Packages Ltd initiates $1.5 million media review

One network, one independent, and two affiliate media agencies are bidding for the nearly Rs. 250 million media review by the multinational packaging company.

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Packages Ltd has shortlisted OMD Pakistan, Starcom Pakistan, and IG Square for its Rs250 million ($1.5 million) media review. According to the annual reports of Packages Ltd, the company spent Rs1,254 million in 2019, Rs. 1,168 million in 2018, Rs918 million in 2017, Rs922 million in 2016, Rs678 million in 2015, and Rs580 million in 2014 on distribution and marketing costs which the advertising and media budget is a part of. 

The timing of the media review is linked to the seasonal change which will spike demand for the boxed tissues, toilet rolls, kitchen towels, napkins, hand towels, pocket packs, and wet wipes manufactured by the Lahore-based multinational packaging company. GroupM Pakistan is the incumbent, through its Lahore-based Maxus.

The media review came to the attention of Profit after a flurry of requests from strategy and business directors for retail data, consumer studies, and brand health tracking (BHT) reports. The requests seen by Profit began to flood private groups on Reddit, Facebook, and WhatsApp populated by Pakistan-based executives in advertising, research, and media. The lion’s share of posts seen by Profit requested copies of reports from Euromonitor.

The brief

Initiated in mid-October 2020, the media brief by Packages Limited features a case study pertaining to one of its brands: Rose Petal Facial, Rose Petal Maxob, Rose Petal Zzoop, Rose Petal Party Pack, Hi-Jeen, Double Horse, and Tulip. The categories consist of boxed tissues, toilet rolls, kitchen towels, napkins, hand towels, pocket packs, and wet wipes.

The media review cites research which implies that women – single, working, working mom, new mom – are the primary decision makers for products in the household category, adding that the buying cycle for products by Packages Limited coincides with monthly grocery shopping. This refers to either the beginning of the month or the end of the month, with the variance depending on when the principal breadwinner receives their income. 

Sources told Profit that the product category by Packages Limited sees a spike in sales during the winter months which in Pakistan is both the Q1 and Q4 of any given year. The change in weather brings with it a ripple effect of influenza nationwide, which also explains the timing of the media review and subsequent integration marketing communications campaign.

It is unclear if the brief expects participating media agencies to relate the campaign to COVID, with Profit believing it won’t be the case due to the historical and seasonal nature of influenza, allergies, and flu mentioned above.

The campaign

According to a person familiar with the creative side of the upcoming campaign by Packages Limited, the upcoming campaign will be performance based instead of a brand building exercise. Creatives shortlisted for the campaign predominantly focus on convincing Pakistani women to buy Packages Limited products when members of the household experience the flu. 

The reason to buy in the campaign will lock in on the use of three-ply paper and mentholated lotion being gentle on the skin, with the additional claim that this does not cause redness around the nose. There is also a new variant that has been described as being silky soft.

The goal

Participating media agencies have been informed that the objective is to increase the per capita consumption of tissues by increasing the frequency of use. Packages Limited wants to create top of mind and spontaneous awareness of the new variant mentioned above, adding that optimum spend efficiency is expected, and capturing share of mind of the target audience. 

This audience has been defined as SEC A and B in urban areas and top tier rural towns, with Packages Limited recognizing that due to religious and cultural reasons, Pakistanis prefer washing their hands instead of using tissues. A market research professional told Profit that toilet rolls, due to their size and pricing, are the most used variant according to consumer surveys, adding that they are used as facial tissues and to clean kitchens and toilets as well.

The media

Covering mainstream media, public relations, and digital media, Packages Limited wants participating media agencies to share a 360-degree five-month media plan that targets the aforementioned target audiences and demonstrates an understanding of cross-platform media strategies. Participants have also been tasked with justifying their approach in determining the appropriate media mix and stakeholder groups, while also being expected to share which proprietary tools they will use in the planning process.

Participants are also expected to share a client case study which details both the mass media initiative and the business outcomes as a result of the campaign. The multinational packaging company wants to know participating media agencies will leverage their respective overall muscle to reach successful pricing outcomes across suggested mediums and platforms. Participating media agencies have been asked to submit a proposal for maximized reach with three plus frequency and offer suggestions for the budget split.

The foundation

The participating media agencies have been asked by Packages Limited to share internal best practices that ensure that teams assigned to clients are well versed in media innovations, how the effectiveness of internal training is evaluated, and whether participating media agencies offer training in strategic media buying and planning to their clients.

From a project management perspective, Packages Limited wants participating media agencies to share the names of the people who will be assigned to the account in the event of a winning outcome, the types of reports which will be shared to communicate milestones & project health, and details of the internal communication structure.

From a transparent media supply chain perspective, Packages Limited wants participating media agencies to share standard operating procedures for billings, terms & conditions for payment clearance, and the media auditor used.

The result

The first round of responses to the media brief will be assessed in the second week of November 2020, with participating media agencies expecting to learn of the result by the first week of December 2020. Representatives from Packages Limited declined a request for comments pertaining to the agency shortlist and media brief.

The winning media agency will work with IAL Saatchi & Saatchi as well as BBDO Pakistan, which are the creative agencies for conventional media and digital media respectively servicing Packages Limited. With Fouad Hussain from Omnicom and Sarwar Khan from IG Square making the shortlist, Packages Limited has to choose between two former employees of GroupM as well as the new leader of Wavemaker Pakistan, and Starcom. 

While Khan, the co-founder of IG Square, declined to share with Profit which global advertising holding company his media house is affiliated with, the shortlist indicates that he is either in talks with one or that Packages Limited is unconcerned with the lack of global affiliations. Given that the participating media agencies are expected to detail proprietary planning tools, which are part of the package when taking on an affiliation, Profit is unclear on what IG Square will share.

The approach

Sources shared that all participating media agencies crafted their pitch by collecting historical data on media strategy used in the past, including competitive scoping on digital, while also taking inspiration from case studies pertaining to Kleenex and Puffs by Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble respectively. 

In light of the competition, Profit believes that the winning media agency will need to consider an approach which eliminates and avoids commoditization of its offering. This includes denoting a business sense by suggesting ideas outside of the usual media mix. For instance, a topline portfolio management strategy will exemplify strategic thinking strength. 

Whichever approach is used, the pandemic induced recession has created an environment where advertisers are seeking business partners and not vendors.  When a media agency manages to position itself as a path to business outcomes, the decision is a no brainer.

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Babar Khan Javed
Babar Khan Javed is a staff reporter covering advertising and marketing beat. He can be reached on babar.khan@pakistantoday.com.pk with details about media, creative, and digital briefs, future projects, management changes, client wins or losses, and everything in between.

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