Contract gets Tata Docomo’s Rs 300 crore advertising account

MUMBAI: Contract Advertising has bagged the advertising account of Tata Docomo in a multiagency pitch, breaking FCB Ulka’s five-year partnership with the telecom service provider .

Contract won the estimated Rs 300-crore business ahead of Leo Burnett, DDB Mudra and Rediffusion Y&R. “Their (Contract’s ) vision to take the brand to the next level was better than others and Contract had a better answer to our challenges,” Ritesh Ghoshal, brand marketing head at

Tata Teleservices

, said. The company has also moved Tata Docomo’s media mandate to Mediacom from Lodestar.

Both the new agencies belong to British advertising giant WPP, while the old ones are Interpublic Group firms. Some sources in Tata Docomo indicated that there was an apparent fallout with FCB Ulka.

“There were no strategic input from FCB Ulka in the last one year and the ‘Open Up’ campaign that we launched in the second half of 2013 also failed to create any excitement around the brand,” said a senior official in Tata Docomo. The person said Tata Docomo spent close to Rs 40-50 crore on the Open Up campaign. But Ghoshal denied this.

“Open Up is working for us,” he said. “FCB Ulka helped us create the brand architecture and a large part of what we have achieved is because of them. It is not unusual for brands to align with new agencies,” he added. The company will launch the last set of Open Up during the Indian Premier League tournament that will kick off in the UAE this month.

Sanjay Tandon, COO at Draft FCB Ulka, said, “We had a successful run for five years and I believe the marketing team now desires to see something different.” This year, while Tata Docomo has not increased its advertising budget, it will have more stringent customer acquisition targets. In its annual operative plan this year the company is looking to increase its customer acquisition target by 20%-25 %.

Ghoshal, however, said this does not pose tough challenges for his team. “Last year we had a different goal and this year it is skewed towards acquiring new customers,” he said. Sources said that while FCB Ulka was earning Rs 1.5 crore monthly from this account.

They said constant reduction in advertising budget forced Tata Docomo to call for the pitch, and that Contract Delhi will be getting Rs 1 crore monthly. Ashish Chakravarty, national creative director at Contract Advertising, said, “The idea is to take the brand to the next level and create more customer engagement and excitement around the brand.”

He said the agency will have a better understanding of the work once its team starts engaging with Tata Docomo team from May.

We are the holding company of the Future: IPG’s Michael Roth

Michael Roth, chairman of Interpublic Group, one of the world’s Big Four advertising holding companies speaks to Delshad Irani on the sidelines of Cannes Lions. He’s also not shy about revealing to us, amidst the incessant conversations about the FIFA World Cup at Cannes, that for this New Yorker from Brooklyn, soccer was never on the cards. His allegiance always lies with the US and “we’re not there” he laughs. Edited excerpts:

How happy are you with the performance and potential of the Indian market and economy? Especially with an election coming up.
It is one of our more important markets. It is showing double digit growth so we continue to believe in India. It was a little off in the first quarter, but that was client specific and not to do with the tone of the market. I’m still bullish. Whenever there are elections you never know what happens (laughs). Overall, the economy should outperform and we will continue to invest in people there.

There are different views on what the advertising holding company of the future should look like. What’s your view?

The beauty of a holding company is all these different businesses we can bring to the table to serve our clients’ needs. The issue is ‘how do you get them to work on a collaborative basis?’ Each of the companies has a different approach. On one extreme, you have Publicis which has now repositioned its entire company. Our way of dealing with this is ‘open architecture’. We’ve been doing this for 14 years. The client comes first. And then we add to that all the different resources within IPG that we can bring together. We don’t have to restructure our company to do that. We can bring in all these companies, working towards that one client and the client really doesn’t have to know where the revenue goes. That’s an accounting issue. The more important issue is who is servicing the client.

How do you think Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital will impact the industry and IPG?
Martin’s got a ways to go before he builds another WPP. The only impact I see it having at this point is if he potentially goes after some of our talent. But, you know, you just don’t all of a sudden open up a shop, hang up a shingle and say, ‘I’m competing with best in class agencies.’ It’s unfolding; it’ll take a while to get its legs. But right now that’s not what I’m worried about the most.