Marketing review news
17 August 2006

Dell exchange offer valid in India
Dell Inc has launched an exchange programme under which batteries used in its PCs bought between April 2004 and July 18, 2006, can be exchanged for new ones, as the older ones have the risk of catching fire. As part of a global recall of its laptops on grounds of safety, Dell is offering the exchange scheme in India as well. The Dell exchange offer was launched following incidents of battery explosions in Dell's computers. The short circuits were caused due to small shards of metal in the batteries, supplied by Sony Corp.

To check whether the battery is affected or not the customer has to log on to the Web site and check whether the battery PPID (dell piece part identification) is affected. The words `dell' or `made in china' are printed at the back of these batteries. Customers have to type out the number written on the batteries. If the battery is subject to recall, the customer will be connected to the replacement order form. Once the order form is filled customers will receive the new batteries within 20 business days, according to Dell's Web site.

Customers can use their notebook computers using the AC adapter or the power cord that is shipped along with the notebook until the company ships replacement batteries. When the customer receives the replacement battery, he or she will also be sent the return-shipping label to return the defected battery packs for proper disposal. Dell has a recycling programme where the returned batteries will be recycled in a safe manner.

LT Overseas' ready-to-cook rice
LT Overseas, owners of `Dawat' basmati brand, is entering into the ready-to-cook flavoured rice segment. The company says it has already successfully developed ready-to-cook flavoured rice varieties and would soon launch the product in lemon, mushroom and tomato flavours. The company has also tied up with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd to sell Dawat through its cooking gas outlets.

LT overseas has also launched a basmati sub-brand `Chief's Choice' to attract institutional sales.

TV-18's Hindi news channel
Television Eighteen Network (TV-18) launched a 24-hour Hindi news channel IBN 7 which was formerly known as Channel 7 on August 15. The Hindi channel including the channel ID has been given an on-air look and is designed to give the channel a contemporary look and feel.

IBN 7 will present a multi-genre news-programming package for the Hindi news viewers.

Indus League focuses on menswear brand Urbana
Indus League, which has brands like Indigo Nation and Scullers, is focusing on its recently launched premium menswear brand Urbana comprising shirts, trousers, jackets, belts and ties and targeted at the upmarket male in the 35-45 age group. The company is positioning it as a brand that "combines technology with fashion and functionality."

Urbana products are claimed to be incorporated with technologies for sweat-, wrinkle- and stain-resistance, apart from having the `Durawhite' property for "sparkling whiteness even after several washes" and an anti-ageing formula.

The shirts and trousers are priced between Rs1,299 and Rs2,299 and the jackets at Rs3,499 and Rs4,999.

Urbana is currently available at Central Malls and Pantaloon stores and will soon be available in shop-in-shops at premium menswear retail outlets and in standalone stores. The company expects Urbana to emerge as a Rs100-crore brand in three years.

Some time ago the company launched clothes and accessories specifically designed for yoga under the brand name Urban Yoga. It has opened two Urban Yoga centres — replete with a store, a yoga studio and a resource centre — in Bangalore and Hyderabad. Plans are afoot to open 12-15 centres this year.

Tata Indicom comes out with Go-Mobile product range
Tata Indicom has launched the new Go-Mobile product range that offers 100-per cent talk time. The range offers Haier handsets with innovative tariff plans. The Go-Active pre-paid scheme offers with Haier C1000 handset one-year validity of free incoming and 1399 minutes of local Tata to Tata talk time free.

The Go-Life pre-paid scheme provides customers the benefit of 1799 minutes of local Tata to Tata talk time free for two years on Haier D1000 handset, apart from the advantage of lifetime free incoming.

Apart from 100 per cent value and cost-effective benefits, the plans will have economic rates for roaming, allowing customers to receive local and STD calls anywhere in the country. Customers only need to maintain a minimum balance of Re 1 to avail themselves of free local calls to Tata Indicom numbers. Recharge vouchers start from Rs 50 and come with a 100 per cent talk time.

Virgin comics offer India show
Virgin Comics, a collaborative effort by spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, film producer Shekhar Kapur and British maverick entrepreneur Richard Branson, has launched its Indian operations Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation in Bangalore.

The titles on offer in India under Virgin comics include Devi and Snake Woman launched in the US in July.

Virgin Comics will launch its titles in English currently and introduce regional versions in Bengali, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Assamese etc in the second phase. The books will be priced between Rs 10 and Rs 15.

FritoLay launches Kurkure Masti Squares
New Delhi: FritoLay India, a subsidiary of PepsiCo India, has launched its teatime snack, `Kurkure Masti Squares' in sweet n sour flavours. The new square shaped snack comes in two packs; a 45gm pack priced at Rs10 and a 110gm pack for Rs20.

The company says, 'With Kurkure Masti Squares, our endeavour is to give the homemaker an opportunity to add her personal touch to make tea-time snacks for the whole family.' The launch of the product is being supported by a full media campaign through television, print and field promotional activities.

Star News launches interactive news channel
Star News has for the first time ever launched an interactive news channel Actve STAR News, available on the newly launched DTH platform, Tata Sky.

Actve STAR News would reportedly be a premium version of the channel and will be available on subscription. Besides the regular news feed, the subscribers will see an on-screen prompt, which will direct them to press a red button on the remote to tune into Actve STAR News.

On pressing the button, viewers will be directed to the opening page of Actve STAR News where the screen will be split into four optional windows - STAR News, Headlines, Top Stories and Features/Specials. The viewer can then select any one and be directed towards a screen where only the selected option can be viewed.

ASCI code compulsory for TV ads
A recent government notification has made it mandatory for television commercials to abide by the codes of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).

The amendment made in Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2006 now states that "no advertisement which violates the Code for Self-Regulation in Advertising, as adopted by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), Mumbai for public exhibition in India, from time to time, shall be carried in the cable service".

ASCI says it encourages the public to complain against advertisements which they consider to be false, misleading, offensive or unfair. All complaints are evaluated by an independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) which comprises 21 members — 12 from civil society and nine from advertising practitioners. The CCC has been able to decide upon the complaints within a period of 4 to 6 weeks.

ASCI has now sought the support of the associations concerned such as Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) to persuade TV channels to adhere to ASCI's code as well as implement the decisions of its CCC in this regard.

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