Marketing review news
09 December 2004

Air India, Indian Bank launch 'affordable' schemes for travel to Singapore
Air India, in association with Indian Bank, has introduced travel schemes to Singapore The schemes offer travellers the option of taking loans on equated monthly instalments (EMIs) through Indian bank's branches in Tamil Nadu.

The Singapore Tourism Board is making all out efforts to remove the perception that travelling to Singapore is expensive. The first scheme offers airfare alone on Air India flights (Chennai- Singapore-Chennai). The EMI is Rs699 for an adult and Rs466 for a child below 12 years.

The second scheme includes a `four-day three-night stay' at Metropolitan YMCA with daily breakfast, half-day city tour, one lunch and a Singapore river bumboat ride. The EMI is Rs844 for an adult and Rs613 for children below12 years.

The EMI for the third scheme is Rs909 for an adult and Rs678 for a 4-day 3-night stay at Golden Landmark with daily breakfast, half-day city tour, one lunch and Singapore river bumboat (small boat that ferries supplies for sale to a larger ship at anchor) ride.

The loan offered to residents of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry is a clean loan without security for salary earners. Loans are payable on EMI over a 24-month period. Bookings can be made through IATA (International Air Transport Association) travel agents who will co-ordinate with Indian Bank on the formalities.

Jet Airways and Hertz launch new services for frequent flyers
Jet Airways and Hertz have entered into an agreement according to which the domestic airline's Jet Privilege (JP) members (frequent flyers) can avail of Hertz's Rent-A-Car service at eight locations within India and globally, at over 7,200 locations.

The offer is available from March 1, 2005. JP members, who avail themselves of Hertz's Rent-A- Car offer in India, will earn 100 JP miles on every Rs1,000 spent, 125 JP miles in Asia, and 250 JP miles for the rest of the world for every car rental activity they undertake.

Apart from this, 'JP platinum' members will also be entitled to 25 per cent discount for self-driven and chauffeur-driven vehicles, while 'JP gold' and 'silver' members will get 20 and 15 per cent.

Hertz hopes to expand its self-drive car segment through the leisure traveller. The company had already tied up with several companies, for rental services and is looking at widening its bases by tying up with petrol pumps.

BSNL goes to ASCI against Airtel advertisement
State-owned telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) has challenged private telecom operator Airtel's claim that it is the only mobile telecom service provider in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).

BSNL has moved the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) against an advertisement published by Airtel in a news magazine dated November 22, 2004, in which it states that it is the "only one mobile service that takes you to Jammu and Kashmir."

BSNL says that the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, launched BSNL's mobile service in the state in August 2003, much before Airtel's service was launched.

Emphasising that "such an advertisement is prejudicial to the public interest and the interest of mobile subscribers," BSNL has requested ASCI to issue a proper direction to Airtel "to cease and desist from publishing such advertisement(s) material."

In a news magazine dated November 22, 2004, stated that it is the "only one mobile service that takes you to Jammu and Kashmir." But the fact is that the former PM, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had launched BSNL's mobile service in the Ssate in August 2003, much before Airtel's service was launched.

Dabur launches Hommade ready-to-use packaged soup
New Delhi: Dabur Foods has launched ready-to-use packaged soup under the Hommade brand.

The ready-to-use soup will be available in three variants of tomato, mushrooms and sweet corn. The company claims these are free of preservatives as well as mono sodium glutamate (ajinomoto).

Dabur Foods aims to capture 10 per cent of the soups category in the first year of its national rollout.

Amit Burman, CEO of Dabur Foods said Hommade soups are healthier and tastier, as the liquid soup formulation imparts the nutrition and flavour of vegetables more effectively than dehydrated soup options and does not contain chemicals like mono sodium glutamate.

Hommade soups will be available in 200-ml cartons. The tomato variant has been priced at Rs16, whereas mushroom and sweet corn have each been priced at Rs18. Each soup pack provides three servings.

The launch is being supported by an extensive marketing campaign, which involves soup festivals across metros to increase awareness and consumer trials. The company is also organising cross promotions with Real fruit juice, extensive in-shop sampling and retail visibility.

Lotte, DS Group venture to launch chewing gum
The joint venture between Lotte Company of Korea and the Delhi-based DS Group is expected to launch a chewing gum in the domestic market under the Lotte brand by December 2005.

The joint venture, in which Lotte Company has 70 per cent stake, has identified a site in Solan, Himachal Pradesh, to start manufacturing the product. The venture plans to break even within the first two years.

Lotte is present in the country through its acquisition of the erstwhile Parry's Confectionery based in Chennai.

SBI Life to launch unit-linked product
SBI Life Insurance has introduced its first unit-linked plan — finally after virtually all private insurers. The move will reduce its dependence on insurance linked to home loans that has negative growth implications.

The policy has been introduced without the option of a one-time payment of premium.

Currently, about 56 per cent of the company's premium comes through a one-time premium payment because of its dependence on insurance business linked to home loans disbursed by its parent.

The return of Shell to fuel retailing
European oil major, Shell, has restarted auto fuel retailing in India after a gap of nearly three decades. The company opened its first petrol pump in Bangalore last week.

Royal Dutch / Shell wound up its Indian operations in 1976 after its petrol pump network and refinery at Mumbai were nationalised and renamed Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).

Shell will be the first multinational oil firm to start fuel retailing in India after the government opened up the sector to private players in April 2002.

So far, auto fuel retailing in the country was a domain of the three state-owned firms — IOC, BPCL and HPCL. This year domestic private entities such as Reliance Industries and Essar Oil opened a few petrol outlets.

Shell, with a licence to open up to 2,000 petrol pumps in the country, will invest Rs250 crore in phase-I of its retail plan that focuses on setting up petrol pumps in the Southern part of the country.

Skoda launches upgrade scheme Skoda Signature
Skoda Auto India, a group company of German automotive major, Volkswagen AG, has launched an innovative branded upgrade programme called Signature.

Skoda Signature enables a Skoda car owner to upgrade to another car. In case a consumer plans to exchange, the dealer will purchase the car at an amount could be used for down payment for the upgraded model.

Skoda plans to launch a range of cars in 2005, enter new segment categories and make Indian operations its regional hub.

The company expects to grow the overall company sales by about 50 to 55 per cent next year riding on the launch of new models in segments it is currently not present. These include a `C' segment sedan Skoda Fabia, `D' plus segment Octavia II built on a bigger platform and the launch of a diesel variant of high-end Skoda Superb.

Trent to expand hypermarket, Star India Bazaar
Simone Tata's venture into retailing with the Westside chain, Trent, is set to expand its operations and will add at least two stores to the existing 16 in 2005-06.

The company, which plans to make significant investments in expanding its hypermarkets business, launched last October in Ahmedabad now plans to launch hypermarkets in Bangalore and Mumbai.

Trent, last October forayed into mass market retailing with Star India Bazaar, which sells household items, grocery, food and beverages, health and beauty products and electronic items targeted at the budget buyer through discounted prices.

The company also plans to launch two more Westside stores by February in Mumbai and Delhi. It also plans to open a store in Vadodara in the next fiscal.

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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