Marketing review news
23 September 2004

Piaggio launches Ape
Pune-based Piaggio Vehicles, the Indian arm of Italian auto major Piaggio Italy, has launched it’s 1.3-tonne three-wheeler 'Ape'. A 2hp cargo vehicle with a 800-kg payload, the vehicle is expected to be priced at around Rs1.80 lakh.

Ape conforms to Euro I emission norms required for cargo vehicles (unlike Euro II for passenger cars) and by April 2005 it will adhere to Euro II norms as well.

Piaggio also plans to launch Ape with alternate fuels like CNG, LPG and diesel.

Madison enters film marketing
Madison Communications has moved into the growing field of in-film advertising and the marketing of films and music by acquiring Teamworks fp&e. The new company, with an authorised share capital of Rs1 crore, will operate under the name Madison Teamworks fp&e (Mates).

At present, Madison has six units — creative, media, outdoor, rural, PR and retail. And now, Mates will be its 7th specialised unit.

Diamond Trading introduces Sangini collection
The Diamond Trading Company, the gem-diamond marketing arm of the De Beers Group, has launched its Sangini collection. The collection comprises diamond jewellery set in gold, with a symmetrical setting of diamonds.

The company supplies about 60 per cent of rough gem diamonds to the world's leading diamentaries.

Hitachi prefers premium positioning in Acs
Hitachi Home & Life Solutions, the Indian subsidiary of the Japanese company Hitachi Home & Life Solutions Inc, has decided to maintain its price positioning and not get into the price war currently underway in the domestic air-conditioner market.

With the summer season over, most companies are planning to further slash prices of both window and split air-conditioners (1.5 tonners) to Rs15,000 and Rs20,000 respectively, to keep sales moving.

Hitachi officials said the company had taken a conscious decision not to get into low-end products merely for the sake of having a rounded portfolio.

Hitachi has only a 10-per cent share of the 1-million plus domestic market.

Its products are priced much above what other players have on offer. For instance its 1.5-tonne Quadricool comes for Rs25,000, its USP being its silent operation and the claim of 45-per cent saving on power bills. Sense-i, is another split model apart from its popular Atom and is priced at Rs34,000 as against the Atom's Rs40,000.

Bombay Dyeing to set up own retail chain
Bombay Dyeing is setting up its own retail chain at a cost of over Rs100 crore and will launch 70-odd company-owned outlets across the country over the next three years. The company has been depending on the franchisee model for the last decade and has over 450 franchisees and 30-odd wholesale distributors.

The first set of these retail stores will be located in Mumbai and could carry a new label, but will still come under the umbrella of the Bombay Dyeing brand.

This is understood to be one part of the restructuring exercise underway at Bombay Dyeing. The other would include massive capital infusion to the tune of around Rs400 crore where the textile house would go in for the modernisation of its plant and machinery at its Worli unit.

Coffee Day to expand outlets
Coffee Day Xpress, a chain of food and beverage kiosks operating in 170 locations across seven cities in India, will expand and set up over 400 kiosks by the end of the current fiscal.

The new kiosks will be set up at premium institutions, business centres, airports, hospitality areas, petrol bunks and departmental stores. Of the 400 kiosks proposed, 75 will be set up in Gujarat alone.

According to the company, it will go through the franchisee model.

Coffee Day Xpress is a division of Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company, a Rs300-crore, ISO 9002-certified company.

HLL raises prices of packaged tea brands, Surf Excel Quick Wash sachet
Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL) has raised the prices of all its packaged tea brands. It has also increased the price of the Surf Excel Quick Wash sachet by 50-paise, taking its price to Rs2.

With the hike in prices, Red Label Leaf Tea is now dearer by Rs2 at Rs47 for a 250-gram pack, Taaza Leaf is up by Rs2.50 for the same weight and Taj Leaf has risen by a rupee.

HLL’s move comes with the hardening auction tea prices caused by the constrained supply position.

Company sources said detergent prices of sachets have been raised due to recent inflationary pressure including rising costs of raw materials and transportation.

Rin Shakti brand relaunched again
Hindustan Lever has launched Rin Shakti in a new avatar, Rin Advanced, with a new formulation while maintaining the old price.

The company said the improved formulation has been launched to modernise the mix and both the powder and the bar under Rin Shakti have been relaunched while the Rin Supreme bar remains unchanged.

With Procter and Gamble eating into HLL’s market share in the detergent market, the latter has become more aggressive. The revamp of Rin follows the company's move to phase out its age-old brand Surf in favour of Surf Excel Blue a few months ago.

The Rin portfolio accounts for about Rs500-crore worth of sales for HLL each year and comprises one of the company's five 'mega' brands.

Radio Mirchi to charge advertisers at 1-second pulse rate
FM radio station Radio Mirchi has revised its ad rates and has said it will charge advertisers on a one-second pulse rate against the industry norm of the five-second pulse, with a minimum duration of 10 seconds.

The station said the current norm "compels advertisers to pay for commercial time in multiples of five seconds causing grief to advertisers as this results in either shelling out extra money or compensating on the advertisement quality."

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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