Brand Update : 5 Star Lost in Amnesia

5 Star has a special place in the Rs 2000 crore Indian chocolate market. The unique caramel filled chocolate has been a favorite among kids who wanted a legitimate break from the usual chocolate bars. Over the last few years, 5 Star has been adopting a consistent message of " Lost in the taste " but losing the bigger picture as far as positioning and targeting is concerned.
It was in 2009  that 5 Star adopted the positioning of " Jo Khaye , Kho Jaye " meaning "lost in taste " where the basic plot is that the 5 Star lover suffers a temporary amnesia after eating this delicious product. The idea was good as the brand was always claiming superiority in taste and its USP was always the taste. One major change the brand was made was regarding the target group. 5 Star began addressing the adult chocolate lovers just like its counterpart Dairy Milk. All the characters in the ads of 5 Star was grown-ups while the message was universal. 
Then came the two protagonists ,Ramesh and Suresh, who were long-lost friends meeting in a small shop. From then on, 5 Star's entire brand was centered around these two characters. Sadly the quality of the creative has gone alarmingly down and in the name of humor, the entire brand personality was projected akin to idiotic. 

Watch the latest campaign here  : 5 Star Tailor ad
Although the ad was meant to tickle your bone, the protagonists here being  projected as sort of idiots is sad for the brand. In pursuit of humor, the brand forgotten what it wants to convey with respect to brand persona. 
The brand needs to be congratulated for its consistency with the message but it should not get carried away with the message .

Why I am concerned about the portrayal of the main characters is that in the first ad featuring Ramesh and Suresh, both were normal guys meeting each other and unknowingly lost in the taste of 5 Star. But now both these characters are portrayed as idiots ( by their look and behavior) and I feel that without eating 5 Star, they would behave in the same way. 
If these guys reflect the 5 Star users, then the brand has landed itself in a bad position. Although the ordinary consumer may not think as cynically as the author of this blog does, the brand needs to careful in the portrayal of the main characters of the story.
And why forget kids ? 
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Stop Not : Whatever Happens !

Brand : Stop Not
Company : Perfetti van Melle

Brand Analysis Count : # 505

Perfetti Van Melle ( PVM) the leader in the Indian confectionery market and a master marketer who built brands like Alpenliebe, Centerfresh etc has ventured into Indian snacks market. In its biggest diversification, PVM launched its first brand Stop Not in the Indian market. 

Indian snacks market has been a lucrative market thanks to the impulsive great Indian middleclass. Indian consumers has always pampered themselves with  homemade snacks and marketers lured them to switched to packaged snacks. ET has pegged the Indian snack market at Rs 12000 crore ( source) and Hindu Business line puts a figure of  Rs 3000 crore for the packaged snack market . The market is highly competitive and has seen many brands burning out because of intense competition. 

Stop Not is launched in two formats - Stop Not FOFS - which is a filled snack and Stop Not GOLZ which is in the form of rings.The product is made for India using rice and wheat flour and comes in Indian flavors like Yummy Tomato, Khatti Meethi, Spicy South etc.

The main differentiator for  the brand is its packaging and product attribute of   "filled and not fried ". The packaging really is clutter-breaking and gives lot of visibility to the brand.The packaging can also repel many  consumers. The brand has tried to emulate the packaging strategy adopted by Hippo brand of snacks.

Naturally a product launch from a company like PVM evokes lot of interest among the marketers. Marketing enthusiasts look forwards to some clutter-breaking campaigns from a star marketer like PVM. 
Stop Not brand is currently running its launch campaign for its GOLZ variant.

Watch the ad here : Stop Not Golz

The launch ad is nothing but a complete letdown from PVM. Nothing is new in the ad that will create any meaningful impact for the brand. The concept of " taste to die for " has been raped many times by many brands. Wonder why PVM chose to air such a commoditized idea  as its launch campaign.
Stop Not has chosen the tagline " Whatever Happens " relating to addiction to taste. It is interesting to note that the brand is trying to take the earlier positioning - " No one can eat just one " of Lays. Lays had discarded this position and Stop Not is trying to capture that vacant space. But the creative was a big letdown in this regard . 

The clutter-breaking packaging may induce lot of trials by the consumers but the sad fact is that the brand campaign has failed to create any excitement about the brand. Let us wait and see " What ever that happens " to the brand.

Brand Update : Your Time, Your Place, Your Moods

Moods, the Rs 40 crore brand from Hindustan Lifecare Ltd , is back in media with a clutter breaking campaign. The campaign " Your Time, Your Place, Your Moods "  has  already being well received among the marketing community.
Moods' last campaign  " My Man " had also received rave reviews from marketing analysts across the country. The only doubt is whether the brand  hurriedly took the previous positioning platform without extracting maximum juice out of it.
The new campaign shows various characters like a plumber, mountaineer, museum care-taker discovering evidence that moods users were there  in those 'most unlikely ' places . The surprised look of these characters give the punch to the new tagline " Your Time, Your Place, Your Moods ".

Watch the ad here  : moods 

The advertisement campaign is an attempt by the brand to bring humor into its communication. A drastic change in the brand's approach since most of the earlier campaigns were sensual in nature. The ads are refreshing and fun to watch and also gives lot of creative headroom for future campaigns . According to reports, the brand campaign is also aimed at the global markets which is a key focus for this brand. Moods is exported to more than 40 countries and in some middle east nations, the brand is a market leader. 

Condom brands are lazy marketers. The brand campaigns are sporadic and it seems that no brand is specifically interested in becoming a category leader.Gone are the days when brands like Kamasutra blazed the category with some bold advertising.

The current campaign of Moods is aimed at improving the brand recall . Although there is a significant change in the brand's personality, it does not warrant further analysis since the brand is not aggressive in the promotion front. Positioning strategy lacks relevance if it is not backed by consistent promotional activity. The changes in the positioning of Moods will not help in developing a lasting impression in the consumer's mind. How ever the condom marketers now are more interested in promoting brand recall rather than developing a powerful positioning. 
To be fair to the brand, the new ads are clutter-breaking and watchable. Without venturing into sensuality, the brand is able to convey its message. The elderly couple creates a definite iconic picture to this new idea. The new tagline is also good and packs lot of scope for further creative executions. Hope the brand stays with this idea for some time.The new campaign does its job of increasing the brand's visibility and recall which will be there till the brand decides to go back into hibernation. Kudos to the creative team behind the job.

Related Brand
Moods : My Man

KwikStik? KwikStuk!

During a recent electronics show my attention was drawn by a strange small orange device on display at the Freescale booth. It turned out to be the Kinetis KwikStik and a very enthusiastic Freescale employee immediately showed me its features and explained that it was fully compatible with the Tower system, Freescale�s reconfigurable development platform, but it can also be used stand-alone. When I asked for a KwikStik to review, no problem, he would send me one after the show. Only five days later (including a weekend) I received the kit.

The KwikStik comes packed in a nice box and you can see that Freescale has spent some time and effort to deliver an attractive product. In the box you will find a KwikStik in its bizarre orange silicone jacket, a DVD, a USB cable and some instructions. Included also is a warranty card, the first one I get with a dev kit. If the kit is broken, you can send it back.

Looking closely at the KwikStik you may notice the logo of Pounce Consulting in several places. Looking up this company on the internet you will find an electronics outsourcing company that probably did this kit for Freescale.

The box promises �the fastest way to realize your design potential�. Now that got me interested as this seemed to be a great candidate for the MCU dev kit benchmark that I presented in a previous post.

When you open the booklet you will see two photographs of the board with arrows indicating its special features. There are many: an LCD, a microphone, a micro USB socket (two actually, the other is for the Segger J-Link connection), an audio output, a buzzer, six touch buttons, a micro SD socket, a battery, an IrDA port, a switch, extension connectors (one as a PCI-like edge connector), and, almost forgot to mention it, a Kinetis K40X256VLQ100 ARM Cortex-M4 MCU. This 100 MHz hot rod sports 512 KB Flash memory, 64 KB RAM and 4 KB EEPROM. A large range of integrated peripherals is available and since it is Cortex-M4 based, it also has an additional 32-bit integer DSP (which is completely ignored in the K40 Sub-Family Reference Manual).

On the next two pages of the booklet information is provided about the demo software preloaded on the kit and also step-by-step installation instructions. Step 1 is connecting the board to the PC to power it. Step 2 is navigating through the demo applications. Step 3: select an application, step 4 go to the Freescale web site. Strange. Nothing to install? I mean, what about the DVD? Next page of the booklet: J-Link and additional features. Last page: nothing.

Oh? OK. Well, let�s do step one: connect the board to the PC. Windows detects the board without any problems and I see the text �KWIKSTIK� scrolling from right to left, hear a beep and then see �LFT� followed by �RGT�, then �SEL.� (with dot) and finally scrolling again �SOUND RECORDER�. Pushing the touch pads is not very reliable and results in a kind of random behaviour, I don�t feel that I have any control over what is happening. So I remove the board from its silicon jacket and this makes things somewhat better. I can now navigate a bit easier, but it is still not very reliable.

The options available are Sound recorder, Remote control, USB mouse and Fretris. Trying the sound recorder I manage to record 2 seconds of data. The recording played back over headphones is barely audible and hidden by some loud interfering sound. I cannot try the remote control because I do not have a Sony TV. The USB mouse suddenly makes me understand the acronyms LFT, RGT & SEL. Why on earth didn�t they write it out? The display is large enough. Anyway, the USB mouse doesn�t work very well. Pressing LFT does random things on my PC like jumping to the left or selecting a block of text, the RGT pad opens the context menu. Actually LFT seems to do a double or triple left mouse button click; RGT does a mere single right mouse button click. Finally, Fretris is a simple Tetris game that is very hard to control as the touch pads do not work well.

The Kinetis KwikStik indicates all by itself its helloWorld score. It is even more severe than I am.

So, then, what�s on the DVD? Well, a flash animation that let�s you click some links to open documents or install software. Included on the DVD are Freescale�s MQX RTOS (free), IAR�s Embedded Workbench for ARM (30-day evaluation and a 32 KB limited kickstart edition), Green Hills� Multi IDE and Keil�s MDK for Freescale Kinetis (32 KB limited edition). Other tools (Segger, CodeWarrior, etc.) are available on-line. Unfortunately, there are no instructions on what you should do next.

At random I pick Green Hills� Multi IDE. Wrong choice. You have to unzip this, and then install 1 GB before getting tangled in a license request net. In the world of fastest ways to realize your design potential this is very bad and results in an immediate uninstall. Unfortunately there is no uninstall provided for this package, which makes it even worse. Let�s hope deleting the folder is enough to get rid of this stuff. Probably not, because a dongle driver was installed too.

[24 hours later: I am still waiting for an evaluation license from Green Hills.]

[Monday 19 December, a week later: I finally received a message from Green Hills about my licence request. More questions, but still no evaluation license. How intimate do you have to be with this company before they let you have a glance at their products? This sure takes the pace out of the fastest way to realize my design potential.]

Because I do not give up easily, I now try the IAR EW 32 KB kickstart edition. First, get a license by filling in a form and answering all kinds of questions. Contrary to Green Hills license delivery is immediate. Then install 2 GB of tools to discover that no examples are included for the KwikStik. I have now reached the point of saturation and give up.

After two hours of fiddling with the hardware, installing software and filling in license request forms I am still not able to flash an LED on the board. I haven�t even addressed the J-Link needed to program the board for which separate drivers have to be installed from some conveniently unspecified location. The fastest way to realize your design potential, yeah right. What a bummer. The KwikStik receives an helloWorld score of 1. You cannot get any lower than 1 because I will always give 1 to compensate for the time & effort to design, build and send me the kit.

It is really a shame to see how all the effort to design a nice and fun looking kit with an extremely powerful MCU is annihilated by a total lack of interest for the end user. Is it really that difficult to add a few lines of instructions to help the user on his way? Many hours went in the design of this board but apparently the budget was used when the DVD still had to be done.

The reviewed board may be great once you get the tools set-up correctly, but being an impatient person I did not manage to get that far. I have other things to do too.

Brand Update : Bournvita Drifts in its Positioning

Bournvita is one of the major players in the Rs 4000 crore Indian Health Drink market. The brand has a market share of around 15% according to Business Standard. The brand has been a darling for kids who liked the chocolate flavored drinks.
Cadbury has been nurturing the brand well focusing on kids and their affinity towards good taste. The brand got initial traction in the market by focusing on the chocolate taste. It further reinforced the taste factor by associating with its fellow brand  5 Star.
Later the brand went for a laddering exercise and brought in the concept of confidence. The positioning worked really well for the brand since confidence was a very important attribute as far as kids ( and parents) are concerned. The brand backed the laddering up with the creation of Bournvita Confidence Academy and followed it up with a media blitzkrieg.

2011 saw a marked difference in the positioning of Bournvita. The brand began drifting away from confidence based positioning. Early 2011 saw the brand professing the concept of " Prepare to Win " proposition. The brand adopted the tagline " Tayari Jeet Ki " meaning - Preparing to Win.
The ads were beautifully made and explained the concept beautifully. 
Watch the ad here : Bournvita Judo Ad.
Besides the change in positioning, the brand's primary audience ( protagonist) also changed. Rather than focusing on Kids, the brand directly began addressing the Mother. Kids began to play the supporting role in the advertisement. The brand began to move into the way of Horlicks and Complan where the principal character in the campaigns are mothers and not kids.

Now in late 2011, the brand made another significant change in the positioning . The brand discarded every thing it did in the past and began talking like Horlicks. In the recent campaign, the brand began talking about calcium and the script of the ad is almost the copy of Horlicks' ad. More over the brand has now the tagline " Badhaye Doodh Ki Shakthi " which is strikingly the same as the latest Horlicks campaign.
Watch the ad here : Bournvita Calcium
And compare it with Horlicks ad here

I have never seen anybody asking questions like " Calcium ke liye kya karthe ho ? " , Vitamin C ke liye kya karthe ho ??? It looks totally out of synch with the characters in the TVC.

Am not sure whether it is sheer coincidence or a competitive move. What ever it is both the brands will suffer because of the same talk. More importantly Bournvita will suffer the most because it ditched its earlier positioning in favor of the Milk based positioning.
Another interesting factor is that in the ad , there is no character representing the user ie kids. It is one of those rare occasions where Bournvita ads are without kids. 
The absence of kids in the ads and focus on ingredients mark a major shift in the marketing strategy of Bournvita. By talking in the same language of the market leader Horlicks, the brand is trying to directly attack Horlicks which commands more than 50% of the market hoping to expand its base. But this move is at the expense of the positioning of Bournvita. 
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Brand Update : Pureit Ups The Ante

HUL's first foray into the consumer durable market- Pureit is on an aggressive mode. The brand which was launched in 2004 has taken the battle into the premium segment of the water purifier market with the launch of Pureit Marvella. 

Pureit is a classic case of a brand exploiting an important need-gap in the market. Indian water-purifier market worth around Rs 1200 crore is evolving, growing at 15%. The marketing of water purifiers were skewed towards urban markets of India. Only 8 % of the Indian consumers use water purifier which indicates the poor penetration of this product category into Indian households. The major hindrance for this being high price, installation difficulties, electricity consumption and lack of awareness. Eureka Forbes pioneered the growth of this category in the Indian market. Now this category has lot of players and  new product-lines like RO water purifiers has been introduced.

The major players in the electricity -powered water purifier market however ignored the mass market focusing more on the margin rather than volume. These products which were priced at Rs 5000 upwards were beyond the reach of the average middleclass customers. Even though many such consumers were aware of the health benefits of a water-purifier, it was never in the priority list of high value purchases.
Sensing the opportunity, HUL launched Pureit range of battery operated storage-type purifiers at a price range of Rs 990- Rs 1250. These purifiers did not necessitated any installations which was a definite advantage for those who lived in rented houses. The brand was widely tested in South India before the national launch . According to reports, Pureit has already sold more than 1.3 million units becoming the largest selling water-purifier in India in volume-terms. The brand also created a new category of  non-electric storage- water purifier market which is now worth around Rs 300 crore and growing very fast than the electric category.
One of the problems that Pureit faced during the launch was the doubt about brand's efficacy in the purifying business. HUL is new to this industry and not an expert so consumers rightly doubted the effectiveness of its product . To counter that, Pureit ran a very highly advertised " 1 crore challenge " to convince the consumer that its product is more effective than the competing brands. 
After establishing its name in the mass market, Pureit is now targeting the market-creator Eureka Forbes in an aggressive frontal attack by launching the premium brand Pureit Marvella. Marvella is also a a non-electric purifier with storage capability priced at Rs 7000. The brand also launched its Reverse Osmosis water purifier Puerit Marvella RO at a price point of Rs 13500. These sub-brands directly competes with Eureka Forbes's major product-lines. 
The entry of HUL into the Eureka Forbe's territory was marked with lot of legal fights between the brands because of advertising claims and counter-claims. Now the fight is in the field with both the brands trying to out market each other.
HUL in its typical FMCG style is launching Marvella range with a celebrity endorsement. The brand has roped in Farhan Akther and Praachi Desai as the brand ambassador. The campaign is now running featuring these celebrities. 
Watch the ad here : Pureit marvella
The USP of the brand is its advanced warning system which alerts the consumer to change the RO membrane before it stops working.
The entry of HUL has virtually changed the dynamics of the water-purifier market in India. The market creator was totally out-maneuvered by HUL. Eureka Forbes decided not to counter HUL's foray into mass market because of lack of margin. In strategic terms , the decision made sense because low priced products tend to affect both margins and brand -equity. But Forbes failed to see the shift in the market and the growth of the non-electric segment to become the fastest growing segment. The popularity of the mass market segment also gave confidence for HUL to enter the market of Eureka Forbes. Eureka Forbes countered the HUL's entry by lowering the price of its base models. But HUL is such a formidable player that Eureka Forbes may need all its marketing strength to fight this giant.
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