Marketing review news
29 December 2005

Pepsi considers entry into 'white' beverages market
PepsiCo is considering entering the milk and / or soya-based beverage category as part of its plan to increase focus on categories other than carbonated soft drinks (CSDs). The company says it would be a value-added product where it could create a niche for itself.

According to senior company officials, products revolving around the "health" platform have emerged as the growth driver for the company this year. Among the company's product portfolio, Diet Pepsi saw the largest growth in 2005 followed by juices and water. The CSD business has also done well and the company has seen a double-digit growth in value sales, despite the fact that the company was forced to increase prices due to cost pressures.

Health drink Gatorade, which the company launched this year, has also been able to generate volumes. Gatorade will be available in newer flavours over the next few months.

In the agricultural sector PepsiCo has identified seaweeds as a key driver for exports and its Florida oranges project in Punjab is running on track. The company is also looking at producing organic fertilisers in India that increase yields of cash crops by 20 per cent.

Its party time: mobile, fixed line operators slash rates
Telecom operators have brought good tidings for the New Year.

State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam has announced a drop in monthly rental for fixed line telephones by 28 per cent, while Bharti Tele-Ventures and Tata Teleservices announced a cut in airtime charges for international long-distance calls and prepaid local calls respectively for mobile users.

BSNL has dropped monthly rentals to Rs180 from the existing Rs250 a month in urban areas and Rs210 in rural areas. The move is expected to cost BSNL Rs600 crore in revenues. MTNL is also expected to follow suit with a similar offer for its fixed line users in Delhi and Mumbai.

Mobile users also never had it so good before. Bharti's AirTel dropped ISD rates to Asia-Pacific countries to Rs7.99 a minute as part of the New Year celebrations. The initiative is part of the Bridge Mobile Alliance, which is an alliance between SingTel Mobile (Singapore), SingTel Optus (Australia), CSL (Hong Kong), Globe Telecom (the Philippines), Maxis (Malaysia), Taiwan Mobile (Taiwan) and Telkomsel (Indonesia).

The rate reductions will benefit over 15 million AirTel mobile phone customers who are now paying a maximum of Rs14 a minute for calling these seven countries. The offer is valid from January 1 to Januaary 7.

Tata Teleservices also joined the lifetime incoming free brigade introducing a lifetime prepaid card offer with a low airtime charge of 99 paise a minute. The company is also bundling a range of handsets for Rs2,199. AirTel was the first to come up with a lifetime prepaid card which allow subscribers to take a prepaid connection without having to re-charge for lifetime and get free incoming calls by paying a one-time fee of Rs999.

Though Tata Teleservices is also charging a similar one-time fee it has among the lowest airtime charges in the prepaid segment. Both Airtel and Hutch are charging Rs1.99 a minute for their lifetime prepaid card offer. BSNL has also announced a lifetime prepaid card for Rs949 with a pre-loaded talk time of Rs99. BSNL has fixed local call rates at Rs1.60 a minute for calls within BSNL's own network and Rs2 a minute for calls to other operator's network.

MRTPC stops Cello from airing comparative ads
The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission has asked Cello Pens and Stationery, makers of Maxriter and Pin Point pens, not to air any advertisements in which it compares its product with that of another manufacturer. This is on the application by the Chennai-based GM Pens International, which makes the Reynolds pens in India.

GM Pens in its application filed in 2003 said that advertisements by Cello for Maxriter pen compared its product with that of another (unnamed in the advertisement) which showed the colours of the pen – white body with a transparent mouthpiece, which was deceptively similar to the well established Reynolds 045 Fine Carbure pen. GM Pens says though its name has not been shown, but it appears from the advertisement that the other pen shown is of white body with transparent mouth piece which gives an impression that it is the product of GM Pens.

The commission maintained the temporary injunction granted in February 2003 and ordered Cello not to telecast, transmit or broadcast advertisement, television commercials or in any other manner or media claiming that Cello Maxriter pen was capable of writing for 4,000 metres.

Red Tape extends brand endorsement pact with Salman Khan
Red Tape, which manufactures formal and semi-formal shoes for men, has signed on Hindi film actor Salman Khan to be its brand ambassador for another two years beginning from January 1.

Salman would endorse the Red Tape brand of shoes through a series of print and television commercial and outdoor campaigns.

Red Tape shoes are designed in company-owned design studios in the UK and Italy and are manufactured using hides from European countries.

Red Tape shoes are available at multiple brand outlets, chain stores and Red Tape showrooms across the country. Red Tape shoes are being sold globally through the company's distribution channels in the UK, the US, France, Germany, West Asia and South Africa.

Disney characters to perform live
The Disney Channel is getting Walt Disney characters, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Chip 'n Dale to perform live in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore between January 7 and January 29 in a show called Disney Magic.

The company says India is the first country where the cartoon stars are going to entertain kids, during their six-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific region.

According to a release from the company a select number of kids will get invites to meet and shake hands with the Disney stars by participating in a contest, for which the channel has kicked off a series of promotions for the contest.

Shoe retailer Stylo to bring in Carlton brand from London
Stylo Plc of UK that sells Carlton London brand of shoes in the UK, UAE and Eastern Europe, plans to open 10 stores in India over the next one year to retail shoes, handbags and accessories.

The stores would be opened in the A and B category cities. Based on the success of these stores, the company may open more stores and also tap C category cities. However, the company has not yet decided how much investment it will make in the Indian market. Since the company would be sourcing for its India sales from India itself, the shoes would be priced lower than elsewhere.

For the supply of footwear in the Indian market, the company would partner with Carlton Overseas and Mirza Tanners, the same companies from where it sources its Indian footwear for the overseas markets.

Baskin Robbins targets young people
Baskin Robbins is looking at young people as its main target audience and is forging strategic alliances with brands targeting the youth. Addressing young adults in the age group of 19-35, Baskin Robbins hopes to enter into strategic alliances with soft drink majors in the foods industry and even non-food categories such as media companies owning satellite channels targeting young audiences. The brand has managed to shed the perception of being a `highly priced' premium brand in the country, and is now moving away from price-related issues and focussing on its product offerings.

Sonu Nigam to endorse Dabur cough drops
Dabur India has roped in singer Sonu Nigam to endorse its cough drops, branded `Honitus' for three years.

Priced at Re1 a tablet, the approach for the new campaign revolves around the superior taste and relief attributes of Honitus cough drops according to the company.

Amway to introduce new products
Amway India is planning to introduce nine new products in the Indian market. It is also planning to widen its reach to 2,000 cities and towns and aim at a double digit growth.

The company has so far introduced seven skin care products into the Indian market under its `Attitude' brand. The products under Attitude range include a cleanser, toner, moisturiser, face wash and sunscreen lotion. The company may roll out more products over the next eight months.

The company is also planning to launch a weight management product in India which is available in other countries.

Compiled by Mohini Bhatnagar

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