Mindshare Fulcrum marks 20 years of ad tie-up with Hindustan Unilever

The partnership led to the emergence of media buying and planning as a separate function


Executives of Mindshare and Hindustan Unilever at the event held to celebrate their partnership. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
Executives of Mindshare and Hindustan Unilever at the event held to celebrate their partnership. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint

Mumbai: Mindshare Fulcrum, a unit of Mindshare India, celebrated 20 years of partnership with Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) as its sole media planning and buying agency in India, in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The partnership led to the emergence of media buying and planning as a separate function.

Prior to the partnership with Mindshare Fulcrum, four creative agencies managed HUL’s media buying and planning function—Lintas, Oglivy and Mather India, Hindustan Thompson Associates (HTA) and Creative Unit.

“We were quickly able to demonstrate savings and dedication and this helped us and has kept the account for the long term. We introduced the concept of client servicing,” said Ketaki Gupte, founder of Mindshare Fulcrum in 1995. She ran the company for the first six years.

The partnership between Mindshare Fulcrum and HUL resulted in many successful and innovative campaigns across multiple media platforms over the last two decades.

For instance, the Sunsilk Gang of Girls campaign, launched in 2007-08, was an idea way before its time to form a social media platform for women.

Over the years, Mindshare Fulcrum launched many properties that have became iconic, such as Close up Antakshari, Wheel Smart Shrimati, Lakmé Fashion Week and the recent Kissanpur campaign.

The partnership between HUL and Mindshare Fulcrum happened at a time when Doordarshan and All India Radio were the primary channels to reach consumers. Over the years, the media landscape has changed completely to include over 200 television channels and multiple radio channels, besides social media, out-of-home, rural activations and below-the-line marketing. “The reason why this model has been sustainable is that we have not lost sight of the consumer and have over the years changed to reach the consumer in many different ways, sometimes being the pioneers in developing these methods,” Amin Lakhani, leader, Mindshare Fulcrum South Asia, said.

Over 20 years, HUL’s average advertising expenses have grown 36.48 times from Rs.108.08 crore in 1995 to Rs.3,943.59 crore in 2015, according to data provided by CapitaLine, a financial data services provider. This partnership has endured even as the leadership at both companies has changed. In the past 20 years, Mindshare Fulcrum has been led by Suresh Shankar, Ashutosh Srivastava, Vikram Sakhuja, R. Gowthaman, Himanshu Shekhar, Ravi Rao, Anupriya Acharya and currently Amin Lakhani. HUL, too, has seen several top management changes.

“It has been 20 years of a great partnership with Mindshare Fulcrum, and the team over this period has played a pivotal role in unlocking the magic for Unilever’s iconic brands in India. As we go through the slowest pace of change in our lifetime, there are some exciting times ahead. I see Mindshare Fulcrum as a key partner in navigating this change,” said Gaurav Jeet Singh, head-media buying services, South Asia, HUL.

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