Marketing review

07 Dec 2006


Levi launches iPod jeans
Levi's has launched its iPod compatible Redwire Jeans in India. The Redwire jeans merges the iPod plug and play technology into the denim apparel and have been designed by developers at the Levi's headquarters in San Francisco in association with Apple.

Each pair of jeans comes with a Tech Pack that carries six docking cradles, an earphone set with retractable wires and a tiny device that acts as an interface between the iPod and the jeans.

The Redwire Jeans are priced at Rs 9,000 and are available for both men and women.

Senior citizens can now avail of Mediclaim
Kolkata: The Kolkata-based insurance company National Insurance Co, has unveiled Varistha Mediclaim, which is a medical policy for senior citizens.

The policy has two sections. Section one covers hospitalisation and domiciliary hospitalisation expenses, while section two covers expenses for treatment of critical illnesses. The critical illness cover is optional. The sum insured is fixed at Rs1 lakh and Rs2 lakh, respectively, for section one and section two.

Under the terms of the policy an insured person may opt for a 20 per cent co-payment allowing 10-per cent additional discount in premium making the other 10 per cent co-payment compulsory.

Incidentally, the policy involves cumulative bonus at the rate of 5 per cent of the sum insured (SI) for each claim-free year, up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the sum insured. Alternatively, 5 per cent discount in renewal

Pantaloon Retail turns private labels into exclusive stores
Mumbai: Pantaloon Retail is planning to turn its private labels into individual store brands as these have been giving higher margins and revenues. The company has identified labels such as John Miller, Bare, Ajile and Rig to make a foray into the retailing industry as standalone format stores.

The company has found that its private labels generate between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of revenues and one of its oldest menswear brands, John Miller, has achieved `critical mass' to exist as a standalone store brand. Unisex brands like Bare (denim and leisurewear), Ajile (sportswear) and Rig (utility weekendwear) have also been registering significant volumes to serve as individual store brands.

Also as the brands are directly sourced from the manufacturer, it is easier to get higher margins. There is now a deliberate focus on these brands to take them out of Pantaloon into new formats. Pantaloon sports nearly 20 private label brands and it is the ladies' ethnicwear segment which is pegged to grow in excess of 50 per cent.

Its private label in ethnic ladies wear — Akkrruti — has already tied up with designers such as Rocky S. Pantaloon is also eyeing the ladies' Westernwear segment and the men's partywear segment in which it might rope in more designers to give impetus to its private label exercise.

Flat TVs increase in preference
New Delhi: More and more buyers are opting for flat screen TVs which accounted for over 50 per cent of colour TV sales in India in January-October 2006, of a total sales of 72,76,100 units.

Till October this year, the growth in CTV sales year-on-year is 7.8 per cent with Flat TVs contributing as much as 55.7 per cent according to estimates. The sales of flat screen TVs in the January-October period were as high as 39.3 per cent.

Not only is the Flat TV segment growing, but consumer preference too is shifting towards flatter displays. The LCD category has grown by 400 per cent in the January-October 2006 period, while the Plasma category has grown by 168 per cent in the year so far.

Korean companies LG and Samsung dominate the TV the TV market. Others having significant presence in the flat TV segment are Onida and Japan's Sony. While Onida had a share of 9.7 per cent in the overall Flat TV sales by October this year, Sony had a share of 9.2 per cent, though its growth rate was dismal at 2.8 per cent.

Kingfisher may soon offer real time TV, mobile services on flights
Mumbai: Kingfisher Airlines is likely to tie up with German telephone equipment company, OnAir, to install technology on board that would allow passengers to use GSM mobile phones during flights. At present, passengers are not allowed to use mobile phones during flights.

OnAir is currently testing its service allowing mobile phone calls at normal roaming rates UK-based Ryanair flights.

Sources close to the development said Kingfisher Airlines is in advanced stage of negotiation with OnAir.

Kingfisher officials said OnAir will install antenna and black boxes to decode the signals with the help of a satellite. The GSM mobile facility in Kingfisher Airlines is expected to be ready by second quarter of next fiscal.

Kingfisher Airlines has also tied up with Essel Group promoted DTH player Dish TV to provide live television experience onboard every Kingfisher Airlines. Currently, US-based JetBlue is the only airline, which has live television onboard.

Soaps could soon cost more
Mumbai: With the 28-per cent rise in palm oil prices another round of price hikes in toilet soaps is expected. Palm oil comprises 25 per cent of the total input costs in toilet soaps.

Companies like Hindustan Lever (HLL) Godrej Consumer and Nirma have hiked product prices in the last few quarters and Godrej will review its pricing by the end of the fourth quarter.

The price hike has been caused by shrinking inventories as the demand for palm oil as an alternative fuel and as cooking oils increases.
China and India are said to be the biggest consumers of this oil and there is increasing demand for the commodity in both countries. Already, palm oil prices have risen close to 30 per cent over the past year, leading manufacturers to pass on these costs to the consumers.

Maruti believes old is gold
Mumbai: In an instance of capitalising on the brand equity of a phased out model, Maruti Udyog has introduced a new model with a new look, but under the Zen brand name.

Branded Zen Estilo in India, (Estilo meaning style in Spanish) the newly launched model was sold under the brand of MR Wagon in Japan till 1999 when it was phased out.

The Zen Estilo is more of a tallboy as against the earlier low-slung Zen, has a bigger engine, is based on the Wagon R platform, and looks like a combination of the Toyota Innova and Maruti's own Wagon R.

With the Estilo, the company hopes to strengthen its position in the compact car segment.
Available in eight colour and three models -- Lx, Lxi and Vxi -- the Estilo is priced between Rs 3.2 lakh and Rs 3.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Kolkata).

The car is pitched against the Tata Indica, Hyundai Santro and MUL's own Swift, Wagon R and Alto.

Dispute over Pogo brand name
Mumbai: Turner International has dragged Wafer-maker Gee Pee Foods to court for using its Pogo channel name to brand its wafers. The Kolkata-based food company has been manufacturing Pogo chips since 1988.

G P Agarwal, managing director, Gee Pee Food Products which makes Pogo wafers said his company has been making Pogo chips long before the Pogo channel came to India. Not only this, Gee Pee Products also holds a registered trademark of the Pogo brand.

The company says it will not cede to Turner's demands and is waiting for the Delhi High Court's verdict. Pogo sports a range of potato and flavoured wafers and also had cricketer Sourav Ganguly and Shaktiman (Mukesh Khanna) to endorse the brand.

After Cartoon Network, Turner International launched its second kid's channel — Pogo — in 2004, specifically for the Indian market.

Seagram India to market wines
Mumbai: Seagram India has entered the wines category by launching the Nine Hills brand in India.

The range of Nine Hills wine includes names such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.

The wine will be available in two varieties red and white and is priced between Rs450 and Rs550.

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