Marketing review

18 Oct 2007


New compact car from Hyundai by year-end
Hyundai’s new compact car will reportedly hit the roads by the end of this year, according o Arvind Saxena, vice-president, sales and marketing, HMIL.

Code-named PA, the car is a five-passenger petrol engine vehicle, which will reportedly be priced between Santro and Getz. The car will be first launched in India, followed by exports to the rest of the world.

Saxena said “we are closely positioning ourselves in the compact car segment, which is the largest segment in the passenger car market”. The new compact would be rolled out from the company’s second plant at Chennai, which enhances HMIL’s capacity to 600,000 units per annum by end 2007.

The company had invested $1.3 billion in the plant.

HMIL plans to expand its dealer network to 250 by the end of the year, and opened its 196th dealership in the country at Kochi.

According to Saxena, Hyundai sold around 10,000 cars in the state last year. In the current year, over 8,000 cars have been sold so far, and he anticipates the final tally to be in the range of 12,000 units by year-end.

The Donut Baker comes to India
New Delhi:
Global Franchise Architects (GFA) a Geneva, Switzerland, based group that builds, operates, and franchises a portfolio of specialty food service brands in India like Pizza Corner and Coffee World, has brought in yet another specialty food brand to India - “The Donut Baker.”

The Donut Baker serves a range of innovative, high quality donuts and other bakeries, along with a menu of premium coffees and juices.

The first outlet for the brand was opened in Bangalore.

GFA plans to open four more outlets in Bangalore by end of October, followed by the pan-India expansion of the brand starting December 2007. Cities on the list for the rollout include Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai.

Speaking on the occasion, Fred Mouawad, chairman and CEO, GFA said, "At GFA we manage a portfolio of high quality brands focused on providing a great customer experience. We are happy making history again in India by being the first International Donut brand to open in the country. We are convinced that consumers will appreciate the quality, variety, and the value of our donuts, and that “The Donut Baker” will soon be a household brand across India.”

From the classic donut to specialty varieties, The Donut Baker will have a range of over 47 donuts at the store. It aims to build a strong emotional connection of trust and affinity with target customers, by producing and serving on a daily basis a wide range of consistent high quality gourmet donuts and coffee.

The Donut Baker donuts are made fresh daily from the master bakers who are trained extensively on the product internationally. Flour is imported from Australia, chocolates & fillings from Belgium, and vanilla from Cuba, The Donut Baker uses ingredients from around the world.

Focused on quality, Donuts that remain unsold within 8 hours of being produced are discarded.

Opening bell sees markets head south with the onset of winter
As the approaching winter weather cools the climes in the northern parts of India, the financial capital is seeing its markets take a cue, and heading south already, albeit before the freeze sets in.

In an announcement on its website, The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has said that on Tuesday that after consulting the government, the regulator was recommending changes in policy on participatory notes (P-Notes). It set 20 October as the deadline for comments on the proposals.

SEBI further recommended foreign institutional investors (FIIs) to stop renewing or issuing P-notes on the underlying derivatives with immediate effect. FIIs were still at liberty to issue other P-Notes, limited by the value of notes outstanding relative to their assets under custody in India.

Reuters had reported less than 24 hours ago that the bourses in Mumbai were expected to plummet on Wednesday from the time they opened. With its record breaking rally over the recent days reversed, the stock market regulator SEBI has proposed pressing curbs on flow of foreign funds into shares.

Meanwhile, the markets went into free fall this morning, with the BSE down by over 1,700 points, and the NSE by over 500 points. Trading was suspended for an hour from 10:55 am this morning, as both had hit the lower circuit breakers.

Business news channels have been broadcasting nothing else other than market related news since the time the bourses opened this morning. In a press briefing broadcast across major news channels, finance minister P Chidambaram clarified that this move by SEBI was important in the immediate term to regulate the inflow of capital, and cautioned certain commentators to refrain from making "alarmist" statements.

However, immediately after the interview concluded, commentators were speculating whether the move by SEBI, which is an autonomous regulator, was indeed autonomous, or whether it was at the behest of the finance ministry looking to control capital inflows into the country.

Ricky Ponting is the new brand ambassador for Valvoline Cummins
New Delhi:
Automotive lubricants maker Valvoline has appointed the Australian cricket team''s captain Ricky Ponting as its brand ambassador.

According to Naveen Gupta, managing director of Valvoline Cummins, "Valvoline today stands for superb performance and reliability. Ricky Ponting epitomises the Valvoline brand''s ideology of high performance, reliability and leadership.

Valvoline Cummins also launched a new engine oil for four-stroke motorcycles, christened Champ 4T, and positioned as the ideal engine oil for all 4-stroke motorbikes where 20W40 viscometrics have been recommended. Champ 4T claims to provide strong heat resistance while simultaneously maintaining a cleaner engine, and reducing valve train wear.

In India, Valvoline operates through a joint venture with Cummins Sales and Services.

McDonald''s Rs300 crore expansion plan for India
New Delhi:
McDonald''s India, the quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain has announced plans to invest Rs300 crore over the course of the next three years as part of an expansion plan that will see it opening express service restaurants at airports and railway stations, and outlets along highways.

According to Vikram Bakshi, managing director of McDonald''s India for the north and eastern region, the chain is aiming to triple the number of outlets is has within a three to five year time span, at an approximate cost of Rs300 crore. Presently, McDonald''s has 122 outlets in India, and added the 123rd when it opened a restaurant at the Shalimar Bagh area in Delhi.

By 2010, the company would have set up a number of these new outlets, as well as expanded its back-end supply chain to support them.

In India, McDonald''s is a joint-venture company managed by Indian partners. Amit Jatia''s company Hardcastle Restaurants Private Limited owns and manages McDonald''s restaurants in the west. In the north, McDonald''s Restaurants are owned and managed by Vikram Bakshi''s Connaught Plaza Restaurants Private Limited. Both companies either buy or take premises on a long-term arrangement.

McDonald''s has already opened a restaurant in the terminal 1A premises at Delhi''s domestic airport, and has signed an agreement with Indian Railways for starting operations at the old Delhi railway station. For the highway expansion, the company has a tie-up with Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum.

The immediate focus for McDonald''s India will be the metro city airports including those at Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, subject to the requisite approvals from the Airports Authority of India.

Including the restaurant at Shalimar Bagh, McDonald''s now has 123 outlets in India, of which 73 are in the northern and eastern regions, and 50 are spread across the southern and western parts of the country.

According to Bakshi, the express outlets would follow a "demand-based pricing strategy", which means that the number of products available will be limited and priced 10-15 per cent higher than the same product across other outlets of the chain.

McDonalds has in recent years customised its offering to local palettes with the inclusion of country specific products such as the McAloo Tikki, McVeggie and Pizza McPuff, which are also available in the Gulf countries that have a significant population Indians living there.

Hero Motors to enter retail home décor
New Delhi:
Having cornered the two wheeler market in India, the Hero Motors Group now plans to script a similar story in the retailing of high-end lifestyle and home decoration products. The group has partnered Stalwart Homestyles, which an exporter of home décor items to international retail chains such as Bloomingdales.

The retail venture''s stores have been branded Oma, and will have an initial investment of Rs40 crore. The company plans to open a total of 12 stores by 2008, and has inaugurated the first two stores in the capital Delhi earlier this week.

According to Pavan Munjal, managing director, Hero Motors, there is a vacuum in this segment, which "needed a corporate driven, luxury oriented home décor brand". The company hopes that their store Oma will fill this vacuum by offering Indian homemakers elements of refined living, without having to travel abroad to do their shopping.

Sony Pictures plans to retail VCDs and DVDs through Reliance Retail
Mumbai: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) has an exclusive deal on the cards with Reliance Retail, which will allow it to sell its DVDs and VCDs.

The company had set up special counters at the Reliance Mart in Ahmedabad recently, and it now wants to secure space at Reliance''s other formats such as Reliance Digital and the speciality stores for books, music and movies.

Sony is looking at special schemes and tie-ups with Reliance Retail, with a view to capitalise on the rapid rollout the retail chain is implementing across the country. These sores give Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) an opportunity to piggy-back and magnify its own presence in India, through Reliance Retail''s format.

SPHE plans to bring out exclusive titles that will be retailed only at Reliance Retail stores, and is counting on large volumes from the retailer''s large format stores.

SPHE, the Rs80-crore home entertainment arm of Sony Pictures, has decided to slash prices of its dubbed in vernacular language VCDs by 60 per cent, from Rs199 to Rs69.

Aiming to cash in on the festive season, Sony Pictures has released its international blockbuster Spiderman 3 in Hindi and Tamil VCDs at this attractive price. It has around 110 dubbed titles, which the company intends to re-price in the range of Rs69.

At these revised prices, and riding the Reliance Retail rollout in smaller towns and cities, SPHE expects VCD sales to contribute up to 40 per cent of its total sales, and plans to notch up its dubbed titles to 400 this year.

India is primarily a VCD-driven market, and pricing is key to success and growth of the category, which is mainly vernacular-based. SPHE will also start localised offerings, with the launch of Bollywood films Saawariya, along with its exhaustive Hollywood titles sourced from the company''s studios.

SPHE is also bringing the Blue-ray Disc technology to India, and is reportedly pricing the discs at Rs1,800.

Arvind Brands targets the south; plans brand extension in to footwear, watches
The Rs180-crore premium menswear brand Arrow, part of the Arvind Brands stable, is looking to expand in the accessories space while strengthening its presence in the south.

Targeting the southern part of the country and tier II cities, the brand has chalked out a growth plans of about 35 per cent annually.

The company is mulling the launch of the Arrow range of shoes and watches by next autumn-winter, and is working on possibilities of being a brand accelerator

The brand has been extended to product like ties, wallets, belts, cuff links, socks and innerwear.

Arvind Brands is working to strengthen its presence in the southern markets, which are showing a growth of about 18 per cent, and have an estimated potential to grow at 35 per cent. This promise is enough for the Arrow to multiply its exclusive showrooms to 75 from the current 35, and even introduce a range of suits by autumn-winter next year.

Arrow is trying to strengthen the brand by including a suit range into its offering under the formal wear segment, which will be Italian suits ranging from Rs8,000 to Rs30,000.

Arrow''s brand portfolio comprises three sub-brands, Arrow Formal, Arrow Urban (lounge wear) and Arrow Sports (casual wear). The Arrow women''s wear range, which contributes around 10 per cent to sales, will not see any expansion into accessories.

Formals contribute 50 per cent to the brand''s sales, with Arrow Sport contributing a 20 to 25 per cent share, and the Urban loungewear adding around 15 per cent.

Advertisers strike back; broadcasters reduce commercials breaks on TV
New Delhi:
Through the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) had tried to broker a truce yesterday with its Plan B offering of a one-month surcharge-waiver that it had announced on Sunday, the Plan B seems to have had a minimal impact on the advertiser - broadcaster - media buyer war.

Starting Tuesday, programmes across most TV channels will see ad-breaks decline to around 10-20 per cent.

Heavyweight advertisers such as Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) and Procter & Gamble (P&G) have reportedly refused to accept the IBF''s implementation of a 25 per cent surcharge on advertisements.

Now, TV executives across various channels are slogging to extend the programme duration to fill airtime that would have otherwise to led to the broadcasters'' cash tills ringing to the tune of "commercial breaks".

As a stop-gap, broadcasters are airing promos, public service advertising, along with own brand inventories would occupy the regular ad slots, as will government ads ie those issues by the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), and media ads.

According to Paritosh Joshi, president for ad sales and distribution at Star India, this situation is unlikely to continue for a very long time, as clients would soon realise the gravity of the situation. "Can you imagine TV without ads?", he responds.

Yes, sir. TV viewers would love the thought, as over the next few days they''d get unadulterated programming, without innumerable advertising breaks. What the advertisers and broadcasters should think about, is what would happen if viewers like the concept of watching programming sans advertising.

According to industry estimated, the ad-free television viewing experience will last a week at the most.

According to IBF sources, there were only a modest number of advertisers who signed up for its'' plan B of the one-month surcharge-free ad rates.

The row between the broadcasters and the advertisers started when IBF cited a hike in input cost as justification to levy a 25 per cent surcharge on all advertising rates being offered by the broadcasters, effective 16 October. Homes with cable and satellite (C&S) TV have increased from 42 million to 70 million during the past three years. In the same time, increased competition in the channel space has seen ad rates sink by 20-30 per cent.

According to reports, most mass entertainment channels have accepted IBF''s advisory to hike the ad rates through the 25 per cent surcharge. Some news, and niche and regional channels have preferred to complete existing deals with advertising clients at per existing contracts, prior to shifting to the hiked rates.

Kinetic Motor expects Flyte to spur revival
New Delhi:
Kinetic''s launch of its first scooter in collaboration with Taiwanese joint venture partner SYM, is being seen as the first step in its journey to revival.

Kinetic Motor houses the entire two-wheeler product business of the Kinetic Group. It has been seeing losses due to the inherited slow-moving motorcycle business, and the absence of a comprehensive scooter portfolio.

However, that could well be a thing of the past with the launch of the 125cc gearless scooter "Flyte", which is expected to see positive sales and much-needed volumes.

Managing director Sulajja Firodia Motwani estimates sales of 8,000 units per month by June 2008. Flyte is the latest addition to Kinetic''s scooter portfolio, which has a high-end gearless scooter ''Blaze'' as part of its partnership with Italjet. For the near future, at least one more scooter on the Flyte platform and two electric scooters are planned for the Indian market.

Flyte will compete with existing variomatic (gearless) scooters such as Hero Honda''s Pleasure, Honda''s Activa, Bajaj''s Kristal and Suzuki''s Access.

According to Motwani, Flyte has several unique features such as front fuelling, 22-litre dual storage space, and a secondary air injection engine. She acknowledged Kinetic''s marginal presence in the motorcycle segment where Kinetic sees sales of around 1,000 units each month, and said the company plans to focus its effort and investments focus is on the scooter business.

Explaining her focus on the scooter business, Motwani cited numbers, saying that according to estimates from ICRA and others agencies, the variomatic scooter market has seen growth at 23 per cent over the past six months, while bike sales have witnessed declines in double digits. In the future, variomatic scooter sales are expected to retain a faster growth clip at 14 per cent annually.

According to Motwani, the global trend shows more rural folk opting for bikes, whereas urban buyers want gearless scooters.

The Kinetic Group has decided to invest Rs80 crore in capacity expansion and working capital. Sister concern Kinetic Engineering is also looking at expanding, having bagged new projects for supplying components and engine transmissions.

Kinetic Engineering is one of two suppliers of gear boxes to the Tata Motors'' Rs 1 lakh car project. Capacities are being built at both Ahmednagar and Singur to fulfill this order.

Motwani estimates scooter business, Kinetic Motors, to break even next year.

Levi''s to add 800 stores by 2011
Levi''s Strauss is planning to add 800 stores across India by 2011.

According to Shyam Sukhramani, Levi''s Strauss (India) director of marketing, the brand has around 160 stores presently, and we double the number every year for the next three to four years.

The company has launched four collections for the Lakme India Fashion week - Levi''s Collectibles, Blue, Vintage Clothing and Red.

Sukhramani said that, Levi''s collectibles hold a lot of inspirations from the time jeans were invented around 150 years ago. Levi''s is the sponsor of a project called Gen next, which will see it visit the best fashion schools in India to select around 12 designers, of which the best will design for the company in time for the 2008 fashion show.

Levi''s has 14 flagship stores in India, and plans to add another 10 by next year. Mumbai will get one of the flagship stores by December 2007.

Discounts on motorbikes from Bajaj Auto, Hero Honda
New Delhi:
Looking to boost their festive sales two-wheeler leaders Bajaj Auto and Hero Honda have kicked in their festive discounts.

Bajaj Auto Ltd has reduced the price of its 100cc bike Platina by Rs4,000 just ahead of the weekend, which now brings its price to Rs29,990 (ex-showroom Delhi).

According to Bajaj Auto general manager marketing, Amit Nandi, the move was to counter competition in the segment during the festive season.

Countering price competition seems to be the flavour of the month, with Hero Honda also discounting its entry-level CD Deluxe bike by Rs2,020, in celebration of sales of 20 million units in India.

Bata India to diversify into clothing
Bata India is reportedly implementing a new strategy that will see it move into a new line of clothing, as well as see the conversion of a majority of its showrooms into the more popular big format outlets.

As part of the strategy, Bata will add around 70 stores a year in the coming few years, beefing up its network of 1,200 outlets across the country.

According to Marcelo Villagran, managing director of Bata India, the company would launch its clothing collection by the end of 2008, and will add to the existing product line through "Bata branded" belts and handbags.

Bata India has also reportedly decided to enhance the size of its showrooms significantly, except for those that face space constraints. The company has inaugurated 12 such showrooms already, including a 10,000 sq ft multi-storey megastore at Vadodara.

According to Villagran, Bata''s recipe for getting back in the black includes the new collection, a new positive attitude and many new stores, with an increasing focus on the ballooning Indian middle class.

Broadcasters formulate Plan B as ad firms remain stay adamant
With advertisers rebelling against the 25 per cent surcharge implemented by broadcasters in the face of rising input costs and inflation, the latter are now creating other options to avoid mutually lose-lose situation.

Irked by the 25 per cent surcharge, advertisers have threatened to take broadcasters to court over the surcharge, which was introduced by the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF), even as broadcasters claim that most channels have already sold at least 80 per cent of their ad-spot inventories for the season.

Advertisers have made it known that they are toying with the idea of cancelling these spots in favour of other media options.

Countermeasures from the broadcasters came have taken the form of more pitches to advertisers such as public sector units, government agencies and non- AAAI accredited companies. They also seem to favour ads from companies buying ad-time directly from broadcasters, rather than through the traditional route of media agencies.

Reportedly, broadcasters, while offering ad-slots to public sector majors like Indian Oil preferred to "remain flexible" about these advertisers having to pay the surcharge, and have reportedly offered similar terms to companies buying their own media. This has created some controversy in the matter.

Media buying agencies and broadcasters say that a better understanding should emerge later in the week, through discussions with various parties trying to expedite a resolution of the problem.

Money to burn: Vodafone marketing to spend lavishly in India
The UK cellular giant Vodafone, which recently bought out Hutch in India, reportedly put its plans its CEO Arun Sarin''s mouth is; the global telecom giant has actually worked out plans to spend $2 billion annually to make "inroads" into what is touted as the most dynamic telecom market in the world, as Sarin calls it.

According to Sarin, who was speaking to the media in New Delhi, since Vodafone''s entry into India, capital expenditure has doubled, and the company is now spending $2 billion a year.

Vodafone Essar, as the company is known in India, is now reportedly in talks to share infrastructure, which will include mobile towers, with other telecom companies in India, to synergise costs. According to Sarin, Vodafone Essar and other telecom players in India are "looking at ways to piggyback" on each others'' infrastructure, to capture the billions of Indians who are yet to get themselves a phone.

Tele-density in India is as of June 2007 is at 19.86, leaving the largest share of the pie for telecom players who can make it to the market in the fastest possible way. India added 8 million subscribers in August, according to government figures. Market penetration rates are still below 20 per cent, and operators like Reliance Communications are investing billions in expansion and infrastructure, especially in India''s vast rural regions.

Spencer''s to reduce its retail formats
New Delhi:
RPG Group''s retail arm Spencer''s has come up with a new branding strategy which will see it trimming the number of its retail formats, and heightening focusing on the retail of food items.

Spencer''s presently has a total of around 290 stores, which cover four retail formats, Hyper, Super, Daily and Express. The company plans to eventually reduce these to three formats.

According to Spencer''s Retail''s vice president for the northern region, Satyaki Ghosh, the company will merge two similar formats and will go with only three formats, i.e. one big box, small box and a range of stores in the middle range.

Ghosh did not part with any clues about which two formats would be merged, though he did say that Spencer''s was working on new brand names, and that the stores between the big and small box formats will retain their positions as key bread winners.

Spencer''s is reportedly investing Rs2,500 crore on its retail expansion till March 2009. It would cover around 20-25 lakh square feet of retail space by September 2008, with the total area across all formats adding up to around 17 lakh sq ft by the end of 2007.

Spencer''s is present in 32 cities, and is looking to expand into the top 119 cities across the country.

Ghosh said that women are a target customer for the company, for which Spencer''s is devising a strategy to meet their needs of value for money, better shopping ambiance, and value added services like kids play-areas.

Spencer''s small format stores will reportedly focus on food, and will offer international cuisines alongside Indian preparations in ready-to-eat, semi-cooked and pre-cooked formats, and will also have a café inside every store. According to Ghosh, Spencer''s wants to be known as a food retailer, with the small stores being basically food stores.

Mukesh Ambani says Reliance name not to be attached to retailing of ''non-veg'' items
Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani has said that the Reliance Retail project would not adversely affect small and local neighbourhood retailers.

The Reliance Industries chairman''s views come against the backdrop of unabated protests by thousands of traders, farmers and shopkeeper associations across the country, which have chosen Reliance Retail as their most visible target to voice their concerns about the entry of large corporate groups and foreign retailers into the sector.

Addressing RIL shareholders at the company''s 33rd annual general meeting in Mumbai, Ambani said that though there had been some concerns recently over the growth of organised retail in India, shareholders should remember that transformational initiatives almost always come with some challenges. He said that the group''s retail initiative will not jeopardise small traders in any way, and has been taken for the benefit and development of rural India, while offering a wider and better choice for consumers.

Addressing a shareholder''s question about retailing meat, poultry and fish, which are staple shelf items across supermarkets, Ambani clarified that the retail endeavour would not "attach its name with ''non-veg''".

The shareholder said that this would be abhorrent to a large section of the (Gujarati family promoted) company''s vegetarian shareholders who came from the Gujarat-Rajasthan belt in the country, claiming to know individuals who had liquidated their stake in the company when they came to know of the plans to retail non-vegetarian wares.

Ambani clarified that while the Reliance name would not be associated with non-veg, the company''s retail operations would still "do that business," either through a subsidiary or by some other means, as a way to cater to an "integrated India," implying that Reliance''s businesses cater to all of the varied cultures in the country.

According to Ambani, Reliance Retail has earmarked an investment of around $5 billion and $6 billion, and has opened 300 stores in 30 cities since it first launched the Reliance Fresh fruit and vegetable stores in November 2006. He also added that the company would look at organic and inorganic growth opportunities in foreign markets like the US and Europe.

BSNL facilitates watching TV on mobile handsets
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has announced the launch of its "TV in mobile handset" service, across the eastern and north-eastern regions of the country.

BSNL''s GSM customers can now view 12 television channels on their mobile handsets and by the end of the year around 32 channels will be provided by the service.

BSNL has partnered with Apalya Technologies Pvt Ltd to provide content in the form of TV signals that will be available on the BSNL GSM handsets.

Initially this service will be available on select Nokia handsets, and will soon be extended to Sony Ericsson and Motorola handsets as well.

The list of channels include NDTV, CNBC, Aajtak, Times Now, Zoom, Bindaas, ETV, and TV9..

Customers can visit on their mobile phones to view the TV content, which will be free for the next 30 days.

Tata Motors launches a new, more fuel efficient Sumo Victa Turbo DI range
Tata Motors has announced the launch of the new Sumo Victa Turbo DI, an upgraded range of its entry-level utility vehicle, the Sumo Spacio.

The new range is fitted with a 3-litre Turbocharged DI engine, which delivers improved fuel economy and higher power and torque. The new engine develops maximum power and torque of 70 PS (at 3000 rpm) and 223 Nm (at 2200 rpm) respectively, which translates into considerable improvements in overall performance and driveability.

The new Sumo Victa Turbo DI delivers 15 kmpl, albeit under test conditions, which would further enhance its appeal to the commercial fleet operations segment, for which fuel consumption is an important input cost.

Other attributes of the Sumo Victa IDI range''s include a turning radius of 4.9 mts that is comparable to the radius of small cars. The vehicle''s spare wheel is stowed under the body.

The new range comprises 4 trim levels, Cx, Lx, Ex and Gx, available in both BSII and BSIII emission compliance levels. The Sumo Victa comes in a range of seating configurations, from 7 to 10 seats.

The airconditioning in the vehicle has been improved as well, with HVAC (heating, ventilation and airconditioning) being part of standard equipment on Lx, Ex and Gx variants.

The top end variant (Gx) is equipped with power steering, power windows, central locking, keyless entry, CD/MP3 music system and internally adjustable side view mirrors.

The BSII compliance Sumo Victa DI is priced between Rs4.84 lakhs and Rs5.89 lakhs, (ex-showroom Karnal), while the BSIII compliant range is priced between Rs4.95 lakhs and Rs6 lakhs (ex showroom, Delhi).

Tata Motors has sold almost 48,000 utility vehicles in the domestic market during the last fiscal, which includes 32,000 units of the Sumo range.

Since its launch in1994, over 356,000 units of the Sumo have been produced.

Lowe steals the show with Grand Effie at Advertising Club, Mumbai
At the Effie Awards 2007 organised by the Advertising Club of Mumbai, Ogilvy & Mather was adjudged the Effie agency of the year, with the Grand Effie going to Lowe.

JWT won the Maricon Uncommon Sense award for its campaign. Lowe was the people''s choice awardee for the best case for USAID''s "Yehi Hai Sahi - Condom Bindaas Bol".

McCann Erickson secured the Yahoo! Big Chair, and PSP-ONE took home top honours with the Effie client of the year award.

Lowe won the bronze for ICICI Prudential''s retirement solutions campaign in the services category, with O&M bagging a bronze for their WorldSpace campaign.

The final tally was as follows:
First Place - O&M
Adjudged Agency of the Year, scoring two golds, three silvers and two bronzes, adding up an impressive tally of 70 points. (Each gold, silver and bronze metal carries 15, 10 and 5 points respectively).

1. MotoFlip ''People Will Talk'' (in the category Consumer Durables)
2. Hutch Rangashankara Festival (in the Integrated Campaign category).

1. Motorola (''From No4 to No2''),
2. Cadbury Dairy Milk (''Miss Palampur'')
3. Asian Paints Apex Ultima (''Aan Do'').

1. Worldspace Satellite Radio
2. Mentos Helpline.
Second Place - Lowe
Last year''s Agency of the Year, which slipped a notch this year to number 2, tallying 65 points. Grand Effie awardee for its ''Condom - Bindaas Bol'' campaign.

1. ''Condom - Bindaas Bol'' campaign for client PSP One, Abt Associates

1. Maruti Suzuki Alto

1. Wheel
2. ICICI Prudential Life Insurance
3. Dabur.

Third Place - McCann Erickson
Scoring a total of 25 points.

1. Happydent White ''Palace''

1. Saffola Gold ''World Heart Day''
2. Big Babol ''Bade Kaam Ki Cheez''.
Fourth Place - Bates David Enterprise

1. Marico (''Uncommon Sense'') in the category Corporate Advertising.

Fifth Place - Contract, FCB Ulka and JWT, with a 10-point silver each.
1. Contract - HSBC MyHome
2. FCB Ulka - Hero Honda Pleasure
3. JWT -

· Publicis Ambience and Leo Burnett scored five points each with a bronze each.
· Burnett had its fifteen seconds of fame for the Tide (''Bollywood Blockbuster'').
· Ambience got a bronze for Nihar Naturals Jasmine Hair Oil (''Aami Nandini'').

Honda committed to pursuing regulations for hybrid-fuel vehicles in India
India presently has no regulations governing petrol-electric hybrids, which are known to give better mileage than conventional petrol-engine vehicles.

As a prelude to the introduction of Hybrid vehicles in India, Honda Motor Co has said that would pursue discussions with Indian authorities to help establish regulations that will eventually lead to the country offering a conducive environment for the launch of hybrid fuel models.

Honda markets the Civic petrol-electric hybrids in Japan, North America and Europe, which is known to give up to 80 per cent r mileage than the Civic''s petrol-only model.

According to reports, Honda has commenced talks with the ministry of heavy industries, and will start considering how to sell the hybrids once the requisite legislation is in place.

Hybrids, according to company sources, hold immense promise in the Indian market, through they would be hard to sell without state subsidies since they are substantially more expensive to produce than petrol or diesel powered cars. Presently, Honda sells the City, Accord and Civic sedans and the CR-V crossover SUV in India, all of whom run on the petrol platform.

Given the petroleum prices in India, drivers in the country are amongst the most cost and fuel consumption conscious in the world. Testimony to the trend is the increasing preference for fuel efficient, small diesel powered cars in the country, due to their superior efficiency, and lower fuel prices mainly on account of subsidised diesel prices in India.

Tata Sky signs pact with movie company Palador Pictures
New Delhi:
Palador Pictures, the rights holder to almost 1,000 film titles, has partnered with Direct- to-Home (DTH) service provider Tata Sky.

Under the arrangement, the DTH services'' pay-per-view Showcase will offer films from the Palador stable, which comprises works of directors like Akira Kurosawa, Jim Jarmusch, Oxide Pang Chun and Danny Pang, amongst others.

Starting Friday, Tata Sky is offering eight movies, including Akira Kurosawa''s Seven Samurai, for download over the next five weeks. Thereafter, it will replace the titles with new ones.

In a statement, Gautam Sikhnis, founder and managing director, Palador Pictures said that the alliance was a fructification of their hard work, and will showcase the collection of the best-of-the-best movies from across the world. Currently, Palador has around 1000 titles in its library, and is counting on Tata Sky to make them available to the discerning Indian audience, he added.

Reliance Retail opens fashion apparel format ''Trends''
New Delhi:
Reliance Retail has entered yet another retail format, which of standalone affordable fashion apparels, named Reliance Trends.

Launched in the national capital region at Gurgaon, the store spans 30,000 sq ft, and is the first of a 100 such stores that the company has planned to set up over a three year period.

The second and third stores are to be inaugurated at Delhi and Mumbai shortly, with the count going up to about 30 over the course of the next one year.

Reliance Trends is aimed at capturing a sizeable share of the rapidly expanding apparel industry in India.

According to Arun Sirdeshmukh, chief executive of the apparel and luggage business at Reliance Retail, the apparel industry is expected to grow to around Rs100,000 crore in three years, of which Reliance is targeting a "fair share" of the market. He added that the present growth rate of apparel industry in India is at about 12-14 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

Sirdeshmukh also said that in keeping with Reliance''s commitment to private labels, almost 30 per cent of Trends'' shelf space will be occupied by private labels such as Sparsh (Indian women''s wear), Networks (formal office wear), Netplay (casual collection for an evolving workplace) and Panda (kidswear), and even designer labels such as Anita Dongre''s AND.

Reliance Trends will house a cross-section of apparel brands, including the international ones such as Wrangler, Reebok and Lee, alongside indigenous brands such as John Players, Peter England, Indigo Nation.

Swatch Group to launch Hamilton, Leon Hatot brands in India
New Delhi:
Swiss watch maker Swatch Group, which has a significant presence in India, is in the process of launching two new brands, Hamilton and Leon Hatot. The company expects to complete the launch by the end of the year.

Aiming to cover 50 points of sale across most major cities and metros in India by December 2007, the brand presence would be mostly across multi-store outlets that already sell Swatch Group brands. The brands would also be present at high street locations and luxury malls.

Hamilton is a mid-range American brand, where as Leon Hatot is a high-end luxury brand of watches and jewellery for women. Hamilton already has a selective presence in India.

Hamilton''s manufacturing hub was moved from the US to Switzerland four years ago. Prices of watches will range from Rs25,000 to Rs80,000. The average price tag will hover at Rs35,000. The brand comprises two basic collections, the American Khakhi, which is inspired by military timepieces, and the American Classic collection that draws its inspiration from Hollywood.

For marketing and brand-value creation in India, advertising would span lifestyle magazines along with some degree of involvement with Bollywood, drawing on its previous associations with over 300 Hollywood movies.

Bharti launches 8Mbps service
Bharti Airtel has announced the launch of its 8 Mbps broadband service.

According to Atul Bindal, president at Bharti Airtel''s broadband and telephone services, the launch marks the readiness of the telecom major''s network for Internet Protocol Television (IPTV).

Announcing the national launch of the service, Bindal said Bharti''s customers could now choose access speeds ranging from 256 Kbps to 4 Mbps, and soon even 8 Mbps. These speeds enable browsing on multiple windows with faster speeds and clarity.

The service will first be launched in Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata, Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), Mumbai and Hyderabad. In later stages, it will cover 50 cities. Bindal said the pricing of the product was being worked out, adding that it would be affordable.

Angry with ad-rate hike, advertisers threaten TV boycott
Advertisers have threatened to boycott channels following the Indian Broadcasting Foundation''s (IBF) proposal to levy a 25-per cent surcharge on advertisements citing rising input costs.

IBF is an industry body representing almost all broadcast networks within the country, including the biggest broadcasters Zee, Star, Sony, Network18 and NDTV.

According to industry sources, the leaders in ad-spending, which include Hindustan Unilever (HUL), Procter & Gamble (P&G), Reliance ADAG, Bharti Airtel, Maruti Suzuki, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and General Motors are reportedly mulling a retaliatory halt to their commercials, though no confirmations are forthcoming.

Industry sources also indicate that media planners and buying agencies are engaged in mediation between the warring advertisers and broadcasters. Media buying agencies also indicate the large presence of rumours in this regard, though both media agencies and advertisers have received correspondence from TV channels that want to implement the surcharge starting 16 October.

IBF sources indicate that the rise in prices is forced by substantially higher input costs, which include the cost of programming and transportation, artiste fees, costs pertaining to procuring news, movies, and so on.

According to sources in the broadcasting business, while the number of Cable and Satellite (C&S) homes has gone up from 42 million to about 62 million, extreme competition and clutter in broadcasting space over the last three years has seen ad rates on TV channels plummet by 20-30 per cent, directly impacting channels'' bottom lines.

Sources point out that the 25 per cent surcharge is on MRP, and not on the actual rate card. That would mean that, if somebody has been paying, for example, Rs100 for a 10 second spot, the surcharge would be applicable on that rate, and not the pricing given in rate card. The actual rate card is at least 40 per cent higher than MRP.

Contractual obligations between advertisers and broadcasters are also seen as a hurdle to the implementation of the surcharge at short notice.

It could well be that, starting 16 October; you may just as well be able to see your favourite TV programmes, sans commercial breaks.

Samsung running the Olympic Flame
Samsung India has got its Olympic Programme of Beijing 2008 off the starting blocks, having signed up world shooting champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu as its Olympic brand ambassador.

Samsung is a main sponsor of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and is also an Olympic Partner for the Torch Relay. It has launched the "Spread the Olympic Flame", a torchbearer nomination programme.

According to HB Lee, president, Samsung South West Asia Regional Headquarters, "A very powerful movement like the Olympics and a strong achiever like Manavjit as our partner for Olympic-related programmes in India will make things better."

In its capacity of the Olympic Torch Relay 2008 sponsor, Samsung will invite the public to select torch bearers on its behalf. Those selected will join others who are selected by the Indian Olympic Association (IOC) for the relay in Mumbai.

Ace marksman Manavjit said, "It is a great opportunity for the public to participate in the Olympic movement by nominating their role models-people who think they deserve the honour to carry the torch. A participative programme like this will give strong encouragement to the sports movement in the country."

According to Lee, the forthcoming month will see Samsung carry out several Olympic-related programmes to generate excitement and build support for the Indian Olympic team.

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