Marketing review

29 Mar 2007


Hrithik Roshan is Sony Ericsson''s brand ambassador
Sony Ericsson, one of the top three GSM handset companies in India, has signed on Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan as its brand ambassador for India & SAARC countries. Roshan will endorse all Sony Ericsson products and be part of the company''s marketing initiatives.

As Sony Ericsson''s brand ambassador and role model for millions of Indian fans, Hrithik Roshan will play a key role in further strengthening the brands connect with the local audience in India, and in enhancing brand recall and popularity to fuel business growth.

The company said India is a very exciting and high-growth market for Sony Ericsson. The company has witnessed this growth through the launch of the most innovative products backed by strong customer focus and exciting marketing campaigns that revolve around entertainment.

With movies being the face of Indian society; Bollywood is one of the most effective routes to connect with the Indian audience, as it offers instant entertainment, instant identification, instant star power and strongly influences popular culture.

Advertisers shy away from cricketers
Advertisers are now keeping an arms length from Indian cricketers after their debacle in the ICC World Cup 2007.

Electronics goods major LG has announced that it would end its more-than-half-a-decade-long official association with cricket and will not renew its contract with ICC.

The contract expires at the month-end.

Consumer durables major Videocon has also pulled out advertisements featuring M S Dhoni and Rahul Dravid and says it will increase the frequency of ads featuring Shah Rukh Khan for a week after India''s ouster from the World Cup.

Videocon plans to bring Dhoni and Dravid back into their advertising campaigns in a week.

BPL Mobile wants to use brand name for some more time
The Essar Group-owned BPL Mobile wants more time to use the `BPL'' brand name owned by Bangalore-based industrialist TPG Nambiar.

The group intends to seek an extension for another couple of months, by when it would take a final decision on the name change.

The agreement to use the brand name is expiring on March 31. The Essar group has been using the trademark for over a decade.

BPL Mumbai is one of Mumbai''s oldest cellular phone operators in the country. The Essar Group had no plans to continue with the brand as it makes more financial sense to operate it under a new name.

At present, the GSM operator pays a hefty fee to the BPL Group, which owns the brand through its flagship firm, BPL Industries. The top management of BPL Mobile has initiated discussions within the company for a brand change, as to enable a smooth transition to a new name.

Titan forays into prescription eyewear segment
Titan Industries has entered the prescription eyewear segment and plans to open 150 outlets in the next three years. This will be the company''s third business after watches and jewellery.

The company will launch eyewear, including spectacles and lenses, under its new brand Titan Eye+ as well sell its Fastrack range of sunglasses and other global brands.

Titan Eye+ stores will also provide services like eye check-ups and style consultancy. The first Titan Eye+ store will open next week in Bangalore and the company plans to set up five stores in Bangalore and Nagpur by the end of April.

Titan has tied up with several international vendors for the manufacture of spectacle frames, and with Essilor and Nikon for lenses.

Glasses under the Titan Eye+ brand will start at Rs395. The company is also creating a special brand for children called Titan Dash, priced from Rs395 onwards. Frames bearing the Titan brand will start at Rs950. Dash had earlier existed as a watch brand for children.

It will also sell frames under brands Elle, Vogue, Versace, Dior, Steppers, Hugo Boss, Armani,Levis, Esprit,Oxydo, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, Silhouette, Swarovski, Dunhill and Mont Blanc.

The stores will also sell sunglasses under its homebrand Fastrack and a host of other global brands like Vogue, Esprit, Gucci, Dior, Prada, Adidas, Police, and contact lens under the company''s own brand and other established brands like Bausch & Lomb, J&J, Silklens.

Pepsi to launch nutritious beverage
PepsiCo working towards changing its image from the calorie-rich to the health-conscious, is planning to launch a nutritious beverage within three years.

The company has already set up a nutrition advisory board comprising medical and nutrients experts and is looking to work with non-government organisations such as the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.

The company will leverage its vast distribution network across the country to popularise this "vitamin-bundle."

The new drink is intrinsic to the ''performance with purpose'' agenda declared in 2006 by Indra K Nooyi, PepsiCo''s president and chief executive officer. When Nooyi visited India in December, her first official trip since taking charge of the $33-billion multinational company, she had said Pepsi would broaden its portfolio from ''treats'' (colas and high-calorie snacks) to nutritious products.

PepsiCo India has plans of launching many new beverages over three years. These include ''functional waters'', ie flavoured water as well as water mixed with nutrients and ''healthy whites'' such as soya-based beverages and flavoured milk.

The recent successful launch of soya-based drinks in China has convinced PepsiCo India of its potential here.
The company also plans to scale up Tropicana, the juice brand of Pepsi.

The company''s sports drink Gatorade will also be made available in many more tier-II cities this year.

Yogi juices to launch sharbat in tetrapacks
The Sarda group plans to launch its Yogi vita juices and sharbats in tetrapacks and PET bottles on April 1. The group expects sales to go up by 50-60 per cent in the next three years.

The Yogi brand occupies a unique position that lies between Ayurveda, FMCG, health food and drinks. The group plans to offer Indian seasonal fruit and vegetable juices for the domestic market in Tetra Pak.

The juices will cost Rs15 per pack and the sharbats between Rs65 and Rs75 per bottle.

Athletes to endorse Lenovo at Beijing Olympics
Lenovo will pick athletes from 12 countries, including India, to be its brand ambassadors for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Lenovo is one of the sponsors of the Games and will identify and sponsor the training of individual athletes in 10-12 countries.

Lenovo is launching a series of TV commercials in China on the Games through the China Central Television (CCTV) network. Lenovo is also the title sponsor of CCTV''s Olympics countdown show.

Lenovo has also been working on plans to roll out marketing campaigns globally as the Games come closer.
Lenovo hopes to work with the national Olympic committees of several countries for possible projects such as providing Internet lounges.

IOC to automate 2,000 retail outlets
Indian Oil Corporation has begun a project to automate more than 2,000 of its retail outlets across the country. In the first phase, 1,250 outlets of IOC and IBP would be automated by September 2007 at a cost of Rs169 crore to be followed by 1,178 outlets at Rs163 crore to be implemented by the middle of 2008.

Officials said IOC plans to leverage technology in its retail business to maximise facilities and benefits to its customers and help the dealers plan and manage inventory, monitor activities of their fore-court and maintain records for dealing with customer complaints and queries online.

Earlier, IOC launched its new product, "XtraRewards, the first reward programme for customers paying cash. Badminton legend Prakash Padukone was handed over the first XtraRewards Card at a function here.

Rani Mukherjee''s face to appear on Dabur Amla bottles
Dabur India is putting reigning Hindi film heroine Rani Mukherjee''s face on Dabur Amla bottles. The erstwhile reigning queens of the industry Jaya Pradha, Sri Devi, Juhi Chawla and Karisma Kapoor, who endorsed this product since 1980, did not have the chance to grace the Dabur Amla bottles, which went with a picture of an unidentifiable young woman.

But now Rani Mukherjee as the brand ambassador of the product will now be reaching out to the 35-million strong customers of Dabur Amla hair oil with her picture on the bottles. Dabur has extended its association with the Bollywood star with a brand restage and new packaging. With the brand ambassador''s face now on the front label, the company expects to increase its current 18-per cent growth in the hair oil segment. Dabur Amla was launched in 1950 and it began to be endorsed by India''s beauty queens in 1980.

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