Sumita Vaid

Nestle's Milkmaid moves from Mudra to Publicis

As Milkmaid bids adieu, Mudra's 15-long year relationship with Nestle comes to an emotional end

It had to happen sooner or later. Nestle's condensed milk brand, Milkmaid, has moved from Mudra to Publicis. With Milkmaid in its kitty, Publicis now has Nestle's Maggi, Purina Pet Care brand and the corporate account.

Milkmaid was the last of the Nestle brands with Mudra. With Milkmaid gone, Mudra's 15-long year relationship with Nestle comes to an emotional end. Mudra was prepared for the move. As long back as in 1998, Nestle had started moving its business bit by bit from Mudra to its globally aligned agencies in India - Publicis, O&M, McCann-Erickson and Lowe.

Mudra had won the Nestle business way back in 1989. The interesting part is that Mudra was never a Nestle club agency. There is an interesting story behind the Nestle-Mudra partnership.

The then active Mudra Videotech - the TV software production and marketing division of Mudra Communications that produced cricketing series Bodyline and soap Buniyaad - had made a 13-episode programme called Panchhi. This programme was on the non-resident Indian (NRI) community, and was sponsored by Nestle. Panchhi used to be aired on Doordarshan every Wednesday. The day-after-recall reports of all the 13 episodes were so impressive that Nestle decided to move two of its brands - baby food Cerelac and Nestum - to Mudra.

Erstwhile Mudra employees also suggest that it was the "alacrity” with which Mudra worked that won it the Nestle business. "The value adds, in terms of the day-after-recall reports, the orientation of the agency as such were important factors…,” agencyfaqs! is told.

Cerelac and Nestum had moved from RK Swamy/BBDO, which was that time a Nestle club agency. After Cerelac and Nestum, Mudra serviced many Nestle brands and launched many others. The brands Mudra worked on included Cerelac soy (discontinued), the Lactogen range (dahi, ultra-high temperature Nestle Milk, and its derivatives), milk food drink, Milo, Milkmaid, dessert mixes, Bar One chocolate, Nestle Milky bar, Eclairs and the tea brand, Taster's Choice.

Besides these, Mudra launched Nestle's glucose drink, Nesfit, in 1991 (discontinued in 1992) soy health drink, Bonus, in 1993 (discontinued in 1995) and mouth-freshener, Polo, in 1993. Remember the successful mint-with-a-hole campaign? That was by Mudra.

The irony is, Polo was among the first brands to move out. This was in 1998. Polo went to Lowe and along with it Bar One. Then Cerelac and Nestum went to McCann-Erickson. In the interim numerous brands were discontinued such Taster's Choice and dessert mixes. And others simply became inactive.

The next on the exit route were the dairy products. They went to O&M some two years ago. In fact, the buzz was that the dairy account would move to Publicis India, once it beefed up its operations in the country. That did not happen. Instead Publicis got Pure Life (discontinued).

After the exit of Nestle's Lactogen business, Mudra was left with Milo and Milkmaid. Early this year, Milo went to McCann-Erickson, leaving Milkmaid as the sole Nestle account with Mudra.

But should Milkmaid's departure be viewed as a big loss? Not really. The only heavily advertised brand with Mudra was Polo, and, to an extent, Bar One and Cerelac. Besides these, not many of Nestle's brands with Mudra were aggressively advertised.

In fact, in the case of Cerelac and Nestum, because of a government ban, there is practically no advertising and both the accounts have been transferred from McCann-Erickson to its healthcare department.

And the ones that were or are being advertised - such as Nescafe, Kit-Kat and Maggi - were always aligned with Nestle's global agency. McCann-Erickson has Nescafe, JWT has Kit-Kat and Maggi (which was earlier with JWT) is with Publicis.

Industry sources indicate that the cumulative ad spends on the Nestle brands with Mudra in the past few years would not have been more than Rs 4-5 crore. Which does not sound terribly exciting.

‚? 2004 agencyfaqs!