The contours of one of the most anticipated telecom launches in India is slowly but steadily falling in place. Ad agency McCann Worldgroup India is the front-runner in the race to bag the advertising mandate for the Reliance Jio brand. The latter is the name of the telecom business that Mukesh Ambani proposes to launch in December this year.
Like most things in Reliance, the launch is expected to be a massive affair involving a 360-degree advertising and marketing campaign. Spends on promoting the Reliance Jio brand alone is estimated to be nothing less than Rs 200-300 crore, persons in the know say.
When contacted, Prasoon Joshi, chairman, McCann Worldgroup Asia-Pacific, declined to comment on the issue. However, persons in the know say McCann has emerged the favourite and that it is only a matter of time before the decision is made official.
The Reliance Group, it is learnt, had been talking to a few agencies for handing over the advertising mandate of the Reliance Jio brand. What appears to have swung the verdict in McCann's favour is the fact that it has the bandwidth to handle a massive mandate such as Jio besides the credentials that Joshi brings to the table as a noted adman and lyricist. Joshi was also given the Padma Shri by the Indian government earlier this year.
Apart from this, most of the top ad agencies in the country have some or the other telecom account with them. This, sources say, has also been critical in swinging the verdict in McCann's favour. The agency currently has no telecom business in its portfolio following the exit of Aircel three months ago. The advertising duties of Aircel are handled by DDB Mudra. Some of the other telecom-ad-agency alignments are as follows: JWT and Taproot Dentsu share Airtel, the country's largest telecom player by revenue. Ogilvy & Mather, led by Piyush Pandey, executive chairman & creative director, South Asia, does the advertising for Vodafone, the country's second-largest telecom player. Lowe Lintas & Partners handles Idea, the third-largest telecom player in India. The agency partners of the fourth and fifth telecom players, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, include Grey and Contract, respectively.
Value-added services pitch underway
Even as the Reliance Group is stitching up its agency partner that will manage its flagship Jio brand, it is learnt that the conglomerate is calling for a separate pitch for value-added services under 4G. Mostly small and independent agencies have been called for this pitch, which is slated for the end of this week.
The mandate here for agencies pitching will be to present how they will push services under 4G, or fourth-generation mobile telecommunications. The Reliance group is expected to launch 4G smartphones at a price lower than Rs 4,000 a unit and could also have voice and data services for as low as Rs 300-500 a month.