Tourism ministry floats tender of Rs 200 crore for Incredible India campaign for agencies with revenues of

MUMBAI: The tourism ministry has floated a tender for the Rs 200-crore Incredible India campaign, inviting bids from advertising agencies with revenues of at least Rs 100 crore, a condition that rules out participation of mid-sized firms such as Contract, Rediffusion Y&R, Everest, Bates CHI, Grey or any Indian-owned agency like Concept group of companies and other smaller boutique shops.

While the ministry runs this campaign every year, in the international leg this year it wants to focus especially on new markets like Russia and CIS countries, the Middle East and South America, among others.

“The bidding agency must have a cumulative revenue from creative work equivalent to Rs 100 crore or above in the last three financial years. In addition, the creative agency should have handled at least one creative account in any field, with revenue of over Rs 5 crore, in any one of the last three years,” says the tender notice.

The ministry has also stated that the agencies will have to submit an earnest money deposit (EMD) or bid security of Rs 50 lakh. This will be returned to “unsuccessful bidders…within one month of issue of the work order/contract to the successful bidder”.

According to the head of a nonparticipating agency, if the guidelines are strictly followed, only five agencies in India can bid for the account. These include Ogilvy & Mather, J Walter Thompson, McCann Erickson, Lowe and FCB Ulka, said the agency head, who did not wish to be named.

“This is extremely discouraging for agencies at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is emphasising so much on patriotism and ‘Make in India’. With this tender, the ministry has alienated almost the entire advertising fraternity,” the agency head added.

The ministry briefed a few agencies at a meeting in Delhi earlier this week and gave them time till February 9 to submit their proposals.

“The selected agency should be able to provide a creative vision and strategy for taking forward the Incredible India campaign of the ministry of tourism,” the tender notice says, adding, “The agency would also be responsible for taking over the content, inventory of films and other creatives from the creative agency which handled the account of MoT and maintaining the same.” The Incredible India campaign was launched in 2003 by Ogilvy & Mather.

In 2006, Grey won the account while a part of the business went to Wieden+ Kennedy. But O&M won back the account in 2012 following a multi-agency pitch and it is seen as a frontrunner this time round as well.

The ministry runs the campaign in both domestic and international markets.

( Originally published on Jan 23, 2015 )