JWT likely to win global ad contract from Tatas

25 Aug,2014

By Pritha Mitra Dasgupta


WPP-owned J Walter Thompson is likely to win a global advertising contract from the Tata Group, the first time that the conglomerate will embark on a corporate brand initiative as part of Chairman Cyrus Mistry’s push to make its worldwide presence felt more strongly.


The two sides are yet to sign on the dotted line but a verbal commitment has been extended to the agency, according to well-placed insiders. A formal announcement is likely this week. Sources estimate the size of the business at just under Rs 200 crore. The group hasn’t engaged in any brand activity except during centenary celebrations a few years ago.


During the celebrations, an award winning, football-themed film on the group’s values was made by Arun Nanda-led Rediffusion Y&R. “The new management under the leadership of Cyrus Mistry feels the need to position Tata as a force on the global platform,” said a top Tata Sons executive explaining the rationale behind the campaign.


Mr Mistry, who took over as chairman of holding company Tata Sons in 2012 from Ratan Tata, will be looking to strengthen the group’s presence in global markets as an increasing share of its business comes from overseas. “More than half of the (group) companies’ revenues are… from the international markets,” said the person cited above.


“And while people are aware of the individual companies, they don’t know that these companies actually belong to Tata Sons. And thus the company feels that this is the right time to launch a global campaign.”


As reported in May, pitches kicked off in the first week of April. with five agencies participating – JWT, TBWA, Y&R, McCann World-Group and FCB Ulka.


Of these, the first three made it to the final round of presentations that took place in May. The brief was simple, according to the CEO of one of the agencies that participated: “What should the Tatas do to be globally visible?”


The group wants people to look beyond Tata Consultancy Services and Tata Motors unit Jaguar Land Rover, he suggested. “I think the idea is to build salience for the brand Tata so that people see more than just TCS and JLR. It is something that they are trying to fix.”


A JWT executive said winning the deal was more about prestige than anything else. “More than the size of the business it is an extremely prestigious account because no other Indian company has gone global this way,” the person said. He said the pitch was led by Colvyn Harris, CEO of JWT South Asia, and the team had members from the agency’s New York and London offices. Harris declined to comment.


A Tata Sons spokesperson said, “We have not appointed any agency so far, and will make an announcement at the appropriate time.” It wasn’t clear whether Tata wants one advertising campaign that will run across markets or if it will have separate country-wise campaigns with one overarching theme and tagline since the positioning of the group’s units vary across geographies. For instance, the group is the largest employer in the manufacturing sector in the UK, which is very different from its positioning in the US or even China. A top executive at another agency that participated in the pitch said, “They don’t have a plan yet. They have also not finalised the media plan as well and therefore don’t know if it will be an above-the-line (aimed at a wide audience) or below-the-line campaign (more sharply focused). And therefore they have not yet finalised a media agency.”


However, executives aware of the plans say the media business will be integrated with one of the WPP agencies, a strategy that works well for both JWT and Tata if the two go ahead with the initiative.


Source:The Economic Times

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