Marketing review news
16 November 2004

Festival freebies from car companies
Carmakers are offering freebies, discounts and limited edition offers like never before.

Maruti Udyog, the country's biggest carmaker is giving out freebies of up to Rs28,900 on two of its car models in the festival week. These include free accessories worth Rs28,900 and Rs26,500 on compact cars `Zen' and `WagonR' respectively.

Hyundai Motor India Ltd has also announced a Rs3 lakh sticker price for its compact car `Santro' and customers can buy `Santro' at the discounted price till November 10.

Encouraged by the overwhelming response to the limited edition Opel Corsa 1.4 `Elite', General Motors India has launched another limited edition of the car for the Diwali season. This would be available at an ex-showroom Delhi price of Rs5.33 lakh.

Broadcasters advised not to accept ads from defaulters
Members of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) have been advised by a Joint Committee of the IBF and Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) not to accept any advertising business from advertisers that have defaulted on payments with effect from November 10, 2004, says an AAAI press release.

These include companies like Samsung, Motorola and Reckitt Benckiser

In the last IBF-AAAI Joint Committee meeting held on November 2, 2004, the members observed that these companies had been consistently defaulting and had not cleared the dues despite specific meetings with them by the Joint Committee. Also AAAI members have not been able to meet their obligations to pay broadcasters within the credit period since their advertisers are in default in meeting their dues to these AAAI member agencies, said the release.

The IBF members had earlier stopped the advertising of BPL and Ozone Ayurvedics in the past due to the constant default.

Detergent-free washing machine from Haier
Chinese white goods manufacturer Haier Appliances India is introducing a washing machine that will wash clothes without detergent. However, priced at Rs34,990, the ordinary consumers might feel using detergent would be better.

Obviously targeted at the high-income bracket that may not like working up a lather while washing dirty linen, the company has set a revenue target of Rs10.5 crore by November 2005 for the product.

The revolutionary detergent-free washing machine works on the principle of membraneous chemistry and uses electrolysis and activated water treatment technology for getting the desired results, a press statement said.

Meanwhile, the company has planned to spend around Rs45 crore during this period in marketing-related activities and has planned high decibel advertising by spending Rs25 crore in the period from October to December 2004.

SBH: Reducing credit card holder's woes
The State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) has come up with a novel idea to mitigate the woes of credit card holders. SBH has designed an innovative product that enables the credit cardholders to obtain a loan of up to Rs1 lakh to repay their credit card outstandings.

Called `Credit to Credit Cardholders' (SBH C3), the product offers loans at significantly lower rates of interest of 12.5 per cent compared to the 20-30 per cent currently charged by the credit card issuing banks on the outstanding amounts.

All active credit cardholders of banks with a good track record and no default in payment of at least for six months are eligible to avail themselves the loan under this scheme.

Pantaloon to launch 12 more central stores in three years
The second central store of Pantaloon Retail India was inaugurated in Hyderabad recently and is one of the largest destination stores in the country, only second after the Bangalore mall. Now Pantaloon Retail (India) plans to roll out about 12 to 15 such large format stores across the country in the next three years.

Rakesh Biyani, director of Pantaloon Retail (India) said the company is set to grow to about Rs1,200 crore in revenues by next year from the current Rs650 crore following this expansion. The Rs70-crore Hyderabad store, of which property developers GS Builders chipped in Rs35 crore, would have five restaurants and serve as a shopping-cum-entertainment complex.

Hyderabad Central would house several international brands and the first one to check in would be Marks & Spencer in a 4,500 sq ft facility to be followed by At Leisure and Royal Sports House.

The Hyderabad store is spread across 2,50,000 sq ft on five floors, and is the largest single centre store for Pantaloon.

Tata Indicom offers push-to-talk service
Tata Indicom has launched the commercial launch of Push-to-Talk (PTT) service in Mumbai and Pune and is the first mobile service operator in India to offer it commercially.

According to the company the service would be available on the Kyocera KY 440 colour handset, which was being made available for less than Rs7,000.

Targeted at corporates, small and medium entrepreneurs and mass consumers, the service will be available with a host of additional features like Brew Chat Applications group talk etc, said a press release from the company.

The facility is available on both the pre-paid and post-paid platforms. PTT offers direct connectivity upon the press of a button on their PTT-capable handsets, offering a walkie-talkie-like function, enabling fast person-to-person and group connectivity.

The company is also the first PTT service operator in the world to partner with CDMA technology company Qualcomm for the BREWChat{trade} based PTT solution.

Tata Tele announces single tariff plan for mobiles
Tata Teleservices has launched a single rate plan (SRP) for post-paid mobile customers that allows optimum usage and removes the confusion often created by multiple tariff plans.

The SRP offers total freedom to users by eliminating lock in feature of regular tariff plans and offering complete flexibility to select and change options from a bouquet of add-on services.

This offer is also bundled with discounts ranging from 5 to 20 per cent depending up on the usage.

Cookie makers launch gift boxes to take on chocolates this festive season
To buck the annual trend when biscuit sales dip in the festival season Cookie makers are coming up with cookie gift boxes positioned as an ideal gift for corporates this Diwali.

Parle has launched a limited range called Parle Occasions and Cookie Man has also launched a festival pack.

Priced at Rs120 each, Parle Occasions is an assortment of Hide & Seek choco-chips and cookies to be sold across Class A outlets in select cities.

Chennai-based Cookie Man India is offering "innovative gift packs" in special gift tins, packs and boxes at a starting price of Rs45. The packs are available at all Cookie Man outlets.

However, ITC Sunfeast has chosen to focus on new offerings instead of gift packs and has launched its 'confetti-special' cream variants like coconut, strawberry and pineapple to meet the festive mood.

Tata Tea ups focus on branded tea
Chennai: Tata Tea is focussing on the branded segment of the domestic and international tea markets to increase its market share. The company is also planning to enter new markets to spur its topline and bottomline growth in the current fiscal.

Tata Tea's focus on branded tea is because of higher margins as at present 83 per cent of its total business is coming from the branded business while the share of bulk business in total turnover has come down to just 8 per cent.

Tata Tea's strategy to promote its branded tea business includes strengthening its share in existing market and expanding to new markets. The company has been selling its products in Europe, Russia and Pakistan and more recently into the South African market.

The company also plans to work on product innovation in high margin categories to bring down its dependence on black tea with the increasing demand for tea variants like fruit tea and herbal tea, which accounts for 50 per cent of the global tea market. Flavoured tea and ice tea are the other two categories the company intends to focus on in the coming days.

Reckitt Benckiser to bring in more power brands into India
Reckitt Benckiser India, which is eyeing 10 per cent sales growth to Rs750 crore in 2004 is upbeat about the prospects of the Indian FMCG market. The company plans to bring several of its global power brands into the country over the next two years. Recently the company launched its Veet hair remover cream, which is its second product in the personal grooming category this year.

The company is now evaluating whether to launch some of its other power brands in India, including water softeners, specialised fabric cleaners, etc.

The company has launched five new products within the last 12 months including Dettol skin care soap, Mortein power booster mosquito coil, Lizol floor cleaner and a mosquito vapouriser besides Veet.

Reckitt Beckiser's power brands globally include fabric care brand Vanish and dish care brand Calgonit.

BPL Mobile launches special prepaid plan for students in Mumbai
BPL Mobile has introduced a prepaid package (the Mots Zone card) targeted at college students. The package offers a rate of 2 paise per minute for calls to any phone within the city made from within the 15 CampusZones that the company has marked out in Mumbai.

Local SMS has been set at 50 paise per message and free SMS is allowed to any one local number. A facility allows the mobile number to function as a personal e-mail ID to send and receive e-mails through SMS.

A subscriber has to choose his or her CampusZone that includes the entire college campus as well as certain favourite hangouts around it. A network innovation makes this zoning possible, according to a news release from BPL Mobile.

This product is targeted primarily at the 15 to 24 age group, said the release.

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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