King’s Day Out !!

From the education system to sports management, from sociology to sales and distribution…variety was the theme of the day on 29th July when Mr. Chandrabhan Singh, GM Marketing -India Cements Ltd., Business Head Chennai Super Kings, visited IIMK and indulged in a rendezvous with team mPower.

A student of economics, Mr. Singh has had a life no less eventful than that of a hitchhiker on the go. With an industry experience of 14 years, Mr. Chandrabhan Singh had a lot to share with the students at IIMK even beyond the usual marketing gyaan.

As team mPower interacted with him in an informal interview of sorts, Mr. Singh threw light upon the various aspects of marketing such as acknowledging the contribution of the last person in the value chain, the social impact of sports marketing and his take on the existing flaws in the Indian management education system. Watch him speak about all this and more in the video interview

Part 1: ” Of course management education per se is about managing men, but it teaches you to channelize the thought process ”

Mr. Chandrabhan Singh – Part 1

Part 2: “Sports builds character, it teaches humility and give and take”

Mr. Chandrabhan Singh – Part 2

Part 3: “You cant be a marketer without doing a sales job”

Mr. Chandrabhan Singh – Part 3

 

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CAPTADS: The future of digital advertising

From the papyrus scrolls and the town criers to the billboards and cluttered banners in the internet medium, Advertisements have come a long way. The core purpose of every advertisement was visibility, persuasion and encouragement to use a service or a product’s offerings. This article would bring out a new medium to cater to the teeming digital customers.

Traditional banners had their time and managed to woo the audience in the late 90’s and the early 2000’s. The ‘click through’ options and the pop ups suffered the same fate as the adage of ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. These web banners suffered from a serious problem of improper estimation of actual viewers: given the massive clutter and ubiquity of these web banners, more often than not they reflected a sense of hunger for excessive attention.
“People are clicking less and less”, says Dan Gersheson, a Chicago based digital marketing consultant.

With time, in the late 2000’s the digital users saw a sea of innovation in the form of YouTube ads, pop under ads (Similar to a Pop-Up except that the window is loaded or sent behind the current window so that the user does not see it until they close one or more active windows!), trick banner ads and other expanding ads. They were frustrating and given the monopoly of sites like YouTube these ads grew over the day and myriad products were placed. But even this was left to the user’s whims as he could easily close the ad before it loads and could resort to powerful browser features which checked the other intrusive promotional methods.

The digital ads of the future would be having the following features:
1. Aimed at a captive intention with a captivating intent
2. Minimal and only the key messages
3. Must be an accurate measure for target reach and conversion figures

Being exposed to the world of spam, I would say the solution exists in the form of Captcha-Advertising. They actually are the tools on which the user actually spends a couple of seconds reading the text and proceeding with the log in. It would be an ideal co promoting platform for any brand as here we have a case of a certain level of “focused attention”

Let’s have a look at the myriad forms of the irritating captcha which is doing the rounds. Just try reading the words!!

 

Let me illustrate 2 examples of a CAPTAD which will fortify my endorsements of the strangest alliances between an irritating piece of technology and the world of advertising:

Advertiser’s woes solved. Cost-per-remembrance/recall can be the financial aspect. In other words the essence is “Write it and remember it”
Brand’s name, tagline, punch line and a plethora of options can be fiddled with and the priceless Brand Recall is guaranteed!

 

 

 

 

 

Another innovation that is appealing to the temporal senses.

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Interview with the creators of Whistle Podu

Aravind-Shankar, mPower the marketing blog of IIM KozhikodeAravind -Shankar ( Aravind Murali and Jaishankar Iyer), are a music composer duo from Chennai. They are currently working on the music for an upcoming Telugu film called Ishq. When they launched Whistle Podu for Chennai Super Kings early in the first season they had no idea that it would attain the cult status it does today. In this tweet–à-tête with Tony Sebastian, Aravind Murali notorious as @onejubb on twitter for his quirky humour tells us about the story behind Whistle Podu and well of course, channels his inner Dhoni

Q) Welcome to the mPower blog and thanks for giving us this opportunity. We can’t wait to start and get to know the story behind the brilliant “Whistle Podu” song.

The guys from the ad agency that handles CSK one day came to us with the intention of doing some king of a fun trippy music video, with almost no budget at all. It was at first intended only for YouTube. We then thought of doing a whistle thing since it was a very Chennai thing and then came up with the term whistle podu. We then went ahead and composed and recorded the track the next day with a friend – DJ Ravi on the vocals. Everyone loved it and it went on YouTube.  It was only the very next year that it got some sort of mainstream appeal.

Q) How exciting was it to work for a Chennai cricket team with global viewership?

Well, of course I’m a huge cricket fan and play for a little league team. So, working for CSK and being involved with cricket was naturally fun. Our work with CSK was limited to just one session where we recorded some of the players whistling. I think it was Parthiv Patel, Suresh Raina, Manpreet Gony, Joginder Sharma and Sudip Tyagi. Of course I didn’t get to go to any of the world famous IPL after parties. That would have made it much more fun. There were many Russians there apparently.

Q) Over the years there have been a lot of inaccurate portrayals of Chennai, the Tamil movie industry and culture in general in Bollywood movies and popular culture. Whistle Podu is perhaps the only video watched by the whole of India which captures the actual spirit of Chennai. Could you explain a little more about the spirit behind Whistle Podu?

It’s a very street thing to do out here. It’s an integral part of a dappangutthu song or dance. Some communities also dance furiously and whistle hard at their funeral processions on the streets. Needless to say they are smashed out of their skulls. The step was an invention of the choreographer of the video. It’s an extension of the regular dappangutthu dance step where you fold your lungi so that your underpants extend longer. By the way, nobody says “whistle podu” in Tamil. It’s always “whistle adi”. So this term was an invention of sorts.

Q) Whistle Podu is an entertaining and engaging music video. The later versions of Whistle Podu call for fans to send in their whistling and dancing videos so that they may be incorporated into the video. We’ve also seen improv videos by fans in various places. Was there a fundamental idea to create such a piece which would bring about crowd participation of such levels or was it just a by-product of creating a song that resonated strongly with the target audience?

Yes there was. We discussed about getting the public to participate at the conception stage itself. And we thought that getting people to whistle for CSK would be a fun and easy way to get them going. It seems to have worked out well.

Q) A video that goes viral is a tremendous boon for the brand and its creators. In the era of twitter and co-creation do you think that increased fan participation is what can ensure the “going-viral” of such a piece? I’m sure you have observed on twitter yourself how a bad pun or joke gets appended with a hashtag and before you know it there is a huge crowd-created collection of jokes that take over twitter itself.

I don’t know if anything can “ensure” that a piece goes viral. But if fans don’t make it viral then no one can ,so getting them to participate is a good way. That said ,the piece itself should have some kind of inherent quirk and uniqueness to it that gets them going .

Q) What do you think about Whistle Podu – the first of its kind B-school event at Backwaters 2011?

Definitely looks like a fun event and am thrilled that the name is being used. Who knows, maybe some of the solutions from the event might actually help CSK actually become one of the most valuable sporting brands in the world.

Q) Thanks Aravind for this interview and wish you and Shankar the very best for your future endeavours

Thanks Tony, the pleasure was all ours. All the best to all participants of Whistle Podu at Backwaters 2011

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The Method And The Madness

Sajal Kumar – art connoisseur, drama king and ellipsis abuser at large wonders if there is a point to frameworks and guidelines.

Thoughts wander..into lanes of nothingness, trying to make a pattern out of the nothingness….and a meaning out of the pattern…As the mind wanders through the various works of various people, known and unknown to various degrees..I feel, that there is something about these film makers…

As Economics tries to explain everything and anything, I wish for things which will have explanations only beyond the realms of this seemingly all pervasive field..and I find solace in arts…in cinema…in works, known and unknown to various degrees…and I feel, there is something about these works…

Raj Kumar Santoshi made Ghayal(90)-Damini(93)-Ghatak(96) inside a space of 6 years…Sunny Deol fans swear by these movies, the hard hitting films have stood the test of time..but one film possibly is a bigger cult than any of these. During this 6 year period, the same Rajkumar Santoshi made Andaz Apna Apna(95), a film which is as different from the hard hitting genre as it gets. Like everyone I find the film funny, but what I also find funny is this whole sequence of Ghayal-Damini-AAA-Ghatak.

N. Chandra is the angry man of Indian cinema among the cinema makers. Ankush(86) and Pratighaat(87) are as disturbing as the films get. Recently he made Yeh Mera India (2009) which is a powerful film on social evils of this country (couple of Ps of marketing went totally haywire and a brilliant product failed in the market). The director also made psychological films like Wajood(98) and Shikari(2000). Just when we are tempted to draw an inference on his core competency, we notice that his filmography also has names like Style(2001) and Excuse Me(2003). Once again I find these films funny, but I find this whole thing even funnier.

Now let us come to the greatest example of contradictions. The man who was entertainer with his works like Baazi and Aar-paar in early half of the 50s, gave the biggest tragedies of Indian cinema in late 50s. You do not qualify to be a fan on Hindi cinema if you have not seen Pyaasa(57) and Kaagaz ke Phool (59), both of them cult classics today, though one of them saw no commercial success then. Pyaasa succeeded, KKP failed, and another tragedy in Sahib Biwi aur Ghulam(as producer, in 62) followed which again was a big success. The film maker amidst all these tragedies, produced another romantic in Chaudhvin ka Chand (61), another superhit.

I so badly wanted to write something purely on cinema, with no economics or business, or marketing in it. But we are programmed in a certain way that we will apply certain concepts anywhere and everywhere. I feel that impulse to arrange that huge jigsaw puzzle which had words like market research, core competency, learning effect, forecasting, risk, probabilities etc.
Thankfully, nothing fits. This is an era of corporatization and cinema being too much market driven. But my wandering meaningless thoughts tell me that some artists have produced some of the better works of art when they defied the business principles. All the Porter’s and SWOT’s and competencies would have dictated otherwise but some people went with something that was surely more than a mere gut feeling. Market players have invested in products which would not have seemed apt if research and forecasting techniques were used. Product development and launch seem to go against popularly held logic. We are often told that we have been applying the marketing concepts subconsciously even before the theories were developed. Some players could go against these theories because something greater than the market could guide them.
There is some pleasure in learning and applying certain concepts. There is an even greater pleasure in unlearning them occasionally. Being an artist, from heart and soul, is something that generates that impulse which subconsciously contradicts the Kotlers and writes its own books, creates its own history. Results are not always favourable but the crazy genius is born when one makes these results secondary, or immaterial.

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Rockin’ the B(r)and !!

By Vidhi Singh who keeps her hair in headbang-able order, always.

Picture this: A linkin park concert, Shinoda workin’ his rap and Chester singin’ his heart out. An overflowing head-banging audience wearing LP tshirts, holding up LP banners. The front row trying to break the barriers just to be able to graze Chester’s hand. A fan as close as she can be to Shinoda, overwhelmed and crying her eyes out.

Now picture this:

The band/artist is your brand

The fans are your customers

The songs are the value or products your brand offers

The madness i.e. the t shirts, banners, the fan’s tears, the unforeseen strength to tear down those barriers and most importantly the audience’s flawless memory of the words of YOUR song is their love for your b(r)and

 

Pretty neat eh? Question is, as a company, why aren’t you aiming for this? Why create just customers, why not fans? Why make people like your brand, why not make them go gaga over it?

 

A few elements that have to be kept in mind to rock that b(r) and:

 

Competition: Well it is mighty stiff.. those who take to an artist(band) become hard core loyalists so b(r)and switching is rare. But still there is opportunity. This is because many people do like more than one band at a time. Also even within say rock there are genres (segments). Another thing to be kept in mind is that with time (ah.. the beloved new generations) flavors (consumer tastes) change and evolve. So there is always room for that new song catering to a new culture.

 

Market Segmentation aka “finding your fans”: Sure, there are segments. Hence there is considerable opportunity. So what should you be aiming for? It could be becoming the Elvis of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Green Day of Punk Rock, U2 of Post-Punk Rock, Led Zeppelin of Heavy Metal, a new flavor like LP, amalgam of rock and hip hop. And there is room for more than one in each genre: if not Led Zeppelin you could be the Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth or Guns N Roses of heavy metal. Well, you get the point. So you have identified your target segment. Remember you’re only targeting the kind that will not just like but love your song (product). These will be the evangelists who spread the word(WoM), introduce your music to others and even go out of the way to promote your b(r)and to others and all for free!! So set that b(r)and name in keeping with your target.

 

Product aka the song: Now that your brand name is in place, you have to decide the song. That’s what you offer to the world: the value as we know it. So does this imply you have to be the best singer there is? Nah but you got to be good enough. Your talent is the value you add. So you can’t be well, Rebecca Black. But sure if you have oodles of the gift (a killer bassist, a terrific drummer and/or a mesmerizing vocalist) then you’re blessed. But will that take you to the top? Not necessarily. It’s the artist (brand) the fans fall in love with. Product matters, of course, but a couple of hit singles and you have your fan base in place, even if the subsequent albums are just “good” they’ll still love you, still learn the words and still lose their minds in your concert. It’s the connection you make with the fans that matters not necessarily being a musical genius.

 

Marketing strategy aka Fan building: So I “like” your song, “like” your b(r)and name, but ah nothing worth loving? So what’s missing? The connect, the love, the passion for your brand. How do you build that? That’s the tough part. Marketing your brand is like striking the right chord in your fan’s heart. Bands create a long term relationship with fans which are what makes them loyalists. Companies hire CRM software to do the same. The idea is to constantly serve the customer. Even if there isn’t a new album in the near future (Linkin Park’s Hybrid theory and Meteora were four years apart) yet there is constant interaction with the fans through the website, fan clubs, selling merchandise, tours and concerts et al. This is brand building after all: creating innovative ways to create emotional attachments with the product (song). So there is the social media aspect where an online community path is used to better assess fan needs. But the onus also has to be the CEO (artist) himself/herself therefore despite the fan clubs online which may or may not be visited by the bands themselves, there has to be that personal communication in the form of tours which means spending time with fans, getting feedback, figuring out what they like and don’t like about your music, their expectations etc. You may not come out with a record that exceeds these expectations but the fact that you cared enough to reach out to them is what will make them your fans for life and create that barrier to entry against competition.

 

We know a great product(song) without personality (great marketing) will fail. Pull up your socks and instead of settling for a mere customer aim for that die hard head banging overwhelmed fanatic fan in order to rock that b(r)and !!!

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Life in a metro

Shruti Sud who has been asked by several people to add a T in the second position of her surname leads us on a different train of thought. Flawless victory, we say.

Customer Survey, mPower The marketing interest group of IIM Kozhikode

Whenever I pictured what market research would involve, an image of a large branded store teeming with enthusiastic shoppers would come to my mind as the ideal location for interacting with customers and understanding the rationale behind their purchases. Thus when a marketing research project was actually thrusted on me during my internship with Voltas and I was asked to find out who the Voltas customer really was, my first impulse was to verbally administer a questionnaire on those shopping in malls and markets. But little had I known that people could be so insensitive to the little demands on their time made by a helpless MBA intern. The questionnaire being a little lengthy, since yours truly didn’t want to take the risk of missing out on any important parameters that couldn’t be collected later, took around 15 minutes to finish during which time most of the respondents would run away rudely stating they didn’t have time to waste on senseless marketing studies, leaving my survey incomplete. Only the politest among them would take the trouble of coming up with a reason for not being able to sit through the length of the questionnaire some of which were as inane as “My dog is alone at home. I need to get to him fast.”

It was on one of my never-ending rides on the Delhi Metro to my home from office, getting bored and sulking about the general unhelpful attitude of the Delhi public towards helping an intern successfully complete her summer project, that the eureka moment struck me. The place I was sitting in was the perfect setting to explore the depths of the consumer’s mind. The passengers were all sitting idle in the Metro and so had all the time in the world to spare on my little study. From here there was nowhere they could run off to giving silly excuses. Even if they disembarked at a station I could follow them on to the platform, finish my survey and then catch the next train going in the same direction. Metro with its well-developed intricate network covering majority of the vastness that was Delhi, was truly a blessing in God’s disguise for me and I patted myself on the back for my foresight in voting for Congress in the previous elections. Precisely because Metro lines criss-crossed the length and breadth of Delhi and that people from all strata of society travelled by it, I was served a sample on a platter which was representative both with respect to the region of Delhi the respondents belonged to as to their economic conditions.

So for the next 2 weeks, the Metro became my second home. For almost 6 hours daily, because that is all my stamina allowed me, I was on the move from Dilshad Garden to Gurgaon, from Model Town to Ashok Vihar – areas of Delhi that I had never visited before were experienced through the metro stations. I would step onto any train and ask the first passenger I encountered about the station they were travelling till. If their destination was at least 4 stops away I would begin with my survey otherwise I would move on to the next passenger. It was the closest I have ever felt to being a tramp. One day I bumped into an old school friend at the bustling Kashmere Gate metro station and when she asked me where I was going, I replied “Anywhere! I just need to be back at the Malviya Nagar metro station (which is right next to my home) by 6.” Needless to say, she was astounded and consequently I had to explain to her the methodology I was employing for completing my internship project.

Those 2 weeks were completely exhausting. Every day was a struggle. I had propped up an incentive of a Nirulas ice-cream at Rajiv Chowk Metro station at the end of the day for myself and at times that was the only thing that kept me going. Executing such surveys taught me patience like nothing else ever has but at the end of the day, I look back and wonder how many people can claim to having travelled on each and every Metro line that has been set in Delhi. Now that’s an achievement!

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H2Awe – Customise Water Anyone?

by Nishant Biswal who is very particular about mixing his drinks

MIO. mPower the marketing interest group of IIM Kozhikode

At first glance it seems like a ridiculous idea (to me anyhow). Why would anyone want to “enhance” their water? Is Kraft Foods trying to point accusatory fingers at the water we drink ? Will the addition of some colouring agent mixed with artificial flavours actually “enhance” the next glass of water I drink ? Hard to say what the rationale is but yours truly will make an attempt to decipher the thinking behind the launch of Mio – the Liquid Water Enhancer.

As with all product launches, Kraft Foods has made an attempt at generating consumer interest (testing the waters? heh) before going for a full on assault on the flavoured beverage market. To me it seems like a unique proposition – put the end user/customer/consumer in charge of his/her drink. And I think this emphasis on empowering the consumer is what will prove to be the USP of Mio. We are bombarded with pre-fabricated beverages from all conceivable angles. Neither the carbonic acid based drinks nor the packaged fruit juices provide you any choice in terms of their content. You buy a bottle of Coke, you will have to settle for whatever taste that emerges from their closely guarded formula (the security at Coke Plaza in Atlanta will put even Fort Knox to shame). Now all of a sudden I get to decide how strong or dilute I want my glass of fruit punch to be. I don’t know about you, but to me handing over kryptonite to wannabes like me is a master stroke.

I know friends who are very particular about the sugar content in their coffee or tea. Mio is bound to be successful with such discerning taste buds. The flavours which have been zeroed in on for the launch are – Berry Pomegranate, Fruit Punch, Mango Peach, Peach Tea, Sweet Tea and Strawberry Watermelon. An eclectic range of flavours which will appeal to a diverse range of palettes. It has zero calorific content and no sugar. The makers of Mio say that the use of an artificial sweetener, Sucralose, which is 600 times sweeter than sugar more than makes up for its absence. Priced $ 3.99 each vial of Mio will last you about 24 glasses of water. In rupee terms that is about Rs. 7.5 for a glass. Mio effectively costs lesser than your 200ml bottle of Coke and packet of Frooti. Add to that the nutritional benefits and what we have is a product that can take on the might of Dabur or Coke.

Mio in Spanish translates to “mine”. And the promotional campaigns including the commercials seem to have the customer focus at the centre of their message. The commercial gives us a window into the endless opportunities we have access to in terms of flavours and the strength of these flavours in our drinks. Mio tries to transform a mundane, boring chore like drinking water into something vibrant and fun. Whether it will be successful or not, only time will tell (changing habits is not easy and some may perceive adding Mio to regular water as a deterrent). Until then you can become a follower on its Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/MiO. Check out its delightfully creative symphony commercial .

 

Your author will be keeping a close watch on Mio’s next offering and hopefully we will know whether Kraft Foods has managed to create a winning product.

 

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Cashing in the chips

by Arjun Mohan who juggles 2 laptops, 3 jobs, 4 businesses and 50 credits in the second year of PGP at IIM Kozhikode without breaking anything, not even a sweat.
PepsiCo, through its Lays brand, created a market for potato chips in India in the nineties. The brand which is now a household name is extremely popular among the young Indians. But lately, Lays has been facing a lot of heat in the market it created.
It all started with ITC pinging the market with Bingo followed by similar products by Parle, Haldiram and Balaji. These players used the supply chain and retail network Lays painstakingly build over years. They bought potatoes from the same contract farmers and sold their products in the same shops nudging Lays in the ribs. The last 2 years have seen the competition intensify with local players such as Prakash snacks (Yellow Diamond) entering market and Parle relaunching its product (under Parle’s brand) with a 20% free offer. With so many players in the market, the competition on price points intensified and customer loyalty enjoyed by the segment eroded. In the 3 year war period, market share of Lays eroded from 66% to 58%, with the major share erosion in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat where Balaji snacks, Prakash snacks and Parle Agro had a strong product portfolio and distribution network.
2011 began with the AC Nielsen report above which pointed at PepsiCo’s losing grip on the chips market. The strategy adopted by PepsiCo India to counter the insurgence of its competitors is, to me, nothing less than legendary and in all probability will go in as a Harvard case study.
The company realized that in India there exists a market for differentiated varieties of chips. So PepsiCo started exactly the way Kotler suggested, by segmenting the chips market. They positioned their flagship product Lays in the higher segment and made numerous changes to the product. The quantity was increased to 32 g from 28 g and price increased to Rs. 15 from Rs. 10. The package was also redesigned by making it thinner and taller than the standard packaging adopted by the industry. This allowed Pepsi to differentiate their product from the Parle, Diamond and Balaji. To further establish the “difference”, they erected the retail stores with special shelves exclusively for Lays chips and paid the retail stores to give exclusive racks for Lays. The new retail planogram just had one motive – “Never keep Lays beside cheap competitors”. No wonder then that the second largest marketing expenditure incurred by Pepsico after mass media advertisement is in retail promotions.
For the cost conscious segment, Pepsi launched a new product – Lehar potato chips. Lehar copied its competitors in packaging and pricing and was positioned side by side with Balaji, Diamond and Haldirams. While the premium product Lays was always backed heavily by advertisements and promotions, Lehar received absolutely zero marketing allowing PepsiCo to compete heavily on price. With this master stroke of copying the copy cats, PepsiCo is turning the tables around and eating into the market share its competitors chipped away from it.
Lehar, the JV partner Pepsi used to enter India is a brand Pepsi uses for most of its products for the ‘aam aadmi’ such as its soda and now its chips. Pepsi also entered the namkeen segment with Lehar creating a strong competitor for Haldirams and Balaji. One cannot really tell if Pepsi is interested in capturing this segment which is concentrated in a few central Indian states or its strategy is just to prevent Balaji and Haldirams from growing strong (Both Balaji snacks and Haldirams made their money selling namkeen).
When I saw both Lehar and Lays in a shop in Mumbai, the first thing that came to my mind was the possibility of cannibalization. But  PepsiCo has launched Lehar potato chips only in the markets where it is facing competition from cheap copycats. In all other markets, they have launched Lehar namkeen alone. Recent market studies shows that this strategy is immensely successful with both Lays and Lehar showing increase in market share and sales. Will this strategy be successful in long term before competition catches up is something we will have to wait and see.

 

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Yamaha VMAX – Blazing A New Trail

In general any company launches a new product with the hope that it becomes a hit with the customers and its sales increase. But was this the only reason for the launch of The Yamaha VMAX ? Nitesh Kumar Gupta probes deeper

mPower the marketing interest group of IIM KozhikodeYamaha Motors, a Japanese company entered in India in 1980s and through the acquisition of Escorts Motors Private Limited in 1999 cemented its place in the market. It forayed into the market with Yamaha RX100 and RX135 in the mid-nineties. Everything was going well until a government regulation that banned 2-stroke bikes came into effect and Yamaha had to pull out its bikes from the market. Later it came up with many new models but they were not highly successful despite the fact that the engines of theses bikes were among the best in the business. Choice of marketing, inefficient operations strategy, lack of imported raw materials from Japan etc may be reasons why these models were not that successful. This was the case with Yamaha Enticer whose parts were from Japan. This model got many orders in India but due to less production in comparison to demand and inadequate raw materials it lost out to Bajaj Auto Limited’s Avenger. Yamaha’s niche in Japan is in racing bikes(high-premium segment) due to its high engine capacity. It realized that Indian market is viable for sports bikes and has shifted its focus from the lower end segments to the high-premium segment(from utility to luxury). Its aim is to provide its customers the full range of its engineering marvels that make Yamaha the company that it is. With the disposable income rising in India and the number of millionaires increasing day by day it is sure to find prospective customers. It saw an opportunity and grabbed it.

Now, the task ahead for  the company was to change its brand’s position from lower-end bike maker to a high-end youth oriented one. The company launched its legendary flagship muscle bike VMAX with the help of brand ambassador John Abraham for a whopping 20 lacs(ex-showroom New Delhi).Its powerful but sleek design and a 4-stroke engine(maximum power-147.2 kW-200PS @9000 rpm, displacement-1679 cc) awed customers who thronged showrooms to catch a glimpse.

Yukimine Tsuji, CEO, Yamaha Motor Pvt Ltd said, “We are constantly shifting gears to transform the market from utility to pleasure and lifestyle. With the launch of the all new VMAX, Yamaha brings a new credo for the bikers in India. Today, Yamaha is offering innovative designs, sporty looks and premium features across models as part of its strategy to give consumers a new thrill in biking. The limited edition of high demand model Fazer & FZ series is in line with this strategy.”

The bike maker’s motive here does not seem to be sale of many units and wanted those who buy it to feel exclusive (its target was to sell 25 VMAX bikes. It received 8 bookings till 2009).This is one step in attaining its goal of 10% market share by 2012 in India. Yamaha VMAX was thus introduced in the Indian Market (there are not many competitors in this segment as of now) to entice the customers and route the demand to the other racing bikes like R15, the YZ series, MT01 etc. The price tag of Rs. 21 lakhs is being encashed by gaining customer attention and displaying its cutting edge engine and chassis technology.

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It’s all about the placement

by Chetna Sharma AKA Cheta/Chintu/Chetu – an Introvert,Movie and sitcom buff who loves sleeping and travelling

Product placement has found its relevance in movies, sitcoms, sports, game shows, novels and video games. A key part of brand development important point is making your brand more instantly accessible in memory and that’s what product placement does. The high recall, recognition and positive attitude scores suggest are responsible for consumer’s better responsiveness to product placement.

1. Product placement is non-interruptive: Viewers aren’t annoyed because their favourite T.V programs are not interrupted. Also they cannot be screened out.

2. Consumer is low on guard: It seeps into our subconscious it represents a natural, non-persuasive way of promoting brand or a firm. Making advertising less advertorial is what works. Product placement is seamless and gels well with the story line or theme. For this, relevance of products to the situation needs to be created- this is possible by incorporating the placement planning at a script level. For e.g. Subhash Ghai-produced and -directed blockbuster Taal, which had this very romantic scene featuring Aishwarya Rai and Akshaye Khanna sharing a bottle of Coke. Rachel green in popular sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S working in Ralph Lauren the fashion brand. These ideas were blended so meticulously into the storylines, that it is quite difficult to sense the advertising mania

 

3. Product placement is done for an important event or important person, main protagonist, big celebrity or high emotional involvement activity therefore has high recall and relevance. For e.g. in the movie Taare Zameen Par, Fevicryl was used as the colour used by all the participants in the drawing competition. The main protagonist Darsheel’s elder brother also gifts him Fevicryl colour prints. You’ve got Mail featuring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan had America Online (AOL) associated with main event of the movie that was sending the mail. Live shows: i10 as first prize you associate i10 with victory or something good.

4. Better segmentation: Audiences become fragmented into class specific segments; marketers are faced with the more difficult task of communicating their brand messages. A careful selection of a movie or a TV serial to place a product will help in reaching the target audience. Product is associated with the consumer profile that will watch the sitcom, as watching that movie/sitcom shows that either you aspire to be like the character or you relate to them. For eg: For instance Krrish targeted children, Dil chahta hai targeted youth, Vivah targeted audience of small cities, products like Jewelries and Sarees are feminine products and rightly placed in soaps like ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi kabhi Bahu Thi’ and ‘Kasauti Zindagi Ki’ which has a lot of female viewership.

5. Social validation: Consumers may view product placement as a way of determining which products are “cool” and become “must haves” for their peer group. Vanity-type products such as cell phones, apparel and beauty, are the best product placement performers. E.g.RayBan associated itself with Men in Black; most of the fashion products follow this route.

6. Better attention span: Watching a movie or serial is high attention and involving activity. The particular exposure context associated with movies in theatres (lights off, minimal noise and distraction possibilities, large screen, difficulty in moving around, no zapping) is bound to lead to a high level of consumer attention as opposed to, say, listening to an ad.

But consumers are not stupid. Consumers are aware of when they are being pitched, and poor product placement creative could potentially affect how the program content is viewed. Debate is till on .Is product placement better than traditional advertising?

 

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