Nobody said India was an easy market and pitch management agency R3 which recently launched its India operations would vouch for that.
Campaign India has learnt that an email sent out by Madhukar Kamath as the president of the Advertising Agency Association of India (AAAI) to 25 agency heads recently advised them against participating in any survey involving a third party entity. When contacted by Campaign India, Kamath (pictured) clarified that at the AAAI meeting in Goa as well as their subsequent committee meeting, the issue of pitch consultants had been discussed at length along with other issues and consequently an advisory had been sent out to all members asking them to support the decision of not allowing third party interests to be created in the industry which would be detrimental to the interests of the Indian advertising industry.
Kamath said, “The advisory that we have sent out asks members to support the industry decision of not allowing third party interests to be created that are detrimental to an agency’s remuneration and subsequently detrimental to the industry’s interests. All the agencies contacted have confirmed their support for the decision to not support any newly created third party relationships.”
When asked if this was with reference to R3’s proposed Agency survey, Kamath would only say that while the AAAI was not making a case against any particular agency, members had been asked to pledge their support by not taking part in any survey that involved a third party, a reference to R3’s Agency survey.
Reacting to the news, Greg Paull, principal, R3 Asia Pacific in a telephonic chat with Campaign India said, “It is clear that at this moment it is up to us to spend time with agency heads in India to explain why 20 agencies in China have been working with us for the last six years in that market. Perhaps we have been a little unfortunate in our timing to enter India. We set up base rather late here and other consultants who have been here before us, seem to have muddied the waters.”
Paull was firm that in light of the recent developments, their work in India namely the India Marketing Trends Study was not affected. He said, “We are in active dialogue with marketers in India to complete our annual study and are on schedule to finish it.”
Paull claims that issues such as these are new to R3 and denies that such resistance was faced in other markets where they ventured before. He added, “We have never faced such resistance in other markets and perhaps the reason for this to happen in India is because the business approach of the consultants who have been present in India before us is different from ours. We have reiterated that our business approach is towards building the client- agency relationship and not denigrating it. We have been successfully celebrating the client-agency relationship in other markets that we operate in and look forward to doing the same in India.”