Mumbai: Madhukar Kamath, managing director and chief executive officer of Mudra Group, says he doesn’t care what colour the cat is as long as it can eat mice. His reference is to the fact that the group’s specialist media agency, Optimum Media Solutions (OMS), will now cease to exist. The group has instead introduced a media umbrella brand Mudra MAX that will have two separate media planning and buying agencies: Radar, which will only handle the business of Mudra owner Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (R-Adag) and Connext, which will handle the media buying business for brands such as Sify, Zipcash, ICI Paints and Spice Mobile.
Mudra MAX will also include Videotec, a unit which focuses on the convergence of brands and entertainment. The Mudra Group bills around Rs1,500 crore a year according to some media buyers. And R-Adag, with annual ad spends across media of as much as Rs350 crore could well be among India’s top advertisers according to media buyers.
The launches come in the wake of Mudra’s announcement last week that its agency Mudra Mumbai would serve as a full-function branch with media planners and buyers coming into an agency that, until recently only planned and created advertising campaigns. One reason for the change was to meet the special requirements of public sector companies such as Life Insurance Corp. of India Ltd that prefer to deal with an agency which can offer them full-service solutions. Kamath says the new structure reflects a clear direction and serves as “a proposition that clients will value.” OMS’ president Chandradeep Mitra will serve as the president of Mudra MAX and L.S. Krishnan will be the president of Radar.
Although the new structure means Mudra’s media business is divided across three agencies — Radar, Connext and Mudra Mumbai — Mitra and Krishnan claim that it wouldn’t affect the group’s media buying clout.
Mitra says it is unlikely that the agency will look for a centralized media buying unit. “Reliance has special buying needs. And buying is something that is confidential,” he adds.
“There will be a complete firewall around planning and buying of Adag,” adds Krishnan. He adds that scale isn’t very vital. It’s more about buying effectively than buying cheap, he says.