Marketing review news
09 March 2006

Disney to air `Hanuman'
Marking the first-ever mini-series presentation of a local animation feature on any TV channel, Walt Disney Company (India) through its assignee Percept Picture Company has acquired the rights to beam children's film Hanuman from Sahara One Motion Pictures.

The channel will now showcase the film in eight episodes.
Hanuman released a few months ago in cinema halls was an extremely popular film and also received rave reviews from the trade fraternity and critics alike.

Nachiket Pantvaidya, director (programming and production), Walt Disney Television-International India, said, "Showcasing great local content is an important pillar of our localisation strategy."

Pepsi readies for the summer
As the summer comes closer PepsiCo is readying up with plans to launch new products, expand its chilling facilities, enhancing its distribution network and other new marketing initiatives.

Several of the new launches would be in the fruit juices segment as well as of PepsiCo's energy drink Gatorade. Earlier the company had launched fruit fusion, nectars and guava flavour of Tropicana juices apart from the existing mango and litchi flavours.

The company is unlikely to reduce its prices however despite the eight per cent reduction in excise duty on aerated drinks in the Union Budget.

So with a number of new campaigns on Mirinda, Mountain Dew and Pepsi Cafechino, Pepsi hopes to start the summer with a bang.

HDFC Bank launches credit card for women
HDFC Bank has launched two new card products, exclusively for women namely Woman's Advantage Debit Card and International Women's Gold Visa Credit Card. The credit card has a one-time cost of Rs2,000 for non-HDFC Bank customers and Rs1,500 for the bank's customers.

The features include five per cent cash back at select department stores, grocery shops and supermarkets, up to 15 per cent discount at select outlets such as Lakme beauty salons, Kaya Skin Clinic, Oyzterbay, Satya Paul, and others.

Cardholders can earn up to five reward points for each Rs100, if they spend above Rs5,000 in a month.

The debit card offers four per cent discount on purchase of the bank's gold bars, 50 per cent discount on locker fees for the first year and concierge services. The card also offers medical check up packages and nursing care arrangement in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

The bank is focusing on smaller cities for expanding its card base. Currently, about 20 per cent of the credit cards are issued to customers from C-category cities. The bank is targeting 50 per cent incremental growth in its credit card base next year.

HLL's tests new strategies for soaps
HLL has withdrawn Liril variants Icy Cool Mint and Orange Fresh and coming up with fresh new variants of the 30-year old brand. In 2002 it introduced Liril Icy Cool Mint, while the summer of 2004 saw the launch of Liril Orange Fresh. The variants would be seasonal in nature and would sell more during summer. The new variants would make an appearance in summer.

In an effort to give Liril a new look and feel recently, HLL for the first time ever shifted the Liril account from Lowe to McCann Erickson.

Pizza Corner goes Wi-Fi
Customers can now walk into any Pizza Corner or Coffee World outlet and experience the internet on their laptops or Wi-Fi-enabled PDAs.

Videsh Sanchar Nigam (VSNL) and Global Franchise Architects India (owner of Pizza Corner and Coffee World) have tied-up to provide Tata Indicom Wi-Fi Service in all 500 outlets that GFA India plans to roll-out across the country over the next five years.

Officials at VSNL said there is growing need of consumers to be connected anytime and anywhere. Tata Indicom Wi-Fi Service ensures that people can spend their time more productively and do their work more efficiently, wherever they may be. And with GFA's commitment to providing more than just a dining experience to their customers, this fits in perfectly.

Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) enables computers, PDAs and other computing devices to use high speed Internet without using wires or cables.

Fashion brand Carbon to expand
Carbon Accessories is planning to expand and build the brand equity for the Carbon brand of fashion accessories. For retailing the brand has signed agreements with various malls in a few cities across the country to set up 15 exclusive stores.

The brand is also associating itself with Lakme Fashion Week as the event's official jewellery accessories sponsor for the next three years. Carbon intends to have 10 exclusive stores operational by December 2006. It has two such stores in Bangalore and one in Delhi. Since its launch in 1998, it is now present in 58 retail outlets in shop-in-shop format.

Zen to appear in a new avatar
Maruti Udyog has decided to stop production of Zen model. Sources say the company could replace it with a completely new model under the same brand in a few months time. Sales of the 12-year old Zen have been falling regularly since the launch of the Swift.

From 65,000 units of the Zen sold in 2004-05 monthly sales of the Zen are currently estimated at less than 4,000 units per month. The company has decided to retain the M800 in order to compete against Tata's Rs1- lakh car due to be launched soon.

The sales of the Swift, Alto and WagonR have outpaced the Zen with the pricing overlap between the Zen and the more popular WagonR.

HLL to position new Close Up variant against Colgate's Max Fresh Gel
HLL has decided to launch a gel variant under its Close Up brand positioned against Colgate Palmolive's latest offering, Colgate Max Fresh Gel.

Close Up will now be available in a new variant---Close Up Milk Calcium Nutrient with a new "centre-filled" gel. The company says its new Close Up variant has a completely different technology as there is a new centre-filling. Its present blue coloured variant is based on milk calcium.

Last year HLL had decided to withdraw Close Up variants and continue with only Lemon Mint as experience showed that variants were not sustainable with disproportionate shares compared to the huge media spends required to support them.

However, in the current situation with heightened competition from market leader Colgate, which has launched a new offering Maxi Fresh with Saif Ali Khan featuring in its latest campaign, HLL has decided to revive its strategy. Meanwhile, Colgate is also bringing in new technology as well.

Colgate Maxi Fresh is claimed to be "the first and only toothpaste infused with cooling crystals that dissolve in the mouth completely upon brushing to release an intense rush of breath freshening power".

The cooling crystals are available in two flavours — Spicy Fresh and Peppermint Ice.

Orient Fans ropes in MS Dhoni
The CK Birla Group-owned Orient Fans has signed on cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni to endorse its products.

`Orient' has recently completed the campaign shoot with Dhoni and is likely to come with their first TV Commercial by the middle of March.

The company said Orient hopes to further consolidate its position in the market this season, riding high on Indian Cricket's new poster boy - Dhoni's bat and locks, just the way Dhoni's exploits with the bat have caught every one's attention.

New brands soon from UB, Scottish & Newcastle
United Breweries (UB) and Scottish & Newcastle that entered into a joint venture last year, are planning to launching each other's top selling brands in India and abroad.

The brands include Kronenbourg beer, a leading brand in France and the second biggest selling premium lager in the UK, and Baltica and Sagres, sold in Portugal.

The company says each of these brands have a niche market and hence will not eat into sales of other UB brands. UB's flagship, Kingfisher, too could be launched in foreign markets.

The time of the launch has not been decided. However, the joint venture would continue to work on individual brand strategies.

MUL cuts Baleno's price by Rs 8,000
Maruti Udyog has cut the price of its premium car Baleno by Rs 8,000 after custom duties were brought down in the Union Budget.

With this, the ex-showroom price (Delhi) of Baleno LXi comes down from Rs583,173 to Rs575,173 and that of Baleno VXi from Rs 665,556 to Rs657,556, a drop of Rs 8,000 in each variant.

The new prices came into effect from March 1. Maruti's models such as Esteem, Swift, Versa and Gypsy have a very low level of import content, and hence their prices will not change. In comparison, the Baleno has higher import content and benefits from the reduction in custom duties.

CAMPCO to enter toothpaste segment
Mangalore-based CAMPCO has announced plans to enter the FMCG sector by marketing, and promoting Effermint toothpaste. For CAMPCO this marks its maiden entry into the FMCG sector, while for Thrissur-based Effermint India, this is the second time that it is entering in to a marketing tie-up with a large player. It had on an earlier occasion partnered with TOMCO, the FMCG arm in the Tata

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