The action is hot on the Samsung ad account internationally but officials in India involved with the business aver that there is no heat being felt here. Although a clearer picture would emerge over the next few days, it presently appears that the changes are more in the realm of the global branding part of the business. The “in-market” or local business in India is not affected as of now, with Cheil Communications, Samsung’s in-house agency, continuing to handle its existing responsibilities. The total Samsung account in India is pegged in the region of Rs 150 crore.
To put things into perspective, the international process for the media and creative duties of Samsung’s global branding has culminated with the WPP Group bagging the account. For the record, the in-market business wasn’t up for a pitch.
On being asked about the development, Samsung India’s Head, Corporate Communications, Senjam Raj Sekhar, said, “As per the agreement between WPP and Samsung, WPP and its family of companies will be Samsung Electronics’ preferred provider for most marketing communication services. This means that a number of agencies within the WPP group will be the primary providers of global brand marketing communication services to Samsung Electronics.”
Throwing more light on the subject, Sekhar said, “Individual Samsung divisions and country operations will have the option to also use WPP companies.”
As far as the media business is concerned, at the global level it is likely to be divided between GroupM’s MindShare and Cheil Communications.
As for India, Ashutosh Srivastava, CEO, GroupM, India and South Asia, said, “As of now, these are all rumours. Samsung media in India is handled by Cheil and is not up for pitch as far as I am aware.”
Sekhar’s official communication appears to support Srivastava’s remark. Said Sekhar, “In India, Cheil Communications is the media AoR and creative agency for Samsung. Grey Worldwide is the creative agency for the home appliances business. As far as India is concerned, status quo will be maintained.”
As for the creative duties, while internationally the pitch was championed by JWT, from India Contract was part of the action with the agency’s President, Colvyn Harris, heading the team. As JWT India handles the creative responsibilities of Philips and Godrej, it was decided to let Contract make the pitch from India.
With this development, Contract is expected to handle the global branding responsibilities of Samsung in the Indian market. However, the in-market or local duties would continue to lie with Cheil Communications.
On being contacted, Harris explained, “We were assigned to represent WPP for the pitch processes. However, so far there is no official communication from Samsung in context of this development.”