Marketing review news
22 December 2005

HLL to introduce Pond's premium skin care products in India
Hindustan Lever is planning to launch premium skin care products in the Indian markets chosen from the Pond's international range. The products are targeted at women aged 30 and above. The skin care products will hit the market by February next year.

The company will first launch its range of anti-ageing skin rejuvenation and anti-wrinkle products, which have sold worth millions of dollars worth in markets like the US.

The company says that its market surveys show that women in the'30s have both the spending power and the willingness to pay for products that are proven to be effective to keep signs of ageing at bay. Pond's skin care range will fill in a small but high-potential gap in the company's product offerings. The company is planning to make the Pond's range available very selectively across key markets as they would be priced in the premium category of Rs1,000 and above and only in the four metros and a few large cities.

Sahara offers tablet PC for Rs 67,000
Sahara Computers and Electronics (SCEL) has launched the Windows XP Tablet PC priced at Rs66,999. Powered by Intel Pentium M Dothan 1.7GHz processor, the Tablet PC sports 512 MB DDR RAM, which can be further augmented to 2GB RAM for multiple application launch. The PC - NB 7630-N7 - comes with an 80 GB Ultra ATA 4200 HDD and a DVD R/RW capable of writing at 8/4/8X speed.

Wilderness Resorts to set up eco-tourism chain
Wilderness Resorts, an eco-tourism company, which has recently begun operations, has announced plans to launch a chain of resorts named Cicada across the country with an initial investment of Rs45 crore.

Wilderness Resorts has been promoted jointly by TG Ramesh, founder of Bangalore Labs, Phaneesh Murthy founder of iGate and H. B Jairaj chairman of BRB Group, a local hospitality company.

Wilderness Resorts has already identified four properties in Kabini near Nagarhole, Bandipur and Bhadra in Karnataka. It plans to set up 50 resorts across the country in five years through the development of greenfield projects and acquisitions.

Ramesh, CEO of Wilderness Resorts, said Cicada aims to be a premier eco-tourism resort chain in the country and would allow tourists to experience "wilderness vacations" under "a single umbrella."

Linc Pens to focus on exclusive outlets
Writing solutions company Linc Pens & Plastics has decided to expand the number of its "Just Linc" exclusive retail outlets from seven at present to 10 by the end of the current fiscal.

Since the launch of the first outlet under the 'Just Linc' banner in December 2004, the company has opened a total of seven such outlets across the country, including Kolkata, Mumbai, Lucknow, Kanpur and Noida.

According to Deepak Jalan, managing director of Linc Pens & Plastics, these outlets have on offer more than 100 writing instrument variants. These include the entire bouquet of Linc's offerings and imported pens such as Uni-ball of Japan, Lamy of Germany and Bensia of Taiwan.

Archies to launch new retail chain
New Delhi: Greetings cards and gift products company Archies has announced plans to launch a new chain of retail stores, Stupid Cupid, for fashion accessories and premium gifts.

The company would be opening five stores by the end of this financial year and another 10 stores in the next fiscal, it said.

Initially, the stores would be opened in Delhi and the NCR and thereafter it will open such stores in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and other major cities.

The company, which owns 55 stores at present, has another 133 stores in pipeline, it said.

Wagon R, Alto top `APEAL'
According to the J D Power Asia Pacific 2005, India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout () StudySM, released recently showed that 12 out of the 21 models covered in 2004 and 2005 improved in their APEAL scores.

Two Maruti models topped APEAL segment rankings. Maruti Wagon R ranked highest in the compact car segment and is closely followed by the Maruti Alto and the Hyundai Santro. Maruti Esteem ranked highest in entry midsize car segment, and is closely followed by the Ford Ikon and Opel Corsa / Swing.

Mohit Arora, India director at J D Power Asia Pacific said the compact and entry midsize segments together account for more than 50 per cent of industry sales volumes, he said. The Honda City ranked highest in the midsize segment for the third consecutive year. Hyundai Accent and Maruti Baleno, respectively, followed the City in the segment rankings.

Skoda Octavia ranked highest in the premium midsize segment in APEAL. The re-launched Octavia also emerges as the most improved model in the industry. Toyota Corolla ranked second, followed by Chevrolet Optra.

The recently launched Toyota Innova ranked highest in the utility vehicle super-segment, composed of MUVs, SUVs, MPVs and vans. The Innova is followed by Mahindra Scorpio and Maruti Omni.

The 2005 India APEAL study is based on responses from more than 4,500 new vehicle owners covering 12 makes and 35 models, and includes customers who purchased their vehicles between January and July this year.

Taj Business Hotels gives new positioning to coffee shops
The Taj Business Hotels is changing the positioning of its coffee shops, starting with The Verandah at the Taj Connemara, as part of a renovation programme.

The new concept includes introduction of a contemporary mix of cuisines with an open plan kitchen, which will enable guests to watch the cuisine being freshly cooked. Other features include an emphasis on wellness, healthy food, styles of cooking, local flavours, and `do it yourself' options like juices and breakfast food.

The renovation programme involves new rooms with hard flooring, wall mounted plasma TVs with DVD and surround sound systems, ergonomic furniture, task lighting, and shower stall instead of bathtub, among others.

The room renovations have been done at Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Visakhapatnam, and Chandigarh. The process is likely to continue over the next few years.

Air Sahara wins cricket team sponsorship
Air Sahara won the bid for Indian cricket team sponsorship, offering to pay Rs313.80 crore for a four-year contract. From just Rs78.10 crore that the Sahara Group paid last time round, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has managed to almost quadruple its revenues from team sponsorship.

The Air Sahara logo will now appear on the shirts of the Indian cricketers.

About 12 companies purchased the bid documents while six — IndianOil, Hero Honda, Reliance Infocomm, Air Sahara, Idea and Airtel qualified. Amongst these, Hero Honda did not participate in the final bidding. After Air Sahara, Idea was said to be the next highest bidder offering to pay Rs 286 crore, followed by Reliance Infocomm (Rs 257 crore), IndianOil (Rs 255.9 crore) and Airtel (Rs251 crore).

New variant of Bajaj Discover launched
Pune-based two-wheeler maker Bajaj Auto has introduced a new variant of the Discover. Other bikes in the company's portfolio include the CT100, Pulsar DTS-i, Avenger DTS-i and Discover DTS-i. The new Discover has been completely developed in-house at the company's research and development (R&D) department.

The 112cc Discover comes with alloy wheels — the first in its category — and has the latest features like the ExhausTEC technology, SNS suspension and a ride control switch.

The company intends to leverage the success of the Discover brand. Bajaj Auto sold a total of 77,000 of the existing 125cc Discover DTS- i in the festive months of October and November this year.

The new Discover is priced at Rs39,000 ex-showroom Pune. The production of Discover has started at Bajaj Auto's Akurdi plant and it will be available across all the dealerships by the end of December.

'Kitchens of India' offer Indian desserts
ITC has added Indian desserts to its range of ready-to-eat (RTE) brand "Kitchens of India." Initially three Indian desserts have been launched.

The company says, "Our research has shown that consumers are looking for desserts to complete the meal. We are constantly looking to cater to the pan Indian palate, which has been one of the primary drivers for the success of our Ready to Eat range."

SkodaAuto launches Laura
SkodaAuto has introduced a completely new, hi-tech diesel offering for the Indian market. Called the Laura, it comes loaded with a number of industry firsts in engine and transmission technology.

The Laura is a completely new car and is based on the bigger A5 platform of Skoda. Its exterior design exudes the classic elegance that the company's cars are known for. And yet, the Laura also comes with features that add to its modernity.

A robust, aggressive stance and front profile, large, well-defined Xenon headlamps with power washers, eye-catching, wrap-around style tail-lamps and front turn signals that are integrated into the electrically operated outside rear view mirrors are all features that add the Laura's contemporary design theme.

The interiors of the SkodaLaura include features like dual-zone automatic air-conditioning that allows independent temperature settings for the left and right side of the car, automated one-touch sunroof, rich leather upholstery, a four-way electrically adjustable driver's seat with memory settings, an illuminated, refrigerated glove compartment and a temperature controlled box under the armrest.

Other interior features include cruise control, a music system with 6-CD changer and 12-speaker surround sound package and a parking aid control with front and rear animated display.

Safety features include six airbags, automatic rain-sensing windscreen wipers, an anti-locking braking system (ABS), an acceleration skid restrain system (for preventing wheel slippage), electronic stability programme and a light assist system for automatic headlamp activation in the event of a sudden drop in lighting levels, like when inside a tunnel.

Pfizer launches Viagra in India
Viagra, Pfizer's block-buster drug grossing sales of $1 billion, has been launched in India seven years after its global launch. At Rs463 for a 50mg tablet and Rs594 for a 100mg tablet, Viagra in India is priced on par with its global counterpart, to make sure that drug is not exported from India. In the US Viagra is priced at $12 per tablet according to the company.

The company said there was a huge unmet need for the "original" Viagra in India. In the last five years, about 15 copy-cat versions of Viagra have been launched in the local market, some of them priced as low as Rs22.

About 90 million people are estimated to suffer from ED in India. The estimated local market for erectils dysfunction remedies is estimated at Rs100 crore and Pfizer expects to corner about 10 to 15 per cent of the market in two years.

Pfizer would import Viagra from France and the drug will be available at chemists' shelves in 30 cities around the country from December 26. In India the drug would be targeted for ED and promoted through specialist doctors such as endocrinologists, urologists, etc. Pfizer was not approaching regulatory authorities for other indications, he said.

This is the second major launch from the Pfizer stable this year, after anti-fungal product Vfend earlier this year.

Pfizer shares closed at Rs954.10 on the BSE on announcement of Viagra's entry in to the country, up from Monday's close of Rs919.90.

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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