Marketing review news
26 October 2006

Maruti Suzuki again tops JD power survey
In a survey conducted by automotive consultants, JD Power Asia Pacific, Maruti Suzuki has emerged as the most preferred car company in the country in terms of customer satisfaction for the seventh consecutive year.

Maruti Suzuki scored 848 index points on a 1,000-point scale, against the industry average of 776 points. J D Power Asia Pacific India, director, Mohit Arora said nearly 50 per cent of Maruti Suzuki's customers indicated that their expectations were exceeded, leading to particularly high levels of loyalty.

Ford India stood at the second place followed by Mahindra and Toyota, which tied at the third place.

The study was that Tata Motors' performance on the customer satisfaction index had improved significantly and the company added 31 points to its last years' score. The customer satisfaction survey measures the overall satisfaction of vehicle owners who visited authorised dealer or service centres for maintenance or repair work during the first 12-18 months of ownership.

Sahara India fixes MRP for pay channel
Sahara India TV Network has fixed a maximum retail price of Rs5 for its pay channels Sahara One and Filmy.

This makes it the 11th channel to comply with the TRAI notification to broadcasters to fix a maximum retail price, excluding taxes, for their pay channels offered in CAS areas. The others to do so include Star, Sony, Zee and others.

Crossword Bookstores to enter new markets
Crossword Bookstores is expanding its retail presence across the country in the next couple of years and will open seven more stores before the end of this fiscal taking the total number to 45. It plans to have 100 stores by the end of the next fiscal.

At present the bookstore has 37 stores in three formats - corner stores, brand stores and flagship stores. While corner stores are small format, brand stores are spread over 3,000 to 8,000-sq ft, and flagship stores occupy an area of over 8,000-sq ft All these showrooms are a mix of franchisee and company-owned models.

Crossword has a total of 19 franchisee stores and the proposed new stores will be a mix of both. Its focus will remain primarily on the South and the new stores are proposed to come up in Bangalore, Coimbatore, Kochi and Hyderabad in the coming months while northern cities like Chandigarh and Nagpur will also see its presence soon. The company plans to spend on an average Rs1,500 per sq ft on doing up the interior of the stores alone.

Crossword Bookstores claims to be the first to offer browsing comfort to its customers through spacious and well-planned interiors and to increase the pleasure of its visitors the store plans to organise cultural and social events where authors and poets hold court.

Assocham proposes regulatory body to monitor advertisements
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) has proposed setting up of a National Consumer Protection Regulatory Authority to curb the increasing number of misleading advertisements.

Anil K. Agarwal, president, ASSOCHAM said in the absence of suitable regulatory mechanism, the promoters of such fake advertisements had no fear of arrest and penalty, and were cheating a large number of consumers.

Assocham has identified sectors like consumer durables, fitness equipment, herbal, beauty products, cosmetics and detergents, as well as pharmaceuticals, auto components, engineering.

The regulatory mechanism proposed by the chamber would consist of a chairperson from a legal background and 20 members and the authority would also work closely with state governments and union territories in consultation with credible voluntary consumer organisations and NGOs to generate awareness against such unfair business practices.

Acer pact with Tata Sky

PC maker Acer India has announced a tie-up with Tata Sky for a package offer according to which Tata Sky TV Satellite connection hardware, including the set-top box and the antenna will be offered free of cost on the purchase of select models of Acer desktop and notebook PCs till December 31.

The offer is available on the following models: Aspire5551, Aspire5102, TravelMate3242, AspireSA80, AspireSA17, and AspireSA85.

Core is gold for Amrutanjan
The grand old brand of balms Amrutanjan is planning to revive interest in traditional bransds. The company is putting people and systems in place to capitalise on brand awareness and expand its business in the northern and western parts of the country. The company is gearing up to focus on its core brands of Amrutanjan pain balm and its variants, as well as the products in the cough-and-cold segment.

Amrutanjan, which has strong rivals in Zandu Balm and Vicks in these segments, has a 36 per cent market share in the South, 35 per cent in the East, 13 per cent in the West and just 5 per cent in the North. In the South, its bastion is Tamil Nadu, where it has a 54 per cent market share in Chennai and 46 per cent in the rest of the State. Its all-India market share is 25 per cent.

The company has commissioned ad agency Dentsu to design a new advertising campaign for the brand which aims to make the brand more relevant to its hard-core, loyal users. According to the company the campaign will be a defensive, retention campaign rather than an aggressive, go-getter campaign.

Louis Philippe launches Don collection
Madura garments has launched a new `Don' collection under the Louis Philippe brand.

The company has signed up Shah Rukh Khan as the brand ambassador for the brand.

As the name suggests, the collection is inspired by the movie and aims to bring the Don's style to a whole new generation of fans.

According to the company, the Don concept is an inspirational one. So when the producers of the movie came calling, he was not going to say no. The company says Shah Rukh can be seen in Louis Philippe suits for two songs in the movie.

At this stage Louis Philippe has no concrete plans to turn the Don collection into a permanent line.

Yobikes to be launched in South India soon
Yo Bikes, bikes that run without petrol, don't need licences and registration, are pollution-free, drive at a 25-km / hr and cost between Rs16,000 and Rs29,000 apiece are set to be launched in South India.

And there's more: for the cost of a litre of petrol, nearly Rs55, they can run for 700 km and can be recharged anywhere like a mobile phone.

Indus Elec-Trans, auto-division of the Rs360-crore Electrotherm (India) Group, that launched battery-based bikes in Gujarat in February this year, will launch its five models across south India in December this year, for which it has set up a network of dealers.

So far, the company has established a chain of 105 dealers in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The company aims to sell 55,000 vehicles by March 2007 and double that number in the fiscal 2006-07.

SET plans to launch reality show Big Boss
Sony Entertainment Television (SET) is all set to launch its biggest show to date, Big Boss, on November 3.

The extreme reality show is based on the worldwide hit `Big Brother' and will have 13 celebrity participants including actor Arshad Warsi, who has been featured in the trailers, vying for the Rs50-lakh prize money.

The challenge is to survive a popularity SMS poll, while co-living for 84 days under constant camera surveillance and deprived of any means of communications (no pen, no paper) and entertainment (no TV).

The producer and format owner Endemol has aired hundred series across 50 countries. The daily will run from Monday through Thursday at 10 pm, and 9 pm on Fridays.

United Spirits puts super cap on its bottles to check counterfeits
In a measure aimed at checking counterfeits, United Spirits is planning to strengthen the packaging of its brands. It has changed the packaging of McDowell's No. 1 whisky and has introduced 'super cap' for it, which ensures double sealing of the bottles.

The company has also launched 60ml factory sealed bottles of the brand, which can be sold at pubs and hotels. The initiative would reinforce the confidence of the customers that they are buying the original product.

The super cap has been designed for McDowell's No 1 whisky's 180ml and 375ml bottles while the `tamper proof' smart pack has been designed for the brand's quart pack. United Spirits has underwritten the entire production of the super cap, which is made at Guala Closures.
The company says spurious brands take away between 10 per cent and 15 per cent of the total sales of any of the liquor brands in the country.

Once customers become aware of such "counterfeit-proof packaging," it will prompt them to upgrade to a higher segment such as the prestige segment. This could expand the prestige segment, which is where McDowell's No. 1 whisky is positioned, by at least 10 per cent.

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