Marketing review news
14 October 2004

Premium handsets from Nokia
New Delhi: Swedish mobile manufacturer, Nokia, has launched super premium mobile phones under the brand name Vertu priced at Rs2.42 lakh and Rs17.2 lakh apiece.

Initially, the handset will be distributed through Regent Watch and Jewellery stores at Delhi and Mumbai.

Vertu phones, comprising the Signature and Ascent lines, comprise precious metals such as white gold, yellow gold, platinum, scratch resistant sapphire crystal face and jewelled bearings.

Chris Cairns is brand ambassador for Zingaro beer
Mumbai: Chris Cairns, vice-captain of the New Zealand cricket team has been appointed as the brand ambassador for Zingaro beer by Millennium Alcobev.

The advertising account is handled by Triton Communications.

According to the company, "Zingaro is targeted as the beverage for tough, daring, outdoor and rugged males and Chris Cairns fits in well with the brand values of Zingaro which has just gone in for a massive makeover."

Sheetal launches jewellery range
Mumbai: Sheetal Manufacturing has launched its Kiah brand of diamond jewellery with Sushmita Sen as the brand ambassador.

The company says the Kiah range would focus on innovative designs and consistent prices. The Kiah range includes rings, pendants and necklaces ranging from Rs4,000 a piece for the daily wear collection to Rs10 lakh apiece for the bridal wear collection.

Sheetal Manufacturing will invest Rs150 crore during the next two years to set up a retail chain for marketing the products across the country.

Maruti Udyog to launch Swift next year
New Delhi: Maruti Udyog (MUL) will launch its hatchback, Swift, in the Indian market by next year. The car is positioned alongside Fiat's Palio and the Hyundai Getz.

Swift will come with a 1.3-litre engine. According to company officials, Maruti Udyog has logged a sales growth of 19 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal, which has pushed up its market share from 53 per cent to 54 per cent.

This year, the company has been aggressively cutting costs of nearly all its models. Maruti recently launched TrueValue, its pre-owned cars business in Gujarat after the state government replaced the 12 per cent tax on sale of second-hand vehicles with a flat levy of Rs1,000.

Maruti's TrueValue business has been extended to six dealerships in Gujarat, taking the total to 160 dealers across 112 cities in the country.

Guffaw fest at Shoppers' Stop
Chennai: In an effort to increse traffic, retailers are getting innovative with in-store events.

Shoppers' Stop has launched a month-long `Ha! Ha! Ha! Fest' coinciding with the start of the festive season. The management feels that happy shoppers shop more and the festive ambience at the outlet aims to provide a completely different experience to shoppers and do its bit to spread happiness and reduce stress in the world.

The fest will not be restricted to the stores but has been extended to the workplace as well. Hence now all meetings at the outlets start and end with a joke and at a specific time, all employees laugh out aloud wherever they are, as a part of laughter therapy.

Apart from this, all employees are being provided humorous computer screen savers to foster the laugh culture. Also from October 14 to November 14, Shoppers' Stop outlets across the country will feature performances by clowns and mimics. Artists will also be available for customers to get their caricatures drawn.

Best telecom brand award for Airtel
New Delhi: Airtel has received the award for the world's best communications brand of the year, at the World Communication Awards 2004, organised by London-based Emap Communications Group.

Other nominees for the award include leading global brands like Orange, British Telecom, Starhub and M1.

The awards recognise outstanding performance by telecom companies and brands and are known as the `Oscars' of the communication sector. More than 50 of the world's leading telecom companies submitted a total of 123 entries for the awards.

The judges included Sean Collins, chairman, ICE, KPMG, UK; Roger Wilson, director, European Competitive Telecommunications Association; David Molony, Editor-in-Chief, Total Telecom, Christine Winter, head (global telecom sourcing) and Reuters.

McDonald's opens Bangalore outlet
Bangalore: McDonald's, among the world's leading food service retailers, has opened its first outlet in Bangalore at the Forum mall on Hosur Road. With this, the fast food retailer has made a foray into the southern market.

McDonald's has entered into a licensee agreement with Golden Kitchens, the first such arrangement for the food retailer in India. McDonald's operates, at present, through two joint ventures in Delhi and Mumbai and has a chain of 58 restaurants in Western and Northern India.

McDonald's plans to open 20 new outlets across India next year.

Trent gets into the mass market.
Ahmedabad: Trent, the upmarket retail company of the Tata Group is foraying into mass-market retailing.

Trent, which operates through 16 upmarket Westside stores across the country, plans to set up `Star India Bazaar' outlets in Mumbai and Bangalore in the near future.

The first outlet of the hypermarket chain will open in Ahmedabad, spread over a covered area of over 50,000 sq. feet, by November this year.

According to sources in the company, Star India Bazaar will offer a good shopping experience at affordable prices. It will be a very large format store and stock all items of daily household needs under one roof. The product range will include groceries, durables, apparels, utensils and plastic items.

HLL re-enters whitening segment with Pepsodent
Mumbai: Hindustan Lever has again entered the whitening toothpaste segment this time under the Pepsodent brand.

Last year HLL withdrew Close up Whitening toothpaste but has introduced Pepsodent Whitening with Perlite (an effective polishing agent proven to whiten teeth).

The toothpaste comes for Rs40 for 175gm and Rs20 for 80gm.

HLL has been cutting variants of its Close Up brand. The new Pepsodent Whitening variant has been brought in from Unilever's worldwide portfolio and has been added to the existing Pepsodent range, which at present comprises variants such as Pepsodent 2-in-1 Germi Check Plus, Pepsodent G Gum Care and the regular Pepsodent Fresh and Family flavours.

At present, Colgate has whitening variants such as Colgate Simply White (an imported product at the top end of the gel market), Colgate Herbal White and Colgate Whitening.

Philips prepares for Diwali sales
Mumbai: Philips India is getting ready to take advantage of the festive season. The company has slashed prices on its range of consumer electronics for the Diwali season, and has earmarked Rs20 crore to spend on advertising and promotional activities during this period.

In categories like televisions, the company has reduced prices by almost 20 to 30 per cent and a 15-inch Philips television now is priced at Rs 7,990 now as against the earlier Rs 9,990.

The company has also tied up with a number of finance companies to offer customers the facility of consumer finance. It also offers a four-year of warranty on the products.

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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