Brand Update : Sprite Ditches University of Freshology

University of Freshology has closed down. All the students now can take the road because " Rasta Clear Hai"..

How sad that a brand like Sprite struggling to find a sustainable positioning . The brand which made its presence felt in the Indian market with a very clear and simple positioning based on the core benefit of  softdrink - Quenching Thirst. That positioning made Sprite the market leader in the category and  in 2009, the brand was the second largest soft drink brand in India.

Over the last few years, the brand ditched its focus on thirst and went after other positioning ideas. The struggle continues till date with the brand changing its communication themes every year. Last year , the brand introduced a much hyped concept of University of Freshology with some un-creative campaigns which in my opinion failed to excite the market. It may be because of that reason , the brand decide to bring back its positioning based on its erstwhile " Clear Hai " theme.

This summer, the brand is running a campaign with the new tagline " Rasta Clear Hai "
Watch the TVC here : Sprite Rasta Clear Hai

A campaign which further deteriorates the core brand identity of Sprite. The tagline Rasta Clear Hai means the "road is clear " which means what for the brand ? What is the value that this tagline or positioning is giving for the brand ? The brand owners may have wanted to convey that Sprite drinkers know their way ( how to get their things done )  but this positioning lacks the sustainability factor. 
The question is from this ad to what ? How is the brand going to build on this concept of  " Rasta Clear Hai " . My guess is that this theme will be for the summer of 2012.Then there will be another quick fix formula. 
Sprite has already lost its charm as a very clear, no-nonsense brand. Thankfully the competition 7UP is doing much worse... Solace.

Related Brand

Best Marketing Practice : Uncle John's iDrive

It feels good when a brand innovates on an idea that benefits not only the brand but also the community. One such innovation is the children's park which was created by Cochin ( Kerala) based ice-cream brand Uncle John. Uncle John is a famous local brand of ice-creams marketed by M/S Jojo Frozen Foods Pvt Ltd. The brand name is coined from the name of its founder MC John.
Uncle John's I-Drive is a small children's park located near the NH Byepass at Cochin. Cochin which is the business capital of Kerala only has two well maintained parks for the residents. Both these parks are located in the heart of the city which makes it difficult to reach thanks to the heavy traffic. The launch of this small park which is away from the traffic of the city has proved to be a big boon to Cochinites. The park is modeled as a traffic park for kids with cycles, battery operated cars etc and other standard outdoor plays like slides, see-saw etc.
Pic Courtesy : The Hindu

What is interesting is that the whole concept of the park is ideated and executed by the brand. According to reports, the park is the idea of Mr.Joseph Simon who is a Director at the company which owns the brand. Another interesting fact is that the park charges Rs 25 as the entry fee ( per person) and the users can purchase ice-creams for that amount. The park already is a big hit among the residents of Cochin.

This park  is a classic case of smart marketing practice where the brand takes an initiative to offer something that is useful for the community ( also the target market) at the same time benefiting itself in the process. The investment of the park is huge but it is going to benefit the brand in the long-term. The brand through this idea is able to attract the TG and also makes them experience the products and at the same time provides enjoyment to them. This is a classic case of experiential marketing. 

However, the brand despite being innovative in the concept somehow was not aggressive in promoting its itself  in the park. Except for a hoarding there is not much OOH media inside the park that enhances the brand's visibility. In a typical Sunday, around 700 families visit the park and that is an audience a brand will die for.  There is lot of scope for innovation for the brand inside the park.Hope that the brand is able to sustain the park and gain its true return in terms of brand equity. The brand could have done lot of things inside the park that will enhance the brand's awareness and equity like
  • Events
  • Memorabilia
  • Merchandise
  • Contests
In the long term factors like safety, new games/rides, courteous staff, parking facilities, support of the corporation authorities will play a critical role in the success of this unique idea.

Brand Update : Lays Wants to Make Your Moment Magical

This year, Pepsico has brought about another positioning change in its most successful snack brand- Lays. The brand  never really found a sustainable positioning platform ever since it ditched its " No One Can Eat Just One " tagline. The last tagline of the brand was " Be Dillogical " which was introduced in 2009. So for around two years, the brand managers tolerated the positioning. 

This year, the brand decided to experiment yet again with the tagline , bringing in the new one -  "Pal Banaye Magical " meaning " Making Moments Magical ". The brand is running the new campaign featuring the brand ambassador Saif Ali Khan.

Watch the ad here : Lays Pal Banaye Magical

The ad follows the usual theme of group of friends or protogonist ( disappointed because of  cancellation of some event, boredom, etc)  and how brands liven their moments. The idea ( theme) is not at all new and has been used by brands across the world. Recently Titan Raaga used similar theme using Katrina Kaif , Tic Tac also used similar theme and Nano has used somewhat similar idea for their new positioning effort. The expectation of something different was not met by Lays in the current campaign.

Regarding the tagline " Pal Banaye Magical " sounds good and the creatives can work on this theme with a variety of stories. But I would say that it never comes anyway near to the brand's original tagline.And these frequent changes in the positioning doesn't augur well for the brand's overall strength. 

The brand which started its journey by positioning on taste later moved on to occasion based positioning ( har program ka main food) then moved to a higher attribute like Dillogical and then finally to celebrate friendship and togetherness. How ever in the execution front, the brand was not able to bring in any magic to these concepts.

On the other marketing practices, Lays innovated on its range of flavors using customer co-creation. Through a nationwide campaign , the brand solicited ideas of new flavors from the consumers and was able to create lot of buzz in the market. This move also gave the brand lot of innovative flavors to work upon, engage with the customers and also strengthen one of its core attributes - taste and flavors. The move was the blunt or in other words establish points-of-parity with its competitor - Bingo. ITC's Bingo was highlighting its " variety of flavors "  as its USP. Through the co-creation campaign, Lays was able to convince the customers that it is able to innovate on flavors too.

Related Brand
Brand Update : Lays Dillogical

MCU Development Board Benchmark - The Winners

The February issue of Elektor contained an article on the MCU Development Board Benchmark that I introduced in an earlier post. In the article the benchmark was developed slightly further and it ended with a request for comments from the readers. The article also promised to give away the TI TMS570 USB kit that started it all.

A few readers actually responded so we have to keep our promise to give away the kit. But before we do that, let me first resume the comments that came in. Some remarks were rather vague and can not easily be converted into parameters, but several readers proposed a multiplication factor related to the number of operating systems the dev kit will work on: if it runs on Windows, MAC & Linux the factor is 1, if not it will be lower.

Other suggestions concerned more generic criteria like documentation, examples, usability, user friendliness and ease of programming the controller. In my opinion these criteria are actually well covered by the LED blinking test. If you cannot get an LED to blink within a reasonable amount of time and effort, then the kit has a problem. The resulting figure does not indicate where exactly the problem is (IDE, programmer, licenses, etc.), but that's why the test should be accompanied by a detailed article.

OK, that's enough about the benchmark for now. I would like to thank all the people that took the time and effort to participate in this, ehm, project. The winner of the TI TMS570 USB kit is Alexander Steiger. I decided to throw in a Freescale Kinetis KwikStik too and that one is going to Jorgen Sandberg.

Congratulations! to the winners and also a request: if you manage to do something interesting with these kits, please let me know.

P.S. I used the services from to select the winners as randomly as possible.

Brand Update : Will Airlines' Failure Affect Kingfisher's Brand's Equity ?

The much hyped and celebrated Kingfisher airlines is in big trouble. UB group decided to extend its beer brand to airlines and executed the branding in perfect style. The beer brand and the airline brands gelled with each other in terms of positioning and brand attributes. The airlines further reinforced the fun and exciting attribute of the parent beer brand.
Kingfisher Airlines failure is  the failure of its business model. The business tried to grow too fast burning its cash in the process. Now the brand has been criticized by the same media which once sang its glory as the poster boy of extravaganza and customer delight.
Now Kingfisher as a brand is facing its worst PR nightmare. The Airlines failed to honor its schedules resulting in a series of cancellations which led to customers getting stranded. Whatever equity that the brand had built-up seems to be gone down the drain.
So the interesting question is whether the whole issue of Kingfisher Airlines will affect its parent brand " Kingfisher beer " ? Often in marketing classes, we used to talk about the negative effect of a brand extensions failure on the parent brand. Will the same apply to the beer brand ? 

Branding literature suggest that the failure of a brand extension will affect the parent brand only if there is a strong perceived fit or similarity between the extension and the parent brand.The damage to the parent brand is more if the extension is in the similar category. In the case of Kingfisher, the similarity is only in the positioning and the categories are poles apart - one is beverage and other is a service. Another instance of the damage to parent brand occurs when there is similarity in the customer groups that use the extension. Generally literature suggests that parent brands are not much affected by the extensions' failures. ( Reference : Brands and Branding  : Research and future implications, Lehmann & Keller,2006, Marketing Science)

So it can be safely argued that the equity of Kingfisher beer will not be much affected by airline's failure. Further , the absence of competition, the ban on advertising will help the beer brand and competitors cannot take advantage of the current issue.
The extension - Kingfisher Airlines is going to have a tough time getting back the credibility of the consumers if it survives the current crisis. Consumers have a short memory and Kingfisher Airlines can find solace in that.

Related brand
Kingfisher : The King of Good Times

Brand Update : 7UP Wants You to Feel UP

Certain brands change its taglines at the drop of a hat. 7Up, the lemon flavored softdrink brand from Pepsico is one such brand. The brand which re-energized the lemon flavored softdrink market in India after the demise of Limca is in a way struggling to find a sustainable positioning.

The brand which was launched in 1990 quickly gained traction in the Indian market largely due to the branding exercise centered around the mascot Fido Dido. The brand , for some reason or the other, decided to drop the famous mascot and began to concentrate on the " lemon " factor. The brand then adopted the tagline " The lemon drink'.
Later the brand decided to focus on the brand benifit - refreshing taste and adopted the tagline " Mood ko do lemon ka lift ". Then yet again in 2010, the brand went into anger management mode using the  tagline " Bheja Fry, 7Up Try " . In 2011, the brand roped in bollywood actor Sharman Joshi as brand ambassador and  adopted the positioning strategy centered around the coolness factor . The brand had the tagline  which was then changed to " chill machao " .

The brand couldn't find a tagline which really worked or established a sustainable positioning platform . One saving grace is that the brand however kept revolving around the coolness factor in these brand communications.

This summer , 7Up again changed its positioning and had a rebranding exercise whereby the logo has been changed to reflect the brand's international persona. Along with the new brand logo, 7UP is also running its 2012 summer campaign.
The new campaign is around the theme of "optimism" or upliftment.. The brand uses the " UP" term in the brand name to further reinforce the current positioning of optimism
Watch the new campaign : Sharman Joshi ( 7UP)

The brand has adopted yet another new tagline . The new tagline is " Dil BoleI Feel UP " . The positioning theme is that the brand lifts your optimism ( mood). The new ad features Sharman Joshi shaking a leg with a penguin. Other than that , there is not much wow in the new campaign. Another interesting fact is that 7UP decided to bring its Nimbooz brand also in the current campaign thus saving on the cost.

According to a report in ET, lemon flavored drinks were growing at 16-17% in the last year making it the fastest growing category in Rs 10,500 crore Indian softdrinks market. This season is expected to witness lot of action in this segment.
7UP in my opinion is struggling to find its positioning. Frequent changes in the slogan and advertising theme reflects this confusion. That confusion is not good for the brand in long-term. How ever practitioners argue on this citing freshness and rising sales . But to create a sustainable brand equity ,consistency in the positioning theme is a must. Otherwise the sales of the brand depends purely on the promotional spend and every year the brand needs to reinvent the wheel. Globally, the brand has the slogan " Be Yourself, Be Refreshing " is a wonderful positioning platform. But 7UP however chose to ignore it and the eternal search continues.,

Related brand

Mahindra XUV 500 : Inspired by Cheetah

Brand : Mahindra XUV 500
Company : Mahindra

Brand Analysis Count : # 508

Mahindra launched its first product from its first global SUV platform branded as XUV 500 in the Indian market. The launch was witnessed with great interest by motor enthusiasts since XUV 500 was perceived as a successor to the iconic Mahindra Scorpio. Mahindra virtually shook the SUV market in India when it launched its Scorpio brand in 2002. Auto enthusiasts were expecting something similar this time too.

And Mahindra did not disappoint at all.

XUV 500 excited the market with its bold masculine looks and a very aggressive pricing. The brand which priced itself at Rs 10.81 -12 Lakh for its two variants literally sent shock-waves to the  competitor landscape. The price was juicy for the C-segment car customers to think about XUV as an option. The company has rightly nailed both the product and the price.
According to the newsreports , through XUV 500, the company intends to create a category in the Rs 10-15 lakh segment. There is a gap that exists between Scorpio and the premium SUVs and this brand is expected to fill the gap.

Right from the brand's launch announcement, the company has been presenting the idea that XUV 500 was inspired by Cheetah. Cheetah which is known for its speed and agility was a perfect metaphor for the attributes that XUV wanted to project. 
The teaser ad for XUV launch was bang on with the idea of being Cheetah Inspired.

Watch the teaser ad : XUV Teaser

The idea of using the Cheetah as the metaphor is really smart because of the ease with which that convey's the brand's projected attributes. But all those build-up got wasted when I saw the launch campaign of this brand.
Watch the launch campaign : XUV ( I don't like Carrots)
This launch campaign would easily be one of the horrible ads in recent times. The client brief would be something like " Let us build a horrible ad and see whether a good product would sell despite bad advertising".
There is nothing much to talk about this launch campaign. The campaign neither has a big idea nor has some newness in execution. Jungle, hunk, scantily clad man-eating ladies and XUV... There is no trace of any logic or marketing thought behind the ad. To add to the insult, there are some phrases like " I hate Carrots " I am Hungry etc . May be the agency thought XUV 500 was a deo with some fruit and vegetable flavors ! What a waste !
Having said that, in the automotive market, it is the product that build brands and not the other way around. Despite this hopeless ad, consumers will buy this brand and may even evangelize it  if the product proves itself . Ads mainly play a supportive role in most cases. But there are brands which create an aura with smart advertising which later transforms the product dominated brand ( tangible attributes) to an intangible dominated brand. That is how iconic brands are created.  
XUV 500 wasted a terrific opportunity to build a brand using promotion. The brand was thinking about linking itself with adventure stories of its users but the execution killed that idea. There is no connection between Cheetah, the brand and the current advertising theme. Cheetahs are hunters but in the current ad, the brand user gets hunted.  Its just an ad but more than a poor ad, the brand lost a very crucial brand building opportunity. 

Campaign Trail :Is Birla Sunlife Exploiting Yuvraj ?

A small controversy is brewing in the ad world regarding the latest campaign of Birla Sunlife featuring India's youth icon Yuvraj Singh. Yuvi was endorsing the Birla Sunlife brand for some time now. The campaign runs on the theme of highs and lows of the life and how one should prepare for such events. The last campaign was aired when Yuvi was in a bad patch and was kept out of the team because of poor form. The ad really struck a chord because here was one famous cricketer who was criticized by all for his poor form. The series of ads featured cricketers like Sewag who also faced similar performance issues.

Watch the ad here : Yuvraj Birla old ad

This time around, things were different. Yuvraj was diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment in US. There is a huge wave of sympathy, prayers and sadness among the millions of cricket lovers for this flamboyant young cricketer. 
Surprisingly the ruthless marketer in Birla Sunlife Insurance began to flood the channels with the followup campaign featuring  Yuvraj. The new campaign is in the same line of the older version but very striking and all the more disturbing. 
 Watch the new ad here : Birla sunlife new ad

My initial response was surprise and disgust. How can a brand run a campaign like that when he is sick and undergoing treatment ? - this was the question that came to my mind .My conclusion was that Birla Sunlife is exploiting a very sad situation to its advantage. 

Now ET and Business Standard newspapers have reported that the entire campaign is done with the concurrence and support of Yuvi and even Yuvi wanted to change some dialogues to reflect the current state.

Here the question is whether Birla Sunlife has done the right marketing move to run such a hard-hitting campaign when the entire cricket loving Indians are praying for this cricketer's health.

My take is that Birla Sunlife has messed up the entire campaign so much so that consumers began to question the intention of the brand in running this campaign at this point in time. 

It is true that many brands have used celebrities for their campaigns when these celebrities were recovering from such serious health issues. Celebrities like  Lance Armstrong  and Lisa Ray were featured in brand campaigns when they were recovering from such serious health issues.
The recent controversy has occurred because of the following reasons :
1. Many viewers including myself thought that Birla Sunlife has tried to gain advantage of this current situation by re-running the old ad. I was not aware of the fact that it was done with the active support of  Yuvraj Singh. This is a glaring error in term of the execution of the campaign because the agency or the client didnot thought of such a perception. The campaign managers should have given lot of indications that this ads were released with the active support of the celebrity.
2.The timing of the ad could not have been worse. The brand could have waited for some time before jumping into releasing the campaign. This ad would have been a huge hit had the release coincided with Yuvraj's complete recovery.  
3. The brand bombarded the channels with high frequency which gave the impression that it was trying to make maximum mileage of the entire episode.
4. Even if the celebrity would be supporting such a campaign, the brand should have resisted the temptation to take advantage of the situation. The ultimate aim of this campaign is to build the brand and that reason make the timing of the campaign a very bad choice.

What ever be the rational decision of the brand to run this campaign, common sense would vote against such a high frequency campaign. The entire campaign theme is highly negative and that negativity messed up the ad campaign for the brand. Unlike the ads featuring Lance Armstrong or Lisa Ray which was positive, this Birla sunlife ad was much like  " I told You So " kind of stuff. 

The " intention " of the brand is a very powerful factor that influence the customer. Here the brand failed to convey its good intentions . Otherwise this could have been one of the most remarkable campaigns in the category.. Alas.....

KwikStik follow-up

In a previous post I tried to get something going with Freescale's Kinetis KwikStik. Here is a short follow-up on Green Hills� Multi IDE that is included with this kit. As mentioned in the original article I had a hard time getting a trial license for this software, but I finally got one the day I left for Christmas holidays. When I came back I didn't have time to get back to it right away and then two weeks later or so I received a message from GHS saying that my trial license was about to expire. Oh, come on guys, we're in 2012 now. Be a bit more flexible and open!

In the Elektor article on the MCU Development Board Benchmark about a benchmark that I introduced in an earlier post, I promised to give away the TI TMS570 USB kit that started it all. I have now decided to throw in a Freescale Kinetis KwikStik too! So keep sending your comments and remarks, the deadline is the 1st of March 2012.

Brand Update : RIP Peek ( 2008-2012)

In 2010, I had written about a simple email device called Peek launched in India by Aircel. According to news reports, the company has stopped its hardware device and made a strategic change from a hardware /device marketer to a service ( S/W) company. The Aircel website is also not given any info on this product and I assume that this product is dead in India too.

This marks the end of a product that aims to do only one thing- email service. In my previous post on this device, I had mentioned that the chance of survival of this product is minimal because of the fact that many mobiles are now offering the same service and more and it does not make sense to have an email only device. Only customers to which this product made sense was the business customers. There too, the brand failed to make the cut.
The company has switched over to providing cloud based services and has associated with Micromax in India. So the company will move on but this simple device will not be available anymore. 
The short PLC of this device highlight the fast changing world of technology which is disrupting many industries and product categories. The immense popularity of Android has infact accelerated the demise of this product. 
There are many marketing theorists who argue about the virtue of specializing and concentrate on one benefit and excel in it. Peek was a brand doing just that but it proved to be myopic. Neither the brand cared to understand customer need nor was interested in changing to suit customer's new demands. 

RIP Peek ( 2008-2012)
Related brand

Brand Update : Fastrack Gets Provocative

Fastrack ,the most successful youth brand of India has started getting provocative. In a strategy emulating the likes of United Colors of Benetton , FCUK etc, the brand has embraced a double-edged sword inorder to keep connected to the fickle Indian young consumers. 
Fastrack is one of those few brands which could break into the young consumer's minds. Over these years, the brand was able to position itself as a young, vibrant, brand and through very smart campaigns has created as space for itself. 
The brand evolved from a sub-brand to a powerful independent brand through some smart product strategies ( design + affordability + promotion) and clever advertising. 
Now it seems, the brand is entering the next phase of its evolution. From a watch brand, Fastrack has grown to become an umbrella brand endorsing products from watches to tees.

The current campaign which is more of a digital campaign is provocative at its best. The brand is now starting to walk through the thin-line separating decency and the other-side. Many brands especially those who target the youngsters are tempted to be provocative with a dash of erotica/nudity. Lot of researches has been done on the effectiveness of such provocative ads. Research says that provocative ads drives its power from three factors (a) Shock Value (b) Ambiguity (c) Transgression  to some cultural taboo  ( Pope Voges & Brown, Journal of Marketing) . The ads which aims to be provocative needs to shock people so that attention is taken. The ads should be ambiguous confusing the audience as to the real meaning of the ad, so that they discuss it longer and finally the ads should break some rules or taboo. In all these counts, the Fastrack campaign scores brownie points.

The real question is the advantage of getting provocative. Earlier researches categorically stated that provocative ads although has an effect on the audience's attention towards the campaign creates a negative impact on the brand image. But recent researches tend to be gentle in criticizing such ads since there is a marked shift in the audience culture. But researchers were not able to clearly measure the impact of such ads on the overall brand image.
So here Fastrack is taking a risk. The short-term benefit is the attention that these ads will shower on the brand but the risk is whether the brand gets trapped in these type of ads and finally ruining its image.
Its for sure that the youngsters will find no issues with the current campaign and that is what the brand also wants.
What do you think ?

Related Brand
Fastrack : How Many You Have

Fogg Deo : No Gas , Only Deo

Brand : Fogg Deo
Company : Vini Cosmetics

Brand Analysis Count : # 507

It is raining deodorants in the Indian market. The new player in the Rs 1000 crore cluttered market is the brand Fogg from Vini Cosmetics Ltd. The brand is running its launch campaign in various media. The highly cluttered Deo market is full of brands which promotes themselves as a tool to attract girls. The quality of the ads has become so pathetic and stereotyped that many brands project themselves as aphrodisiacs. A hunk, swimming pool, foreign girls in minimal clothes, the guy sprays the deo and all girls ran towards him. This is the theme of almost 85 % of the ad. 

It is in this scenario that the launch of Fogg becomes relevant. The refreshing fact is that unlike the other deos, the brand chose not to focus on girls. Thank god for that. 
So instead of focusing on attraction, the brand focused on something very interesting - quantity of deo or in broader terms Value. 

Watch the ad here : Fogg

The brand is trying to change the category play by breaking the sterotype built around deos. The brand rightly identified that the so called functional benefit of the deos has been commoditized and trivialized by other brands that no one believes any of the claims. Hence the brand wants to differentiate by focusing on the value part of the product. The brand claims that it has more deos hence more value for money. The brand tries to convey this value proposition by  (a) suggesting that other deo brands has more gas than actual deo by demonstration (b) by guaranteeing 800 sprays for a bottle. It has to be noted that the brand is priced at the premium end of the market.
The question is whether the differentiation is sustainable and relevant. As a consumer, I feel that 800 spray guarantee is interesting but that may not be the reason for me to purchase this brand. Secondly the other brands can easily catch up with the proposition.
To be fair to the brand, Fogg needs to be appreciated for thinking beyond the usual crap. The pitch on the value part will shakeup the market since the brand is putting a blame on the rest of the players. Now the competing brands will be watching the consumer reaction to this move by Fogg. The only issue is the price of the brand. At Rs 170, Fogg is pricey and it may need much more compelling reason for the consumers to bite the bait.

Brand Update : Cadbury Eclairs Moves Up the Value Chain

2011 was an eventful year for Cadbury's Eclairs. The year saw the brand trying to move up the value chain by launching a new variant Cadbury Rich Brownie Eclairs. The move is significant because the brand has done an upward line stretch since the new variant is priced at Rs 2/-.

Cadbury's Rich Brownie variant is a significant move in the Rs 950 crore candy market where the most popular price point is Rs 1/- and  50 paise. The marketers were reeling under margin pressure because of a rise in the input costs at one hand and the price sensitive consumers at the other end. The problem was aggravated by the price competition from Nestle and local brands. Cadbury's still hold market leadership in value terms in this market while losing out the volume leadership to Nestle.

2011 also saw some changes in the positioning of Cadbury's Eclairs. The brand which earlier had the positioning of Doob le Zara ( which meant- immerse in taste) changed the tagline to "Get Lost".

Watch the ad here : Get Lost 
Cadbury's launched the Rich variant with the positioning of Chocolate Fountain. The brand adapted this from the earlier campaigns of Cadbury's Dairy Milk Eclairs' Chocolate Bomb ads. Instead of the heads exploding as bombs, in the Rich variant's ads, the heads explodes into fountains.

Watch the ad here : Cadbury's Rich Eclairs

Since the brand is priced high, the target market for this variant is older customers- the teens and youngsters.

While the new variant is banking on the chocolate fountain, the original Cadbury's Eclairs is experimenting with the " Lost in Taste " proposition. The creative brains finally came up with the tagline " Get Lost". For the first time , a brand is telling the customers to " Get Lost ".  May be the creative guys told the client  to " Get Lost " and client mistook it for the tagline and approved it !
The new tagline is far below the average creative standards for the reason that another brand from the same company i.e 5 Star is having the same positioning. It is common sense that it is not advisable for two brands from the same company to have same positioning. Positioning has to be unique and should not be shared unless it is a branded house. The entire campaign has a negative tone coupled with the tagline which itself is negative.
According to newsreports, the Rich Brownie variant wants to create a space for itself in the market which will convince the customer to pay higher price for the new variant.
Although nobody will have any doubts regarding the quality of these products, the campaigns for these two variants does not match the brand's real worth. Cadbury's have always known for its breakthrough campaigns. The recent ads for Silk, Shots , CDM all were of high quality creative executions. However, the ads for the eclairs does not match the standards of its siblings. What difference is there between the Chocolate Bomb and Chocolate Fountain  ? What difference is there between 5 Star and Get Lost campaigns ? Rather these come across as lazy cut-copy works.

Related Brand
Cadbury Eclairs

Marketing Funda : Determinants of Brand Extension Success

Professor Franziska Volckener and Professor Henrik Sattler of Institute of Marketing and Retailing, University of Hamburg, published a very insightful article  titled Drivers of Brand Extension Success in Journal of Marketing in 2006 which spoke about critical success factors that drive brand extension success. The authors through extensive empirical research distilled five factors that determine whether a brand extension will succeed in the market place. 
The study which was conducted in German FMCG industry gives valuable insights for marketing managers across the world.
The five factors that determine the success of brand extensions are as follows

1. Fit between parent brand and brand extension : Whether the extension is in line with the parent brand's positioning and consumer perception
2. Parent-brand conviction : The brand equity of parent brand , the trust of consumers on the parent brand's quality are critical factor that help extension success.
3. Parent-brand experience : The previous experience of the consumer towards the parent brand will affect the consumer's response to the extension
4. Retailer acceptance of brand extension : Retailers play an important role in the brand extension's success.
5. Marketing support : The investment in brand promotion also has a strong role to play in the success of the brand extension.

My Two Cents : The above cited research throws important light into the critical determinants of brand extension acceptance by consumers. Marketers should view these factors holistically because all these factors collectively contribute to the success of extensions. These factors like parent-brand experience and parent-brand conviction take time to develop. Hence haste in extending a brand without these factors can be risky.
 While I am personally critical of brand extensions, market pressures and opportunities make brand extensions a vital element in the marketing strategy . The research of Professors Volkener and Sattler is very relevant in this context.

Force One : Be The Force

Brand : Force One
Company : Force Motors

Brand Analysis Count : # 506

Force Motors which is well known for its commercial vehicles like Tempo Travellor, Trekker etc has made a significant entry into the SUV market in India. The company recently launched an SUV Force One in the Indian market.
Indian SUV market is now appearing lucrative to auto majors. Indian car market is skewed to small cars. The market is dominated by small cars. SUVs were a niche. But recent trend is that consumers are purchasing more SUVs despite the poor infrastructure conditions and rising fuel prices. According to newsreports, 324000 SUVs were sold in India during 2010-2011. The growth of SUVs were infact more than the car segment. 

The Indian SUV market is dominated by Mahindra with its flagship brand Scorpio. Toyota Fortuner is the second largest brand but dominates the premium segment of the SUV market. The market has witnessed a slew of launches from all major brands in the world.Hence the launch of  a brand in this segment is very risky and difficult. Force One has took this challenge seriously and has done some serious homework before going for the launch.

Force Motors took a very smart step  by collaborating with Mercedes Benz for the engine of Force One. The company has already understood the benefits of tying up with a brand like Mercedes before in the success of its Traveller. So by sourcing the most critical element of the car from World's most respect company, Force One has almost negated the risk of Engine complaints and the Mercedes engine will give confidence to consumers about this newcomer's claims.
Second smart move was the design part. Indian SUV consumers like big mean machines. Frustrated by poor roads and rash and arrogant driving of larger vehicles like trucks and buses, most Indian consumers love to have a large vehicle to tame the arrogant truck and bus drivers. Hence Force One deliberately designed itself to look larger and meaner. 
The third and most important move was the promotion part. The brand almost shocked the entire auto world by roping Amithabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador. The brand knew that it is fighting with large and powerful brands like Scorpio, Fortuner, Safari etc and needs a trump card to get even with these established  brands. The roping in of Big B was a masterstroke and has given a terrific boost to the launch.
The fourth factor was the price. Force One has priced itself at around Rs 10 lakh. I am not sure about the effectiveness of the pricing strategy because it seems little pricey compared to Indian counterparts but not that much as compared to foreign brands. But my gut feeling is that it has not hit the sweet spot in the pricing and would have excited the market had it started of with a price of Rs 8 lakh. However, the Mercedes engine may be the reason for this confident pricing of Force One. It is to see whether Indian consumer is willing to pay that much for a new Indian SUV.
With Bachchan as the brand ambassador, one would wonder how the brand is going to structure its message. Force One had to convey a feel of ruggedness and premiumness inorder to gain consumer interest. The presence of Big B will assure eye-balls but if the communication is not right, people are going criticize the effort.
In the advertising front, the approach of Force One was surprising. I expected something that would project an international look and feel , something of the sort of a Reid and Taylor campaign highlighting the brand ambassador. But Force One took a very different route.
Watch the campaign here : Force one Kids, Force One Clean

The ads are very Indian and focuses on one aspect- Force. The brand has adopted the tagline " Be The Force " . In the ad, Big B says "India mein sirf Force hi Chalta Hai " meaning " In India only Force will work " . This message really strikes a chord with the consumers mind since everyone have felt this at some point in his life in India. 
With regard to the brand promotion, it is interesting to observe that the brand deliberately chose not to project itself as a premium. The brand I think is targeting those consumers who are pissed off by Indian roads. The brand is talking to the prospective sedan buyers and telling them that only a beast will survive in Indian roads.
The brand has started on a rugged communication route hence it has virtually closed its doors on premiumness. Infact this soundness of this strategy is validated by the launch campaign of Mahindra's X500 which calls itself a Cheetah. The brand has chosen  " Powerful " as its USP and uses the analogy of " Force " to communicate its positioning. The role of the ads for automobiles serve as a bait for the consumers for a test drive. No on buys a car just because of the ads. The product will sell itself if it excites the consumers and the influencers. 
Force Motors is a new entrant to the passenger segment. Like its peers Tata Motors and Mahindra, Force will also be perceived as a commercial vehicle manufacturer and the lack of expertise in the passenger car market will be the Achilles' heel for this company.Product Quality and quality  of its after-sales service is going to be very critical in the success of this brand. The brand has got its basics correct. This will be an interesting story to watch.  

Brand Update : Katrina is the new face of Titan Raaga

Titan Raga has got a new face in Katrina Kaif. In continuation with its celebrity endorsement centered brand strategy, Titan signed the reigning Bollywood Diva Katrina Kaif as the brand ambassador for its sub-brand Raaga. The brand is currently running the campaign featuring the brand ambassador.

Watch the ad here : Katrina Titan Raaga

Titan Raaga which was born in 1992 was able to carve out a space for itself in the Indian watch industry. The brand is targeting the Sec A/B segment with a value proposition combining elegance and quality. 

Regarding the brand communication, there is nothing great about the new advertisement. The ad follows the standard theme and except for a small glimpse of the brand, celebrity rules the entire campaign. The ads featuring Katrina also sports a tagline  " Stay New " . 
 The brand has fallen into the celebrity trap where celebrity gains more importance than the brand. Remember that in most of the Titan ads featuring Aamir Khan , the brand was carefully placed with equal importance as the celebrity. 

Another interesting factor I noticed in the new ad was the absence of any mention of the sub-brand Raaga except for the half-a-second glimpse of the watch. Infact I mistook the campaign for the parent brand. This is another classic case where the agency underplayed the brand in favor of the celebrity. Further there is not much connect between the sub-brand and the theme of the ad. May be the brand is trying to economize by promoting the umbrella brand Titan rather than Titan Raaga. 
Even in the print ads, there is no mention about the sub-brand. This may be a part of the strategy where the Above-The- Line campaigns will be for the parent brand Titan and the Raaga will be relegated to a sub-brand visible only in the product. More clarity will come only after the rolling out of further campaigns.

Does it make a big difference ? 

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