Chennai-based ad agency Challenge is planning on opening a new branch in Hyderabad by January next year. Over the past five years, they have maintained a 50 per cent growth rate. By 2014, the agency is targeting a turnover of Rs 100 crore.
R Sakthivel, Founder and CEO of Challenge, said, “Around 70 per cent of our turnover comes from advertising in the South markets – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Karnataka. The remaining 30% comes in from markets in the North. Some of recent wins are AVR Swarna Mahal Jewellery 10 days ago for whom we have released TVCs in Tamil satellite channels for the launch of their second showroom. We have also produced TVCs for herbals products brand Banjara’s for the South market which are being aired since September. We bagged the account two months back. For the launch of their new fairness cream, we have charted out a pan-India campaign which will take off in the first week of November. Three months back, our Delhi branch bagged the Sharp Electronics account for whom we will be bringing out ads in the South market. In August, we were assigned the Dinamalar’s sister concern Malar Properties’ account. We have come out with TVCs for them also.”
Close to 75 per cent of the agency’s billings comes in from the Retail category and the other 25% from national level clients.
The agency has a branch in Delhi where it has been in operation for the last 4 years and another branch in Coimbatore. They produce ads for all media – Print, TV, Radio, and OOH. Sakthivel adds, “Our tagline in our Delhi office is ‘Gateway to the South’ to emphasise that any Delhi-based brand which wants to advertise in the South market, can come to us. If they opt for an agency based in Delhi, they will not be able to provide them an ideal solution since they don’t have an understanding of the South market.” Some of the brand categories that they have worked for are Retail, Consumer Appliances, Education, Jewellery, and Real Estate.
While the agency comes out with creatives for different brands, they are also an INS-accredited media planning and buying agency. They also produce TVCs in-house and don’t outsource it to any production house. “The production house will have a relation with a brand only for a week or 10 days. We have a better understanding of brands – their TGs and the markets they cater to as we work with them from day 1. We also produce TVCs specific to different markets to impart local flavour rather than using dubbed ads. We release ads in Indian channels internationally too. Our print ads and TVCs have been released in Singapore, the UK, Malaysia, Dubai, and Canada mainly for residential schools and Real estate sectors,” Sakthivel remarked.
The agency has a couple of international clients – Taste of India, a hotel chain in the UK, Deen Jewellers in Malaysia, and Top Leaders Realty, a real estate group in Singapore.
Challenge has seen a 30-35% increase in spends towards advertising from last year. He states, “Most of our clients have expanded their base this year so their ad spends have also gone up. The home appliances and jewellery categories are the biggest advertisers this season. Around 25% comes in from each of these categories. While the media mix for the home appliances segment is 80% towards TV ads and 20% towards print, the jewellery segment’s division is 60% towards TV ads and 40% towards print ads. Most clients in Chennai are not very keen on OOH.”
Challenge has also partnered with various Government departments to produce ads for them. They are an empanelled agency with DIPR (Department of Information and Public Relations), Tamil Nadu Government, the empanelled agency for TANSACS (Tamil Nadu State Aids Control Society), and in August, they became the empanelled agency for audio-visual production for the Government of India’s Panchayat Raj department.
Sakthivel shared, “Apart from those that we have already work with, we are looking to partner with other Government departments also in future. We will come out with commercials as well as full-fledged programmes for these departments. Recently, when the State-run Arasu Cable TV Corporation was launched by the CM on September 2, we came out with a promo film which was produced within 24 hours. Last year, we came out with three films for the Government of Tamil Nadu on sanitary awareness.”