Marketing review news
29 June 2006

Nokia brings popular Yahoo! services through its flagship Nseries services
Nokia, the leading handset maker worldwide and Yahoo!, the number one global internet brand, have launched Yahoo! Go services. This new application will enable consumers to access a range of popular Yahoo! services including messenger, e-mail, search, connections, photos, ringtones and games on Nokia devices.

Yahoo! Go services has been optimised for Nokia N70 users and comes preinstalled on Nokia N70 and select Nokia Series 60 smartphones including the Nokia 6680, Nokia 6681 and the Nokia 6630. This will enable users to stay informed, entertained and connected to their world while on the move.

The new Yahoo! Go service provides a desktop-like interface on the mobile. The auto-sync feature offers a seamless experience by connecting users to the web services regardless of the device. This announcement is an extension of the partnership announced between the two companies in 2005, which made Yahoo! search and entertainment services such as ring tones and wallpapers available on select Nokia mobile phones.

This is first time Nokia is collaborating with Yahoo! to offer its popular internet based services on Nokia's Symbian based products to consumers. In addition Yahoo! is not charging consumers for using Yahoo! Go.

Abhishek Bachchan is Omega's new brand ambassador
Hindi film heartthrob Abhishek Bachchan is the new brand ambassador for Swiss watchmaker Omega. With this he joins icons like Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman, super model Cindy Crawford and racing superstar Michael Schumacher in endorsing the watch brand.

The company said, "Abhishek truly reflects Omega's values of performance and style."

Omega has set up four retail stores in India, two in Mumbai and one each in Delhi and Chennai and would be expanding its network in more cities.

Godrej Ezee declared a Superbrand
Godrej Ezee, a trusted specialist cleaner of special clothes for years now, has been accorded the status of Superbrand.

Superbrands International said, "After Cinthol, Godrej Ezee, with its rich heritage, has been extremely successful in creating a niche in the consumer's mind and, thereby, won this prestigious recognition.

A Superbrand is considered supreme on the following criteria-perceived brand image, brand mind share, goodwill with consumers, consumer loyalty, trust and emotional bonding with the brand.

MS Dhoni is Pepsi-MTV Youth Icon 2006
The Indian youth has cast its vote in favour of super cricketer Mahindra Singh Dhoni as Pepsi & MTV Youth Icon 2006. Dhoni joins the ranks of Anil Ambani, Rahul Dravid and Shahrukh Khan who were chosen Youth Icons in previous years.

Competitors for the top slot included heavyweights from fields like films, sports, politics, television, music and business aiming for the title of Pepsi & MTV Youth Icon 2006. This year's finalists included Navjot Singh Sidhu (Television), Abhijeet Sawant (Music), Dr Vijay Mallya (Business), President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam (Science), John Abraham (Films) and MS Dhoni (Sports).

Dhoni however, won the hearts of young Indians with the maximum number of votes out of the lakhs that came in online and via sms. On hearing the announcement Dhoni said, "When I heard that I had been voted the Pepsi & MTV Youth Icon, I was both surprised as well as overwhelmed. It is a great feeling as well as a huge responsibility to live up to expectations. It is a great honour to join the league of other Youth Icons like Anil Ambani, Rahul Dravid and Shahrukh Khan, and I can't help but feel like a man among giants."

The six final nominees were arrived at after a comprehensive ten-city study conducted by IMRB, India's premier research agency. The sample size included youngsters aged 15 to 24 from the ten cities of Ahmedabad, Chennai, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Indore, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune, post which the Indian Youth voted for their favourite. An MTV Youth Icon TV special with Dhoni will be announced later.

The associate sponsors on the event include Weekender, Castrol, HP and Ford Ikon who will give away a Ford Ikon 'Flair' to one lucky winner who voted for his/her Icon.

Pantaloon Retail ties up with Krrish: offers merchandise
Pantaloon Retail, the largest retailer in the country has entered into a revenue-sharing deal with 'Krrish' starring the film. Launching a range of merchandise, Pantaloon Retail has decided to even co-brand its carry bags with Krrish.

This will be the first time that merchandise of an Indian film will be manufactured and marketed in India through the organised retail format, on such a large scale. The range of Krrish merchandise consists of dolls, masks, key chains, colouring books, watches, activity books, rainwear, school bags, shirts, t-shirts and many other targeted at kids.

The merchandise will be promoted and marketed through a multimedia campaign covering TV, outdoors, print, as well as high visibility in the stores. Another innovative feature will be the marketing of the merchandise in multiplexes as well.

Other brands have also jumped onto the Krrish bandwagon. Since the film is targeted at kids, brands with children as their target audience are queuing up to associate with the film.

These include Pidilite which has brought out special co-branded packs of its Acron brand of `Rangeela' colours based on the film and is vending the brand at multiplexes where the film is being screened. Wills Lifestyle is the major gainer from the film. Hritik Roshan's existing contract with the lifestyle company as its brand ambassador for John Players is coming in useful for the brand.

Besides, product placements from brands such as Bournvita and Hero Honda would also be visible in the film.

Mutual funds tie up with banks for distribution
Standard Chartered Mutual Fund and UTI MF are among the number of banks that have tied up with banks for the distribution of mutual fund schemes.

Standard Chartered Bank has tied up with Indian Overseas Bank in order to make its investment services more accessible to retail investors.

UTI Mutual Fund has tied up with PSU bank Central Bank of India distribution. Under the agreement, Central Bank of India will distribute the entire bouquet of UTI MF's schemes across the bank's selected branches.

According to UTI, "This initiative endorses UTI MF's strategy to expand and value-add its access network.

BenQ launched handsets under the BenQ-Siemens brand
BenQ Corporation of Taiwan has launched four new handsets under the BenQ-Siemens brand. These handsets, which are targeted at specific segments such as music, metal phones and sliders, have been priced in the Rs6,000-Rs16,000 range and are manufactured in BenQ's manufacturing facilities located in China, Taiwan and Germany.

The company is also launching its range of LCD colour televisions in India sometime during the fourth quarter of 2006.

The company's product offerings in India include IT components and products, digital cameras, projectors, scanners and laptops. BenQ has identified India as a major market for IT products, consumer electronics and mobile handsets.

Amara Raja, Narain Karthikeyan set up racing academy
Amara Raja Batteries (ARBL), makers of the Amaron brand of batteries, and race driver Narain Karthikeyan are setting up the Amaron-NK Racing Academy in Coimbatore as a joint initiative.

The academy would be `virtual', without an actual facility to its name. Instead, the company would rent racetracks and equipment to suit its needs. Some of the initiatives that the academy would undertake would include regular racing workshops and training programmes, and the management of teams in race championships.

The first initiative the academy is taking is to holding a racing workshop later this year at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore, for which 15 young promising drivers have been chosen. Four of these would be selected to run two teams - Amaron and Speed (BPCL) - for the Formula ROLON championship. Later the academy would organise an inter-school Karting championship for drivers around the country. The academy would conduct most of its operations from Coimbatore.

Madhur service from Idea Cellular
Idea Cellular has extended its mobile entertainment services by launching 'Idea Madhur' - a niche collection of Indian classical music by maestros. The collection will be offered as dialler tones, ringtones, SMS tones, and background tones.

"Idea Madhur reiterates our commitment to enhancing our existing VAS portfolio. This genre of music, though niche, will find takers in an elite segment of customers." The music clips will be available in both vocal and instrumental versions in 30-second editions and will be priced at regular tariff levels, an Idea Cellular statement said.

GM launches NEO series of Tavera
General Motors India has launched the NEO series of the Chevrolet Tavera which comes with improved interiors and new seating options.

According to the company the new new offering raises the bar in terms of additional features and offers unmatched level of choice of seating options and features. The NEO range starts at a price of Rs7.26 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

DaimlerChrysler launches heavy duty truck Actros
DaimlerChrysler India has entered the commercial vehicles market with the launch of the heavy duty applications truck, the Mercedes Benz Actros. The model is available in two variants, the Actros 4040K and the Actros 4840K, targeted at the niche mining segment of the commercial vehicles business, which currently has a market of an estimated 800 units annually.

The Actros will be available as a completely built imported chassis and will feature a 12-litre engine. It will feature a 16-speed gearbox that utilises Telligent technology, allowing the driver to operate the gearshift lever with a flick of the wrist and automatic gear selection for economical operation and efficient driving style.

The Actros also comes with safety features such as anti-lock braking system, anti-skid braking system, air-assisted double plate dry clutch for extreme conditions prevailing at mining sites, and a Telligent Maintenance system that constantly monitors all the vehicles systems and helps unnecessary downtime for unforeseen maintenance.

The truck features concepts such as modular design cab - which ensures that in the event of a crash or accident, only the affected parts have to be changed, reducing financial strain and significantly reduced downtime before it is back in operation.

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