapient selected Zed Digital to handle its digital media business and search marketing function.
They just love digital
The last quarter of year 2010 saw the activation of some more traditional advertisers on the digital space.
Another brand, which was not much active on digital media, Peter England, hired 22Feet for online creative and social media work. The agency established a website, PeterEngland.com, launched a Facebook page (Facebook.com/peterenglandofficial) and a YouTube channel (Youtube.com/peterenglandofficial). Gupta says, "We will soon revamp Peter England website and make it an interactive web destination of the brand."
In the same quarter, Coca-Cola appointed Reprise Media (India) - the joint venture between US-based Interpublic Group (IPG) and Interactive Avenues Marketing Solutions Pvt. Ltd (IAMSPL) - for digital marketing and putting its TV commercial first on the digital media platform, before it made the TV ad live on TV channels.
Volkswagen, busy as ever, appointed Grey Digital India for its digital creative business in November (it was earlier handled by Tribal DDB).
Tamil Nadu-based innerwear brand Dixcy Scott hired Chennai-based digital agency, BYT Social, to activate and strengthen its presence on Facebook.com. Roots Corporation, a subsidiary of The Indian Hotels Company appointed a Mumbai-based digital agency, Windchimes Communications, to handle the social media marketing for its low-cost brand of hotels, Ginger. The hospitality brand has plans to use social media to acquire new customers and engage the new and existing customers with the brand.