The year started well for Carat Media and the agency has continued its winning streak. Carat has just added the businesses of Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG), Sahara Computers, Ira Diamonds and 555 Detergents. In all, these wins give the agency an additional Rs 41 crore in total billings.
Given the set of accounts that Carat won in January 2006 and March 2006, the agency added business worth Rs 53 crore in the first three months of the year itself. If the international win recently of Adidas and Reebok is to be added to this list, Carat Media has shot well past the Rs 100-crore mark in new businesses in 2006.
The ad spends of MEMG is in the vicinity of Rs 18 crore. Carat would now be the custodian of all MEMG businesses in the various international markets that it operates in and those it expands to. MEMG’s S Madhusudan, Senior VP, Marketing, informed that they did speak to other agencies before handing the business to Carat. The other agency in the fray was Maxus.
Sahara Computers launched in India in June 2005 and then signed INC Communications and Starcom for its advertising responsibilities. The Sahara Computers account is pegged in the region of Rs 15 crore.
Slightly more modest is Ira Diamonds, the ad spends of which is in the vicinity of Rs 8 crore. Rupak Sen, CEO, Ira Diamonds, informed that they were in talks with two agencies before giving the mandate to Carat. He refrained from divulging the name of the second agency in the running. The incumbent on the business was Starcom.
On the choice of Carat, he said, “The agency was thinking on the same lines as we were and they brought in a lot of innovation in the solutions to the table, which is much required in this category right now, given the increased competition.”
555 Detergents, as is known, is one of the oldest brands in the country and is in the process of reviving the brand and its portfolio.
For Carat Media, this is a continuation of a string of new wins. In January, the agency bagged the duties of Pantaloons Retail Home Solutions, Zicom and VRS Foods, which together formed billings worth Rs 25 crore. In March 2006, Carat Media added the businesses from a cross-section of categories comprising Luxottica, 3G, Tulip and Escorts Tractors.
Compared to the Rs 85 crore new business mark that Carat had achieved in 2005, the first six months of 2006, when it has already touched a figure of Rs 100 crore, is good news for the agency.
Speaking on the overall improvement in the agency’s performance, Charles Berley Jenarius, Group CEO, Carat Media, observed, “What is working in favour of the agency is the mixture of strong organic growth coupled with robust new business wins. I think we are bearing the fruits of the seeds that we sowed last year. Following the setbacks of 2004, in 2005 we worked very hard on all fronts of our operations. With these results, we are confident that the agency is on the right track.”
Jenarius also threw light on the people focus at Carat last year. He said, “In 2005, we added a few key people to strengthen the existing management team and they have settled well in their responsibilities.” Some of the people who came on board include N P Sathyamurthy (Chief Planning Officer), Naman Sharma (Director, Research and Analytics-SPI), and Ramesh Chandran (VP, Investments).
In addition, the agency also soft launched communication planning agency, Deep Blue, and the econometric modeling offering, SPI, in India in 2005. As to what the future holds, Jenarius said, “2006 will witness the evolution of Carat from a media agency to a communications agency with media at its heart.” He did not want to elaborate further on this.