Airtel invites agencies to pitch for media mandate

Indian telecom giant Airtel has invited agencies to pitch for its media mandate, reports the Economic Times. It is seen as one of the biggest advertising pitches of 2014.

The company has sent out invites to leading media agencies including Madison World, which has been handling the account for the past 11 years. According to the report, other agencies in the fray include one of GroupM agencies, Lodestar, Dentsu Aegis Network, OMD and ZenithOptimedia.

"Airtel has made all the media agencies sign a non-disclosure agreement barring them from talking about the pitch process," an executive with knowledge of the matter told the Economic Times. Airtel has been calling for media pitches once every five years and the last time it reviewed the account was in early 2010, he added.

During the last pitch process, Madison had faced stiff competition from agencies like TME, Starcom MediaVest, Percept, Mediaedge:cia (MEC) and Lintas Media Group. This year, it will be up against GroupM, which already has four telecom companies in its portfolio - Vodafone, Tata Docomo, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications.

When Madison retained the account in 2010, it was also given the outdoor duties of Airtel which were initially handled by Portland, a unit of GroupM. Later, Madison set up a dedicated outdoor team to handle the Airtel account.

The brand has recently also been in the news for two of its new commercials by Taproot India.

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