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.

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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.

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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.