Brand Updates – 26/10/2013

1) Consumer products maker Dabur to launch milkshake under the ‘Real’ brand

Consumer products maker Dabur will soon enter the packaged milkshake market by extending its juice brand Real into the Rs 500-crore flavoured milk category dominated by dairy product companies such as Amul, Vadilal and Parag Foods.

The product, Réal Fruit Shakes, is being test-marketed in Delhi and Punjab, Praveen Jaipuriar, marketing head – foods at Dabur India said. It will be Dabur’s second dairy product after yoghurt, launched earlier this year. With increasingly health-conscious Indian consumers slowly moving from carbonated soft drinks to healthier options, flavoured milk represents one of the fastest growing segments in the dairy market. 

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2) Fast-food chain Burger King to enter India with PE firm Everstone Capital

Burger King, one of the world’s top fast-food companies, will soon enter India through a franchising partnership with a company that will be headed by the present CEO of its UK operations and majority-owned by private equity firm Everstone Capital, a rare instance of a PE fund partnering with a fast-food chain. Everstone owns a controlling stake in Pan India Food Solutions, which operates a host of restaurants, including Noodle Bar, Copper Chimney, Spaghetti Kitchen and the local franchisee of US-based Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.


Burger King, which is famous for its signature Whopper sandwich, will be among the last big global food chains to enter India. Its arrival, ironically, will happen at a time its global rival McDonald’s is involved in a bitter legal battle with one of its franchise partners in the country.

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3) Mukesh Ambani forays into chicken business, to take on KFC

Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industires plans to run an exclusive chicken restaurant chain in India in partnership with a UK-based company as he seeks a bite of the quick service restaurant (QSR) pie, which is pegged to grow at 30% per annum. The chain, to be called ‘Chicken came First’ will directly compete with KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken), the world’s most popular chicken restaurant chain. RIL has picked up a 45% equity stake in Two Sisters Foods India (TSFI), which belongs to 2 Sisters Food Group (2SFG). 2SFG, the third largest food company in UK, supplies poultry, red meat, fish, and bakery and chilled/frozen products to the retail, food service and food manufacturing sectors.

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4) As smoking gets dearer, ITC bets on nicotine gum

The big daddy of cigarette business, ITC, is now gearing up to woo smokers with an antidote — Kwiknic nicotine chewing gums — to their “injurious to health” habit. In the process, the company is restructuring a dormant category, hitherto the domain of drug companies. The move by the maker of such popular cigarette brands as Gold Flake, Wills Navy Cut and Scissors is aimed at diversifying beyond traditional business which has become tougher in the face of excise duty hikes, anti-smoking campaigns and health concerns.

Positioned as an over-the-counter (OTC) product, ITC intends to exploit its strong retail distribution channel for the national roll out of Kwiknic. Pharma companies sell nicotine chewing gums largely through the chemists’ network – both as an OTC product as well as a prescription drug. ITC’s arrival will create competition for Johnson & Johnson’s Nicorette (US President Barack Obama’s favourite) and Cipla’s Nicotex and Nicogum in the Rs 20-crore Indian market — small, but growing at a whopping 43%.

The nicotine chewing gum is a popular and effective method of long term nicotine replacement therapy globally. The World Health Organisation has included it under the essential medicines list. In India, where about nine lakh people die every year due to diseases related to tobacco, the government has been ramping up efforts towards tobacco control. Gutka sale is banned in most states and taxes on tobacco products have been increased regularly to curb consumption. Kwiknic’s rollout is happening just two months before New Year’s Day when smokers usually “resolve” to kick the butt. Perhaps, along with ITC, smokers too can pin their hopes on Kwiknic.

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5) Cigarette makers launch smaller price packs to revive market

Top cigarette makers ITC and Godfrey Phillips have taken a leaf out of cola giants and FMCG firms’ book by launching smaller price packs to revive the market after volume sales fell more than 3% during April-September due to a sharp spurt in prices.

ITC, which has more than 70% market share in the around Rs 35,000-crore Indian cigarette market, has launched shorter-stick variants of its popular brands such as Gold Flake and Navy Cut nationally, over the last six months after test-marketing such products in select states. The company has launched variants in both the sub-65 mm length, which attracts lower taxes, as well as 69 mm sticks, as compared to the usual 74-84 mm length.

“Consumers are down trading to the smaller size stick packs aided by the launch of newer variants under the popular brand names,” Nitin Mathur, consumer research analyst at Espirito Santo Securities, said. “These packs would play a significant role in ensuring volume growth for the cigarette companies impacted due to the massive price rise,” he said. Another factor pushing sales of small size cigarettes is the ban imposed on gutkha sales in 26 states and seven union territories. A recent survey by Edelweiss reveals that almost 38% of gutkha users have shifted to the consumption of cigarettes.

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6) Cola giants gear up for rural slugfest

It has the potential to become one of the most fiercely fought battles in the history of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo India. After wrestling it out on urban streets, the world’s biggest cola majors are racing down the rural path for growth. Coca-Cola India has launched a programme to train dhabawallas in the basic skills of handling customers and managing eating joints. This comes close on the heels of its Parivartan training programme that helped build the retailing capability of nearly 1.8 lakh kirana storeowners. PepsiCo India, on the other hand, is focusing on quirky marketing campaigns and a more robust distribution model to woo rural customers. For the festive season, PepsiCo India is launching a talk-time promo offer that will give pre-paid mobile users in rural markets a unique opportunity to win free mobile talk time.

Data from the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) reveals that urbanizing double-income households , changing lifestyles and food preferences are driving the organized market for the “eating out” business segment , which is estimated to be at around Rs 78,000 crore but expected to reach Rs 1,68,000 crore in five years. For instance, according to the Directorate of Census Operations in Bangalore, about 3.5 lakh people in Karnataka eat out every day with the practice being more widespread in rural areas than in urban agglomerations — 0.6% for rural population and 0.5% for their urban counterparts in the state do not cook at home at all.

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7) India Inc eyes villagers’ growing appetite for sweet

When a household moves beyond the regular grocery and soap buying to include chocolates and cream biscuits from the spare cash in their wallets, they are said to be moving from being ‘deprivers’ to ‘aspirers’ . Driven by a higher aspiration level, rural India consumers have now started adding chocolates and cream biscuits of the Oreo kind to their monthly purchase baskets in what is being seen as a dramatic shift in buying habits. Such products are broadly categorized by marketers as items of impulse purchase.

The propensity to spend on such products, marketing experts said, stems from the extra money rural folks are saving from the various government-led schemes, making them aspiring consumers much like their urban counterparts . It appears there is only a 10-15 % gap among the rural and urban consumers with regard to awareness about such products.

Both chocolates and biscuits are growing at very healthy rates. To latch on to the demand, leading chocolate maker Cadbury India is expanding into villages with 5,000-10 ,000 population in nine states and will establish a scalable and sustainable route to this market by 2015. The aim is to cover at least 75-80 % of the rural potential in the next two-three years.

Of the total Rs 5,500-crore chocolate market, rural India contributes about 16-17 %, while rural villages of population strata 5,000-10 ,000 contribute about 5%, which makes it a market of nearly Rs 300 crore growing at 19% CAGR for chocolates and 10% for creams. Interestingly , while the general perception is that rural consumers only buy small price packs of Rs 2, it turns out that maximum sales occur at the Rs-5 price point and Rs 10 is becoming the fastest growing price point.

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Brand Updates – 16/10/2013

1) Reckitt Benckiser clinches third spot ahead of Godrej Consumer, Marico in home & personal care market

Reckitt Benckiser has topped Godrej Consumer and Marico to clinch the third spot in the Indian home and personal care market, even as the British firm plans to build one of its biggest factories in the country by next year.

Reckitt Benckiser India (RB India), which sells products ranging from soaps to over-the-counter medicines to condoms, posted revenues of Rs 3,593 crore for the year ended March as per its latest filing, slightly ahead of Godrej Consumer, Marico and Colgate-Palmolive (see graphic).

Market leader Hindustan Unilever is, however, four times its size and competes with the Dettol-maker in soaps and household products. Procter & Gamble too is ahead of RB India, but only after combining all its three businesses, including Gillette and P&G Hygiene.

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2) Serving the below middle-class consumer: A look at their spending habits

There is one category of Indian consumers that is the least understood — a section that is neither poor nor middle-class. This class of consumers, which earns anything between Rs 90,000 and Rs 2 lakh a year, forms a third of the country’s population and commands substantial buying power.

Here’s a snapshot of their spending habits…

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3) MRF trumps Apollo in home market

The Chennai-based tyre maker is now India’s fastest growing and most profitable tyre maker, beating its peers on almost all financial parameters. In the last five years, MRF revenues have grown at compounded annual rate of 20.2 per cent, faster than closest rival Apollo Tyres, which grew at 17 per during the period on a standalone basis. MRF’s profit growth has been even faster. From FY08 to FY13, MRF’s operating profit (on standalone basis) expanded at an annualised rate of 26 per cent, against 15.7 per cent growth reported by Apollo Tyres during the period. MRF’s net profit during the period expanded at a rate of 29.6 per cent against 8.4 per cent growth recorded by Apollo Tyres. MRF is not only growing faster but widening its lead over Apollo Tyres. (See chart)


For analysts however MRF’s diversified product portfolio with presence across the vehicle category is one of its biggest competitive strength besides its brand equity in the replacement market. “MRF has a strong brand loyalty in the replacement market that enables it to charge a premium over peers. It gets nearly three-fourth of its revenues from the replacement market that is more profitable,” says G Chokkalingam, managing director & chief investment officer, Centrum Wealth Management.

A strong foothold in the aftermarket helped MRF to make the most of the automotive boom in India. A passenger car require new set of tyres every three to four years while commercial vehicles sales need a new set almost every year. A boom in new vehicle sales translates into a boom in aftermarket with a lag of few quarters. MRF made the most of it with its calibrated investment in branding and sales & distribution. “MRF is one the most recognised brands in the industry and has one the widest distribution network in the industry,” says Devang Mehta, senior vice president and head equity sales at Anand Rathi Financial Services.

In last three years, MRF has steadily stepped its brand spend and is now the biggest advertiser in the industry. During its latest fiscal year ending September 2012, MRF spend Rs 120 crore on advertisements, two and half times jump over three years. In contrast, Apollo’s advertising budget shrunk to Rs 95 crore in FY13 from Rs 154 crore in FY09. It complemented this by stepping up brand visibility on the ground by opening a chain of exclusive MRF T&S (tyre and sales) stores across all cities. Designed like a modern store with all creature comforts, T&S stocks the entire range of MRF tyres and employ company trained technicians to provide the entire gamut of tyre and wheel related services that the owners of modern cars require. Set-up under franchisee model, the company now has nearly 400 T&S nationally and over two-dozen in Delhi NCR region itself, the country’s largest passenger car market.

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4) Onida looks to regain lost market share, new CEO plans Rs 50-crore ad campaign

Onida, a domestic television and home appliances brand, is reviving part of its once-famous tagline, ‘neighbour’s envy, owner’s pride,’ as it seeks to regain its lost market share under its new CEO YV Verma.

Onida was one of the top television brands along with BPL and Videocon in the 80s and 90s. Once it started losing ground, Onida made several attempts to stay relevant and expanded its product portfolio to even include mobile phones, but it did not work out.


Mirc Electronics, owners of the Onida brand, will use the tagline ‘owner’s pride’ for its new campaign to mark the launch of a line-up of premium products including an LED television with loud sound output and a microwave oven that can measure the quantity of raw material and accordingly programme itself for cooking at the touch of a button.

At present, Mirc has some 5-6% market share across categories such as television, washing machine and air-conditioner. At a time when Japanese brands such as Sony and Panasonic are giving strong competition to LG and Samsung, it won’t be easy for an Indian band to make much impact in a highly competitive electronics and appliances market. Verma and his new team will sure prove Mirc’s pride if they make Onida a top brand once again.

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5) Prestige to spend Rs 300cr on marketing; to launch water filters

Home appliances maker TTK Prestige, which recently signed on Bollywood couple Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as brand ambassadors, will spend Rs 300 crore over the next three years on marketing/brand building.


Jagannathan, Chairman, said the company is also looking at foraying into the water filter category. “We launch one (new) category in three-four years and this year we will launch water filters…water filter category has big players, you have HUL in the business,” he said, adding, the company’s water filters will be priced about Rs 3,000 onwards. “The water filter market is Rs 3,000 crore and we are in a Rs 1,000-cr category, which is gravity filters. This is the largest category and the fastest growing category”

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From a follower to a leader – The Samsung Journey

From the humble background of a trading company established in the late ‘30s to an electronic chip manufacturer and supplier in the early ‘60s, Samsung has come a long way towards being the leader in technological innovation. Today, it has raced ahead in the competition leaving behind formidable opponents such as Apple, Sony and Nokia to become the world’s largest information technology company in 2012 – a well-deserved award for the company.

Samsung started its electronics division business as a supplier of electronic chips to the large scale electronics goods manufacturers such as Sony. It was known for its better than average quality products in the late ‘80s-‘90s. Their recent achievements in the mobile phone industry are a fruit of their long-standing aim of becoming the finest technology provider in the world. To achieve that in the presence of companies like Apple, Sony, LG, Blackberry and Nokia is what makes Samsung’s growth special.

While there is no doubt that Samsung has a strong focus centric R&D team, the company also takes pride in its marketing. Over time, the company focused on taking the Samsung brand equity several notches higher than what it was earlier. Focusing primarily on building brand awareness, Samsung has managed to create a very stable and loyal customer base in almost all the prime geographical locations across the world. Today, Samsung caters to a vast cadre of people ranging from value sensitive customers to the most advanced technology savvy professionals.


Samsung’s brand building strategy has been a marketing marvel. While the company’s focus has always been to project itself as a leader in innovation, its wide range of customized products passed a strong message about their presence in price segment too. While Samsung’s engineering excellence helped them compete with both Nokia and Motorola in the price segment and Apple in the value segment, their solid base in marketing projected them as a leader in innovation. Samsung’s strong B2B and B2C marketing strategy coupled with its near perfect execution of promotional campaigns through internet and print media has been instrumental in building their brand image.

Over the years, with a strong connect with customers, Samsung has learnt how to win over customers and it seems likely that the company all set to dominate the future as well.

_____________________________________________________________________________________  Shubhra Ghosh is a PGP2 student at IIMA and a member of Niche. He did his B.E. in Computer Science from M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology (MSRIT) (2011 batch)

Brand Updates – 09/10/2013

1) Sprite topples Thums Up from numero uno position after three decades

Thums Up, which ruled India’s fizzy drinks market for three decades, has been toppled from its perch by Sprite — both of them beverages from Coca-Cola India’s portfolio — in an indication that consumers here are rejecting colas, in line with trends elsewhere. While Thums Up’s share for August was 15.3%, that of Sprite was 15.6%. For the previous two months as well, Thums Up has trailed behind Sprite, according to the latest Nielsen numbers.


Coca-Cola India now puts a lot of marketing muscle behind Thums Up, spending the most on it among all its brands in India. It has brand endorsement by Salman Khan, the country’s most expensive Bollywood star. The brand was previously endorsed by Akshay Kumar.

Sprite, on the other hand, has never used a well-known personality to endorse it. Instead, it has relied on irreverence with its cheeky ads sometimes aimed at Mountain Dew’s macho posturing. Sprite’s current brand positioning is ‘Chalo apni chaal’, which roughly translates as ‘Do your own thing’.

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2) PIL against Hindustan Unilever, P&G, Colgate and Johnson & Johnson for use of ‘improper sealing methods’

The packaging seal used by four multinational companies has come under the spotlight after a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Bombay High Court highlighted the use of improper sealing methods, which could be potentially hazardous for consumers.

Activist-lawyer Geetanjali Tapan Dutta, in her petition, named consumer giants HUL, Procter & Gamble, Colgate Palmolive (India) and Johnson & Johnson, claiming that due to improper sealing of their personal care, hygiene and cosmetic products, there’s a risk of contamination, especially during transit.

“I have seen many times when shop owners or walk-in customers casually pick up products like deodrants and perfumes from the shelves and put them back again,” said Dutta, when contacted. “So, the consumer actually gets less of the product that they have paid for. Also, there are chances of contamination which can be dangerous,” she explained.

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3) Emami launches anti-pollution face wash range

FMCG firm Emami Ltd today announced launch of anti pollution face wash range under its ‘Boroplus’ brand in order to strengthen its position in the fast growing face wash marketThe company, which has a moisturising face wash under its portfolio, will focus on the new anti pollution range and will also add more variants, the company said. 

Commenting on the launch, Emami Ltd Director Priti A Sureka said: “Face wash is a growing category to be in. With more than Rs 1,000 crore in value sales in 2012-13, it continues to show impressive growth numbers. The range will be rolled out pan-India by October 2013 and we are anticipating an aggressive market share and growth within the first year of the launch,” Sureka added. The new anti pollution face wash range includes BoroPlus anti pollution daily face wash, BoroPlus oil control face wash and BoroPlus gentle exfoliating scrub.

4) KFC’s lunch play

Through its latest ad campaign, KFC has made its first concerted effort towards owning a specific part of the day – lunch time. Fast food restaurant chain KFC sees itself as a brand that chases ubiquity in every sense of the word. The most recent step in that direction is the launch of Rice Bowlz, a lunch time offering. To promote this new item, Ogilvy India has created a marketing campaign led by a 25-second television commercial that’s currently on air. The ad features a busy, time-strapped professional who breaks for lunch with KFC’s new offering and goes to hilarious lengths to put off work while he’s at it.


It’s for any working person who tends to compromise on lunch because he doesn’t have enough time and doesn’t have lunch from home. Typically, this profile fits what he calls “the first-jobber with a median age of 25 years.” The product is designed around this youngster who is either on the run following his boss’ orders or stuck in work meetings all day, with little or no respite for a lunchtime meal.

Rice Bowlz is an attempt to make the brand relevant for young adults during lunchtime. Traditionally, KFC has had a strong dinner menu. And KFC’s food is “inherently sharable”, what with its chicken buckets and the like. “KFC is inherently designed for groups eating out, something Indians tend to do,” shares Dhruv Kaul, director, marketing, KFC India. Rice Bowlz, in a flight from tradition, is meant for solo consumption.

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WILD STONE: Understanding ‘Sexy’

Sex always sells. In today’s information-cluttered environment, no other theme could enrapture the entire youth and adult segment as powerfully as it. It is one of the modern marketer’s go-to methods. Nothing proves this like the deluge of recent ads that be labeled ‘raunchy’, ‘naughty’ or even downright too-explicit. But what to do when all brands in your category is following the same route to success? How to make your ‘sexy’ better than their ‘sexy’?


Do it like Wild Stone of course. The brand was a relatively late entrant in the Male Deodorant category in India – a category already captured by Axe and Set Wet, who enjoyed great benefits of their First-mover advantage and heavy advertising. The marketing strategy used by these giants was the prevalent one used by all those not differentiating as sporty or formal. The communication mainly revolved about the transformation of the uninspiring average Joe into the jealousy-inducing Chick magnet. To better capture the attention of the hormone-laden 15-30 years aged male segment, the communication of all brands had thick sexual overtones. How could Wild Stone play the same card as everyone and still get noticed?

Wild Stone’s strategy to break this clutter was one of personalized overdose. While ‘sexy’ was the buzzword in the segment, the communication was not personalized to the Indian clientele. Axe and Set Wet propagated their message through foreign models in foreign locations. While they did capture attention and communicate, the characters weren’t relatable to the audience. This is where Wild Stone differentiated. Indianizing and deepening the sexual overtones, they communicated through Indian men and women, who the audience can relate to, set in typically Indian scenes like Durga Puja, Holi or Monsoon season.

Wild Stone also better understood the Indian male and their psyche, which is less narcissistic but more passionate than the West. While others promised the user the attention of hordes of girls, Wild Stone promised inciting deep passion and frenzied fantasies in a single woman – Indian, traditional, mysterious and not overtly sexual. Unlike others who were tagged as ‘playful’ and ‘youthful’, Wild Stone became associated with ‘passion’ and ‘mystery’.

This clear differentiation by better understanding the target segment has made Wild Stone the top brand in several states, with universal awareness. Amongst the top three brands in the fastest growing FMCG category today, Wild Stone is all set for success – just because it better understood ‘sexy’.


Mayank Anand is a PGP2 student at IIMA and a member of Niche. He did his B.Tech. in Information and Technology from IIIT Allahabad (2012 batch)