Marketing review news
16 February 2006

Coruscant Tec makes available Uncle Pai comics in Hindi
Coruscant Tec, a leading mobile solutions company with a focus on content and commerce, has announced the launch of a wireless application that allows Tata Indicom subscribers to read Anant "Uncle" Pai's comics in Hindi.

This is the first time that the popular Uncle Pai comics will be made available via mobile phone in regional languages.

The Uncle Pai mobile comic strips will be available exclusively through Tata Teleservices in both English and Hindi versions. The first application in the series will contain delightful stories of two boys, Chhotu and Bittu, who use their wits to tame a fierce tiger in the tales "Ch hotu Tames a Tiger" and "The Tiger in a Cage." The applications will also be available in other Indian languages including Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Bengali and Punjabi.

"Mobile entertainment is gaining momentum in India and our networks and subscribers are increasing rapidly as the demand for exciting content increases.

It is Tata Teleservices' goal to provide advanced wireless services combined with distinctive entertainment to a wider audience," said Pankaj Sethi, vice president of content and applications for Tata Teleservices. "Anant Pai's comic strips in Hindi represent an exciting opportunity for wireless subscribers to access a leading form of entertainment via their mobile device. With this association, Tata Teleservices has taken the lead to provide interesting content to its diverse subscriber base."

Race for No. 2 entertainment channels hots up
The race for the number two slot in the general entertainment space is hotting up. Star One is betting on its `driver show' - the Great Indian Laughter Challenge - to drive TRPs, Zee TV is relying on its top rated programme Saregamapa Challenge 2005, expected to be introduced in a new format.

Buoyed by the success of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge, Star One channel is adding new shows to beef up its position to the no. 2 slot among general entertainment channels. According to the latest TRPs Zee Television has overtaken Sony with its Sa re ga ma pa music sow.

Star One recently announced its `Fantastic Friday' offerings with new shows such as Don (Detective Omkar Nath), Jet Set Go (a reality game show), Mano Ya Mano (a show that explores the mystical culture and history of India) and the already existing The Great Indian Laughter Challenge.

Is BPL back in the reckoning?
BPL, which has been slowly fading out from public memory may be on a comeback trail. In a market that is being increasingly dominated by Korean brands and brands burn out very fast, coming back is no easy task. BPL is however trying to make a comeback.
Ajit Nambiar, chairman and CEO of Sanyo-BPL, is confident that the brand will regain its market share. He expects Sanyo-BPL to post over Rs 2,000-crore turnover in three years and lead the market in consumer durables as well as white goods in five years.

Consumer research has shown that while BPL is seen as trustworthy, it is also seen as a brand that lost out because it lagged behind in technology. ORG figures show that while BPL was the leader in the CTV market in April 2002 with a share of 17.2 per cent, it slipped to the fourth position by December with a share of 9.8 per cent. LG Electronics and Samsung overtook it to occupy the top two positions in the pecking order with shares of 15.3 per cent and 13.5 per cent, respectively. Since then, it has been a free-fall for the BPL brands.

On the positive side BPL was seen as a trusted band with a very good service back-up. Hence, the advertising and marketing campaign for the brand will revolve around emphasising the technology edge the brand has acquired and the trustworthiness it already has. In a few weeks, the company will also decide on its brand ambassador. The company has shortlisted a few celebrities to promote the brand. The company has decided to position the brand on the mass platform with aggressive pricing to back it up.

Sanyo on the other hand will be positioned as a niche player to address the high end

In white goods, Sanyo will have its own range of unique products such as the jumbo-sized 332-litre frost-free refrigerators and the frontloading tilted tub washing machines.

Vishal Mega Mart enters into pact with SBI for co-branded card
SBI Card has introduced its co-branded card in association with retail chain Vishal Mega Mart to tap the booming organised retail market.

"SBI Vishal Mega Mart Card is one of the best co-branded credit card that offers reward points and other benefits to frequent shoppers and would be free for those who spend above Rs7,500 per annum,'' SBI Card CEO, Roopam Asthana, said.

Some of the features of the co-branded card include Rs250 discount voucher on signing up for the card and a process by which the cardholder earns five reward points on every Rs100 spent.

McAfee's introduces mobile security tool
Anti-virus software company McAfee Inc has introduced a new mobile security software - VirusScan Mobile - for cellular operators, manufacturers, enterprises, and consumers.

The company says the solution will protect more than 17 million end-users and is compatible with 110 handset models. McAfee's VirusScan Mobile protects mobile devices against threats that originate from e-mail, instant messaging and Internet downloads, and also guards against viruses that enter through SMS, MMS and Bluetooth.

The product offers up-to-date protection for handsets as soon as threats are identified. The product will be sold via subscriptions with the option to renew on an annual basis. The product is priced at $29.99 for a one-year subscription.

Reliance opens food outlets to fuel petrol sales on highways
Reliance Industries' Mukesh Ambani, has started over 100 company-owned fast food joints along various stretches of the 5,846-km Golden Quadrilateral and north-south and east-west corridor, where it has over 1,000 pumps up and running. The company has signed up a technical services agreement with US-based Flying J, a highway hospitality service provider to the transportation sector.

The plan is to set up such outlets every 100-300 km or after four-five hour drive to coincide with meal hours when people are likely to break journey.

Reliance is pushing this model of value-added retailing in a bid to corner what it believes will be the next sector after railway and air travel to hit the growth trajectory - road travel. The company is betting big on this segment based on the increasing focus on road infrastructure in the country.

The A1 Plazas serve parattha-aloo mutter or idli-dosa-sambar to hungry highway travellers, depending on their choice, the stress being on hygienic homely food at a fair price. A `thali' at these counters comes at Rs24 and a cup of tea at Rs3.

Top retailers to refuse goods without barcode
Prominent retailers like FoodWorld, Spencers, Nilgiris, Pantaloon and Piramyd, have signed an agreement that with effect from July 1, 2006, they shall not make purchases of any merchandise that does not carry EAN barcode nor sell any merchandise without the mandatory barcoding.

Right now almost 70 per cent of the consumer products that organised retailers sell come from suppliers with EAN barcodes marked on their product packaging. For the rest retailers have to fix bar code stickers to ensure efficient billing as well as smooth movement at the back-end, that add to their costs. An EAN bar code is an internationally accepted specification which gives a company a universal country code, followed by the company and product code.

Retailers say barcoding is useful in sensitising not only suppliers but also some retailers who do not as yet realise the immense benefits that can be derived from this in tracking inventory, apart from the huge savings in cost coming from data accuracy and supplier alignment.

Himalaya to focus more on service
Himalaya Drug Company focused on herbal healthcare has opened its 92nd exclusive retail store. The new outlet in Bangalore offers 180 branded herbal products ranging from pharmaceuticals, head-to-heel personal care and veterinary therapeutics.

The company is now focusing on service and its retail outlets serve as information centres where trained managers answer consumer queries on Himalaya products. They are electronically linked to a CRM Cell, which is assisted by medical doctors.

GM unveils Chevrolet Aveo in India: US, Europe launch later
General Motors has launched its mid-sized sedan Chevrolet Aveo in India before its launch in the US and European markets.

The General Motors India president and managing director, Rajeev Chaba, that as the Government was expected to announce excise duty reductions on cars during the Union Budget, the price of Aveo was being held back till then.

The 1.4 lt and 16 lt Aveo versions of the will directly compete with Ford Fiesta, priced between Rs 5.5 lakh and Rs 6.7 lakh, and the Honda City, which come priced between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 8 lakh.
With the launch of Aveo, the company is likely to phase out the Corsa, especially the hatchback version, Corsa Sail which sells merely 200 units per month now.

Skoda to launch Laura saloon
Skoda Auto has announced the launch of a manual transmission version of the Laura saloon. The automatic manual version of the car was earlier launched. The car is priced at Rs 15.65 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai), about Rs 1 lakh lower than the automatic version.

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