Monday, March 29, 2010

Come out of the clutches

It always is a pain to commute on a bike. Though am not the correct person to comment (I've always been a free-rider aka pillion for most of my life), there certainly is an equal amount of risk involved along with the joy. There have been attempts to make it more friendly with automatic scooters, mopeds etc. However, the consumer behavior is something which plays a major role here. Who would want to drive a gear-less scooter considered more feminine? How many of you have seen a guy driving a Scooty pep?

But, there has always been something that is behind your mind when you drive through the rush streets...clutch, gear, clutch-gear change....isn't it all cumbersome? Can I not take all these off and still retain the basic features of a bike? Yes, says TVS with its new bike Jive

Jive is the latest entrant into the 110 CC bike middle-income target, but with a change. Jive has auto-clutch mechanism featuring an innovative patent-pending technology. Then there are the usuals that come with a bike and TVS has done well to retain all of them.

Hero Honda Street came flashing to my mind hearing about Jive. Being someone who drove Street for a good 2 years, I always felt it is a bike suited for the Indian market. However, because of the wrong packaging (yeah, it looked a moped than a bike) and the not-so-good marketing, Street went out of the market as soon as it came.

Will Jive drastically change the market? Tough but not impossible. Shrewd marketing and positioning can do wonders for the brand. However, there are certain things that might prove obstacles to them.
For one, the bike doesn't look stylish enough to attract the masses. TVS could be factoring on the comfort and ease factors but will they be enough to drive sales?
More importantly, customers in this segment look at the sales and the resale value of the bikes. Splendor has always been the darling of the masses because of the resale record of Hero Honda. Will this stop Jive from claiming the market position?

It still is early to comment on the success or otherwise of Jive. But, what it triggered is a frenzy activity in the market. We could be in for a revolutionary market changing concept. Jive along!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What an Idea sirji

It indeed is no exaggeration to say that Abhishek is actually abhi shake. His ubiquitous presence in Idea has been an idea in itself. Be it wielding power as a village head ordering everyone to chuck out names or donnign the role of a doctor asking people to walk the talk, the junior B has done it all for Idea.

The revolutionary theme off-late has been the effort to step up green ways. It indeed is a social theme linked to the commercial aspects...well, subtly. What you see is what you see AB Jr. smartly manning the role of a tree and pushing all of us towards using the phone instead of a paper.

Smart..very smart. No where is ita direct brand awareness programme. In fact, Idea is not promoting Idea at all. It actually is promoting the 'green idea' but subtly says that this is its Idea. Result? You get so reached upon by the novelty and the generosity of the idea that you end up remembering the brand more than ever!

It indeed is what an idea sir ji...all of its ads were; the 'walk and talk' ad changed the perception. Remember, people actually walked prior to that ad as well. But now, when you see someone walking while talking, you can't stop yourself saying walk and talk. As they say, it is a master stroke...a candid master stroke

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ad-war is here again!

The heroics of Sachin not withstanding, the last week was a pleasant surprise for me. After a long time, we got to see an ad-war. Of course, the Nutralie-Amul and the others were trying to heat up the scene but what better than the two best FMCG companies jostling for attention in ads.

It would be difficult to recreate the ad here (you need to understand and appreciate my limited expertise at translation) but it goes something like this...a proud woman flaunting her Tide gets her ego busted with another woman showcasing the seemingly-better credentials of Rin . The whole point of the exercise is to establish that Rin is much better at providing whiteness to clothes than Tide.

Before we look at the nuances, is it permitted? It certainly is, if you are not leaving ambiguous things at the disposal of the consumer by comparison. To put more simply, 'whiteness' isn't a criterion that is universal or easy to comprehend. This might put a spanner in the work of HUL.

But why the fuss? Well, it is common knowledge that FMCG companies wouldn't like to lose share. Especially in these times, when value is the new volume. Emphasize better value and retain your customers, if not poach your competitors'. More over, there isn't a doubt in the marketing circles that Tide is making Rin run all the way for every inch of its share with its variants.

What will happen next? HUL is running a slippery ground with the inadvertent usage of 'whiteness'. If P&G takes up the issue with the Advertising Council of India, HUL might face the ignominy of reneging its claims. Then of course is the legal angle which could well be the way for P&G.

However, there is an interesting catch in this. If HUL has at least been partially successful in its ad, will this be the advent of a new ad war? Are we going to see the breach of new records ala Sachin? I can't wait to see...