Marketing review news
13 July 2006

LG launches `Chocolate' phone
Aiming at a 10 per cent share in the GSM handset market, LG Electronics has entered the premium designer segment mobile phones segment with the launch of LG KG 800 better known as the Chocolate. The designer phone comes at an entry price of Rs16,000 and was launched globally in November 2005. The company has sold over 5 lakh Chocolate handsets worldwide since its launch.

According to the company, "The LG Chocolate phone revolutionises the way a mobile phone looks and feels. It is also the first handset from LG's new `Black Label' series of designer mobile phones, aimed at users who value style as highly as they value technology."

The handset has a MP3 music player, 128 MB of on-board memory and 1.3 mega-pixel camera and video camera. Battery life has 200 hours standby with 3 hours 20 minutes talk time. The company plans to introduce 6-8 more variants of the same model under the series in the next 3-6 months.

Pune domestics treated to refresher course in cleanliness
The home care division of 3M Scotchbrite has started a campaign that will put maidservants in Pune on a course in cleanliness to hone their skills in keeping households sparkling clean.

The campaign began with domestic helps belonging to an organisation Salsare, participating in a walkathalon where they raised slogans in favour of cleaner homes. Over the course of the next few days the company, which has an estimated 70 per cent of the market share in the organised utensil cleaning scrub pad segment, will hold training sessions for groups of maids who will be taken through the process of keeping a house clean, the correct methods of ensuring maximum cleaning and the right tools to get the job done with maximum efficacy.

The three four-hour sessions will have a few treats for the maids, including contests, clips from popular films that go with the cleaning theme and a goody bag of the company's products, that they can carry back home.

With this event, Scotch-Brite is attempting to build basic attitude towards cleaning, and through the maids spreading awareness of keeping the home and kitchen clean," said the company officials.

The company has shortlisted ten cities across the country where it will hold similar events over the next few months, with next stop being a city in North India.

Sona Mobility enters 'Sixt' car rental biz
Sona Mobility Services, a division of Sona Group, is getting into the car rental business in Bangalore with an investment of Rs10 crore. The company is also aiming to tap the large opportunities in fleet management and car leasing services.

Sunjay Kapur, CEO of the company said the company was starting with 50 cars and would grow its fleet size by 80 per cent in the next three years of its operation. Sixt would initially provide rent a car services to its enterprise customers in Bangalore. As part of its growth strategy, the company will add leasing and fleet management services to its product portfolio by November.

Postal department's move on 300gm weight limit questioned
The Department of Posts has been questioned by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) as to the basis on which it would disallow all private courier companies to carry any letter weighing below 300 grams.

Vinod Dhal, member and acting chairman, CCI, said the Commission has asked the Department of Posts whether the limit can be further lowered to ensure that there is a competition in a larger segment.

Toyota Kirloskar enters used car segment
Toyota Kirloskar Motors has entered the used car market in a joint exercise with select dealers in Pune, where the used car market is growing substantially. The company is also known to be conducting pilot projects across other key centres of the country.

In UK Toyota sells used cars under the `Toyota Approved' label.

Considering that there have been a number of product updates in the Toyota stable, there is a sizeable chunk of its models up for grabs in the used car market. These comprise the discontinued Qualis, one of the largest selling Toyota models a few years ago; the old variant of the Camry that sold in moderate numbers and even the Corolla are all prospective models that Toyota can introduce in the used car market.

The number of used Toyota car models is expected to rise once schemes like the `bullet scheme' recently introduced by the company compels customers to come and exchange their existing Toyota models for the new scheme. Moreover, the scheme is quite beneficial for the used car market as after a span of three years, the company takes back the model at a specified price. As of now, the select Toyota dealers have tied up with Automart India for purchase of all non-Toyota cars.

Maruti speaks Dil se to NRIS
Maruti has launched a unique offer, Dil Se, targeted at Indians residing abroad according to which non-resident Indians would be able to gift cars to their nominees — loved ones in India. The features of the scheme include a special price, exclusive after-sales service and convenient payment options. Besides discounts, ranging between Rs8,000 and Rs70,000, on purchase of a car, Maruti is also offering 10 per cent off on MGA (Maruti Genuine Accessories), labour and after-sales services. The company has gone a step further in its after-sales customer care and is offering a free pick-up and drop facility for two years and a back-up vehicle in case of a service delay.

Customers can easily avail of the offer by registering themselves on the internet and choosing the car to be gifted. They can then place an order by opting for one of the payment modes — Swift money transfer, credit card, or the finance option.

Maruti, along with its joint venture Citicorp Maruti Finance, is providing loans of up to 90 per cent of the ex-showroom price with EMIs starting as low as $99. The catch in the finance option is the nominee would be the borrower while the NRI customer would be the guarantor.

Honda launches the Civic
Honda has launched the much-awaited Civic, priced at Rs10.8 lakh. The four-cylinder, 1799cc car has a maximum bhp of 132 PS. Unique features of the car include door visors, wheel lock nuts on the exterior, and ambient LED lights in the interior.

Hungama to get into merchandising, Hungaming
Kids channel, Hungama is planning to enter into merchandising and would start off with merchandise of its popular shows, Hero and Sanya. The merchandise would comprise accessories and costumes used by the characters in these shows as well as stationery and toys.

The company has also got into the mobile gaming space with the launch of Hungaming, which has gameshows such Gol Gol Gullam, Full Toss and Tiger in downloadable game formats. The channel also plans to launch games based on its other shows such as Hero and Sanya on Hungaming.

Three of Hungama's shows, Doraemon, Hero and Shaka Laka Boom have been rated by a recent TAM Media Research report, as the top three shows across the seven channels in the kids' genre. The channel is now reportedly the second most popularly watched channel after Cartoon Network.

TotalFinaElf selects Armaan Ebrahim as brand ambassador
TotalFinaElf, a lubricants company, has signed up seventeen-year-old racing car driver Armaan Ebrahim as its brand ambassador for three years.

Armaan who has been racing in the Formula Renault-UK Championship for "Position 1 Racing" team, will be extensively used to support marketing and mass media communications of Elf brands. Elf would also explore motor racing opportunities for Armaan internationally. Elf has been involved with Formula 1 racing for more than 35 years.

TotalFinaElf has been in India for about 12 years now and is seeking to grow and increase its share in the lubricants market from about 7 per cent now.

Mother Dairy revamps Safal brand
Mother Dairy is revamping its fruits and vegetables brand Safal. Apart from unveiling a new logo and identity for the brand newer products like mixed vegetables and sweet corn will be launched under the Safal brand. Safal will also have a new sub-brand.

The company has also forayed into the snacks category with its sub-brand `Hot Snax' which will include products like the Aloo Burger Patty, followed by other products in the coming few months. Safal is also enhancing its fruit drinks range by adding on two variants - magic mango and fruit tango.

Mother Dairy is also beginning its marketing initiatives to promote the new logo and has spent about Rs 3-4 crore on advertising and marketing such as new television commercials apart from on the-ground marketing activities.

Cell is not enough: Eveready to distribute tea and mosquito coil
Eveready plans to use its distribution network to market not just battery cells but tea and mosquito coils as well. Supporting the endeavour is a new advertising campaign with the tagline-'Kuch Hai Extra' conveying superior performance. Eveready's earlier campaign was pegged on the tagline `Give Me Red' asserting brand and recall.

Eveready Ltd established 100 years ago, manufactures over 170-crore dry cell batteries annually and is adding capacity to produce another 40 crore batteries a year. The company's battery sales is backed by a distribution network that reaches into the rural and urban markets. The company, which is also part of the Williamson Magor group and among the top five tea producers in India, plans to exploit this network to market tea and a host of other products and recently launched it own brand of mosquito coils targeting the rural markets.

Archies to expand `Stupid Cupid' chain
Greeting cards and gifts company Archies is planning to open 25 outlets of its niche retail chain, `Stupid Cupid', across the country by the end of this financial year. Stupid Cupid, targeted at the Gen-X woman, will offer fashion jewellery and other personal accessories such as belts, perfumes, gifts and handbags.

The company has five 'Stupid Cupid' stores in Delhi and two in Mumbai and plans to open 25 stores across the country by the year-end, including four more stores in Delhi.

The stores would have all varieties of jewellery ranging from metal to stones, imported from countries such as France, Italy, China and Korea. The company is also looking at shop-in-shop presence by the year-end, where it was ready to not only have the larger Archies Galleries, but was also ready to have a section of its products like greeting cards in other bigger stores.

GM India launches Chevrolet SRV
General Motors has launched a sports car, Chevrolet SRV, with a starting price of Rs 6.97 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). Targeted at young professionals, the car is also available with `option pack' with additional features at a price of Rs 7.51 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The car is based on the Optra platform and comes with a 1.6 litre petrol engine.

The company has also announced plans to launch its high-volume mini car Spark by next calendar year. The car would roll out from the company's plant in Halol (Gujarat). The biggest plus for the company is that the car would get the benefit of excise duty cut for small cars announced by the Government in this year's budget.

GM also plans to roll out a CNG variant of its premium sedan Optra next month and a diesel variant by the first quarter of next year.

Parry introduces student travel pack
Parry Travels, part of the Murugappa Group, has launched `Travel 2 Campus' — a travel pack offering airfare, medical insurance and foreign exchange for students going abroad.

According to a press release from the company, the repayment period ranges from 12 to 36 months. Students can pay Rs3,800 per month instead of a lump sum upfront. As medical insurance is mandatory for US universities, Parry Travels offers insurance to suit different university requirement, including coverage for drug abuse, alcoholism and nervous breakdowns.

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