Sunfill : RIP (2001-2005

Brand : Sunfill Company: Coca Cola Brand Count : 191

Sunfill was Coca Cola's foray into the Soft Drink Concentrate market in India. Globally it was the company's first foray into the powder concentrate segment. This good product died after 4 years primarily because the company did not consider worthwhile to focus on marketing this product.

Sunfill was introduced in 2001 and Coca Cola intended to take on Rasna in the Rs 180 crore soft drinks concentrate market in India. Rasna was dominating the market with a share of over 85%. Sunfill was a powder soft drink concentrate . Powder concentrate occupy85% of the total soft drinks concentrate market. Sunfill came in three variants : Regular,Anand and Tarang.

Sunfill differentiated from Rasna by taking the convenience route. The concentrate had added sugar in it so to make the drink was easy for the consumer. While other concentrates, sugar need to be added hence was cumbersome for the consumer. The taste of Sunfill was also better compared to other brands ( personal opinion). The brand also innovated in packaging by coming out with single serve packs and also multi serve pillow packs. The biggest challenge for any FMCG/SDC products was distribution. Sunfill found an innovative method to reach the market. It had alliances with other FMCG firms in reaching the market. The brand had its own channel + third party alliance (Hybrid network) to ensure that the brand is available in all stores.

But somehow the product failed in the market. The issue was with regard to distribution, product and the promotion. The product had some quality issues. In my personal experience, some of the packs had very bad quality concentrate . At one point of time, the product was not available in the stores. The issue in promotion was regarding the positioning. When Sunfill came into the market, Rasna countered Sunfill with its own range of powder concentrate with added sugar.Hence the differentiation became negated for Sunfill. The promotion investment for Sunfill was not adequate to counter the huge brand equity that Rasna enjoyed. I have a feeling that Sunfill was a half hearted effort from the company.That was reflected in the promotions for the product which ultimately lead to the death of a high potential brand I still feel that the company did not do justice to the brand which had a potential to make it big in the SDC market but the plug was pulled on Sunfill in 2005. Related Rasna
Source: Agencyfaqs,businessline,magindia


Labels: beverages, failed brands, marketing myopia
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 9 : 5 2 A M 0 C O M M E N T S

F R I D A Y, D E C E M B E R 2 9 , 2 0 0 6

Maruti Gypsy : RIP
Brand : Gypsy Company: Maruti Suzuki Brand Count : 182

Gypsy was one of India's first sports utility vehicles. The vehicle created a

breakaway category of SUV offroader from the existing jeep category which was

dominated by

Mahindra. Born in 1985, the brand

was considered as an aspirational one by many young at hearts.The brand was positioned on the basis of its ruggedness. The brand was promoted as a pure offroader. The ads used to say that Gypsy could even climb trees. The positioning was reinforced by the success of the brand in rally and offroad events. Maruti also promoted such events to boost the brand as the ultimate offroader. The brand had the tagline of " There is a Gypsy in Everyone".

But the brand failed to capitalise on the first mover advantage although it is still considered to be one of the sportiest looking SUV in the Indian market. The brand is now confined to certain niche markets like Police and Army vehicle segments. Gypsy was the rebadged version of Suzuki Jimny. Although Jimny is still surviving, Gypsy is in the last stage of its product life cycle. The brand which pioneered the offroader category sadly is dying when the SUV category has started growing. The brand failed because of the apathy of the company in investing in the brand. The product had inherent problem that created negative word of mouth and the company didn't cared to look at the negatives of the brand. Gypsy although considered as a tough vehicle lacked many important attributes valued by a customer. The driving quality and the mileage was awful. The product was priced at a ridiculous premium which was not justified interms of the delivery of value. The brand was priced at around Rs 5 lakh which is comparable with a entry level sedan.The product although looked excellent outside was a mess inside. The vehicle lacked space and comfort especially for the rear seat. It had all the qualities for an offroader but failed to understand that Indian consumers use offroaders on roads ( cities).The mileage was awful and that ensured that only

those who fall head over heals over the looks only will buy this brand . Since MUL at that time was in the public sector, the brand was sold to Police and army. For the ordinary consumers, the brand did not made any sense. Gypsy also did not change itself in tune with the changing industry requirements. The vehicle initially was severely underpowered for an offroader. The company

enhanced the power from 975cc to engine but was priced

1300 cc only after steeply.

11 years. Gypsy King was launched in 1996 sported the more powerful Esteem The last four years has shown that SUV category is growing very fast fuelled by the success of the likes of Mahindra Scorpio. Most of the global bigwigs in the SUV segment is now there in India. Suzuki also has launched its brand Grand Vitara in this segment. But in the current scheme of things, Gypsy was sadly not in the picture.

Compare the picture of the Suzuki Jimny (given in the blog) and Gypsy and see the difference. Had this brand changed its looks and feel in tune with the emerging category requirements, Gypsy could have been a major brand. But Alas.... the brand's fate is to be cited as an example of Marketing Myopia or is it Marketing,wikipedia


Related Tata sierra Labels: automobile brands, branding, failed brands, marketing myopia
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 9 : 4 8 A M 1 C O M M E N T S


M O N D A Y, D E C E M B E R 1 8 , 2 0 0 6

Vanilla Coke : Wakaw
Brand :Vanilla Coke Company: Coca Cola Agency: McCann Erickson Brand Count : 178 Vanilla Coke was touted as the greatest innovation since Diet Coke in 1983. It also has the distinction of the greatest flops after the New Coke. Vanilla Coke came with a bang in the Indian market in April 2004. It went without much noise in

2005. The history of this product variant dates back as early as 1950's. The mass marketing of this variant began in 2002.The brand went global in 2004. 2004 saw the unusual scream " Wakaw" played across mass media. We all looked up in awe : a brand new variant from Coca Cola : Vanilla Coke. The brand was targeted at the metro youth was different. It was different in taste, promotion, package, price etc. Vanilla Coke was promoted in retro style. The brand had Vivek Oberoi , the then bollywood flame endorsing the brand in an unusual style. Vivek sported the retro look with typical combination of Elvis style + Shammi Kapoor style in an Old Lamby Scooter screaming Wakaw. The ads were surely clutter breaking and backed by 360 degree branding efforts that ensured good publicity. The creative done by the famed Prasoon Joshi was discussed in all media and that ensured truck loads of free publicity. The brand also got into viral marketing. The campaign along with Contenst2win asked the c

ustomers to SMS Wakaw to 8558 inorder to win goodies. According to media reports, the campaign resulted in 440,000 SMS in just 4 weeks creating a record of sorts. According to report, the media brief given to the agency was to create a clutter breaking campaign targeted at youth. The campaign should create a dhamaka in the market. And rightly so all the client requirements was achieved with in a short span of time. But how come a product with such a good start failed so easily. With in one year, the brand has been taken out from most of the Indian states. The brand is said to be available in Gujarat,Kolkatta and Delhi. As a marketing person, I am also perplexed. Frankly I liked the ad the feel and wanted to try it out. But soon the product was not at all available. The failure of this product line extension may have delighted Alries and Trout . I am assuming that the following factors may have caused the failure of this brand. a. The product may have been bad. The TG may not have liked the taste. Although Coke has test marketed this product, there is always a chance that the customers may have disliked the taste. b.The campaign was not targeted at the right segment. This campaign had its fair share of critics also. I liked the campaign because I have seen the old stars and the lamby etc and could easily relate the old characters and the concept. But for a

twenty year old, he may not relate or understand the concept. The brand may have lost out in that respect. c. The brand was priced at a premium over the ordinary coke. This may have discouraged the TG from checking out the brand. Together with the retro campaign not clicking with the intended audience may have given a double whammy for the brand. d. Indian SD industry is a duopoly. Pepsi and Coke rule the roast and there are brand loyal on both sides. The new variant will be tested first by the Coke loyal and not the Pepsi loyal. Hence like most of the Product line extensions, the variant will be pitted against the mother brand. Hence the customers may have compared the new variant with the classic coke and not as a new drink. And surely These are the all classic assumptions because coke I am won still . confused.

The failure of Vanilla Coke is a classic case that proves that Marketing is not a perfect science. There are no formula or theory that can make a brand successful. To Quote Kotler " Marketing is easy to teach and understand but difficult to practice".

Related Brands

Thums Up Coke Sprite

Labels: beverages, branding, failed brands, marketing myopia
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 1 1 : 3 6 A M 0 C O M M E N T S

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Clearasil : For Clear Skin
Brand : Clearasil Company: Reckitt & Benckiser

Agency: Euro Rscg Brand Count : 177 <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--><!--[endif]--> <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->Clearasil was a brand that was synonymous with skin care in India. The brand occupied a distinct space in the Indian market as the ultimate cream for Pimples and acne. But over the years this brand is facing the decline stage in its

product life cycle. The b reasons not of its own.

rand reached this pathetic state because of

Clearasil is a global brand famous world wide as a cure for acne and pimples. The brand is 56 year old. Mr Ivan Combe of USA invented the product in 1950. It was the first dermatological brand for curing pimples and acne made especially for young skin. In 1961, the brand came into the fold of Richardson Vicks. In 1985 P&G became the owner of Richardson Vicks. Later the company sold of these brands to Boots Pharmaceuticals in the year 2000. In 2006, Reckitt &Benckiser bought the brand globally. The brand came to India in 1967. Now you can easily see the reason why the brand failed. The brand went through too many ownership changes. Some companies did not feel that the brand was a part of its core portfolio. For example during the ownership of Clearasil by P&G there was no investment on the brand since for the company, the personal care business was not a core area. Hence during this period the brand was not at all promoted. Even though the other owners had tried to revive the brand, frequent changes made the brand vulnerable. <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->Clearas

il during its peak years had the

reputation as a strong cream for fighting pimples and acnes. At that time there was no direct competition for Clearasil although there were many skin creams. For a family having teenage girls, Clearasil was an essential brand. But over the years, because of the lack of brand building efforts, the brand became irrelevant to the younger generation. Clearasil slowly became the brand that “my mother used”. When Boots owned the brand, lot of variants were launched. The brand changed its packaging and was extended to soaps.Rather than limiting to acne control, the brand tried to position itself as a skin care brand. But the effort did not bear fruit because by that time, the market was flooded with modern contemporary brands. The brand is now owned by Reckitt and marketers expect that the brand will get a new lease of life. The greatest challenge before the new owners is to make the brand contemporary and relevant to the new generation. Reckitt had to find a new differentiation platform for this heritage brand. It has to tap the existing brand equity and try to create a new space for Clearasil. Globally Clearasil is positioned on the basis of Confidence through better skin . The global positioning statement is “Get Clearasil , Get Confidence”. But in India, Cinthol uses this positioning . The brand faces tough competition from the likes of Ponds, Lakme, Loreal and so on .So to find the right space is going to be tough.I think that the brand could take the “ Clear Skin” positioning where by it is not limited to controlling pimples but overall skin care. With the brand Veet from Reckitt is in the same skin care market; the brand managers will have a tough time integrating Clearasil to the portfolio.

Related Brands Ponds Fair&Lovely Vicco

Loreal Bodyshop Labels: branding, failed brands, FMHG, marketing myopia, personal care
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 2 : 5 8 P M 0 C O M M E N T S

T H U R S D A Y, N O V E M B E R 2 3 , 2 0 0 6

Ganga Soap : RIP
Brand : Ganga Company: Godrej Consumer Products Brand Count: 163 If the Western Media's projection or prejudice about the social and cultural makeup of India was correct, then Ganga soap would have been the most sold soap brand in the world. Those who have been watching India specific programs

in BBC and National Geographic may wond fail in the land of elephants

er how can such a brand and Sadhus ?

Ganga soap was launched with much fanfare in 1993. The soap was positioned on the religious platform and was claimed to be made of water from the river Ganges. The soap attained salvation in the early 2000. The brand comes from an accomplished marketer who markets such iconic brands like Cinthol. The brand was promoted heavily and even had the film stars like Govinda endorsing it. Promoted using the tagline " Now bath in Ganga" very directly puts the soap in a religious platform. Reports suggest that the brand's initial sales was encouraging and also there are reports that blame on the P&G and Godrej break up caused the brand to decline.

Ganga had a revitalisation effort in 1997 when Godrej tried to relaunch the brand under the name Doodh Ganga. But those effort went in vain.

The primary reason why the brand failed was that the differentiation was not sustainable over time. Although Hindu's are very religious in nature and revers the tradition but the consumers are discerning when it comes to purchasing products. There is a clear divide between religion and products. Consumers seldom like mixing the two. It is OK if religion and politics are mixed not soups and gods. That may be the reason why the toys of Hindu mythological characters are not popular in India.

The brand when launched was really praised for its innovative thinking. One could see through the logic of the launch. Just looking at the crowd at Kumbh Mela would encourage any marketer to think about launching a product for the devotees of Ganga. But a closer look at the customers could have proved the marketer wrong. Why would a customer buy a product? That is a question that could reveal that Love for Ganga would not rake in sales.

Rather than using Ganga as a differentiator, Godrej could have positioned the product on the basis if Purity and Gentleness like the Pears Soap. The can show the use of Water from Ganga to reinforce the positioning. But the religious platform failed miserably. More over this platform is too old dated for our new generation. Another funny element is that although Hindus revere the Ganges, people are aware that the river is the most polluted one. Hence there were consumer buzz that using a soap made from such water may be dangerous. Sensing this consumer talk, Godrej had to tell that the water was taken from places near the origin of Ganges hence not polluted. Overall it was a messy affair. Ganga is a brand that could have survived as a small niche. I am still not sure about the exact reasons that brand have failed in the Indian market.The failure of such a brand should inspire a marketer to delve deep into the psyche of Indian consumer before jumping into conclusions.

source:economictimes. Mouthshut .com

Labels: branding, failed brands, FMCG, marketing myopia, personal care, soap brands
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 2 : 0 9 P M 0 C O M M E N T S

M O N D A Y, N O V E M B E R 2 0 , 2 0 0 6

Proline : Follow Yourself
Brand : Proline Company: Bombay Dyeing Agency: Orchard /Leo Burnett Brand Count: 160 Proline is a pioneer in the creation of Sports/ Leisure wear segment in the Indian market. The brand was launched in 1983 by the Batra group was one a premium sought after brand during that time. The Indian apparel market is huge with a

market size of Rs 18000-20000 crore.


are different versions about the actual size of the branded segment in the apparel market ranging from Rs 2500-4500 crore ( Market size and market share reports are always confusing).

Sports and Leisure wear segment during the eighties were virtually non existent. It would be proper to say that there were no serious effort to brand such apparels. Proline rightfully found the gap. Proline gain prominence in the segment through high profile promotions using sports celebrities. Super players like Ravi Shastri, Sandip Patil, Padukone and other major players from different sports. This created a hugh equity for the brand. Proline was an Aspiration brand for most of the youngsters (middle class) like me during that period. But the brand was premium priced and that kept us from trying out the brand.

Unlike the west, the sports wears are used as casual wears in India. There is little difference between the two segments except for the football jerseys. The consumers used to categories all the Sportswear in the T-shirts category. Proline

was successful in projecting a Premium International image in this segment. Proline buoyed by the success of its brand began retailing initiatives in a big way. The brand was promoted through exclusive shops and " Shop in Shops" in big supermarkets. The owners also began to market international brands like Fila and K-swiss through this retail outlets. 2000 saw the international players entering into Indian market with serious business plans. Brands or icons like Nike , Reebok and Adidas started their brand building efforts. The Pioneer in the market, Proline was dwarfed by the International giants.

Proline could not stand upto the competition from these players . With competition from unbranded players at the bottom of the market together with the onslaught of International brands at the premium end. The brand could not find enough space to fit in.

Proline was positioned as a brand that respect individuality. The brand revolves round the value of " Self Respect" and the confidence gained by accepting what

you are. The attitude " Been there

and Done That" was exemplified

by the campaigns. That is one of the best positioning that a brand can opt for. But despite the good brand name, first mover advantage and the memorable positioning, Proline was a brand that could not sustain. The brand is said to have a The market reason share for of the less than 6% in are the segment. many : underperformace

a. Competition from International players and domestic brand: It is interesting to

note that almost all the national brands have a casual sports wear range. Whether it is Colorplus or Peter England, T-shirts are available. That poses serious threat to a pure play sports wear marketer.

b. Value: The brand could not sustain the value proposition in the mind of the consumers. Priced at par with brands like Nike, Proline needed to show the customers more value for the premium it was asking for. More over, there were issues of segmentation. Proline never looked at affordability of the brand. With a choice of international brands, Proline had a tough time convincing the customers to stick to the brand. Further the presence of brands like Fila selling side by side Proline was little risky . Unless the brand is clearly careful about its pricing and segmentation, there is a chance that the franchised brand cannibalise the manufactured brand. I am not sure whether this has happened in Proline's case. c. Distribution : Proline had limited presence in only major cities. In 2003, the brand changed hands. Bombay Dyeing took 51 % ownership in the brand and that gave the brand an instant access to the distribution outlet of the textile major. Now Proline also has the responsibility of marketing the failed/failing Vivaldi brand of Bombay Dyeing.

Although brand is now with a textile major, the brand is yet to take off. What the brand Proline needs is some fresh thinking interms of Segmentation. The brand may not be able to compete with the likes of Nike at the premium end. But I feel that there is immense scope for a brand at the affordable segment in the casual wear market. For example , in the t-shirt market, there is a scope for Proline to make a mark if it follows the strategy of Peter England ( quality at affordable price). Although there are brands like Classic Polo, crocodile etc, there still space for Proline. The brand need not do much to revitalise itself because still Proline commands some respect and recall in the market. Price rationalisation and some high profile

brand building will definitely rejuvenate the brand and take it to new heights.
source: businessline,,agencyfaqs,universalgarment news

Labels: branding, failed brands, FMCG, marketing myopia
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 1 1 : 2 5 A M 0 C O M M E N T S

T U E S D A Y, N O V E M B E R 1 4 , 2 0 0 6

Burnol : The Burn Specialist
Brand : Burnol Company: Dr Morpean Labs Agency: JWT Brand Count: 156 Burnol is one of the oldest antiseptic cream brands in India. This 65 year old brand still holds tremendous brand recall among the Indian consumers. Burnol has changed hands many times in its existence in the Indian market. The first brand owner was Boots and the brand the brand was acquired by Knoll. Later Reckitt and Piramal bought the brand from Knoll. In 2002 the brand was acquired by Dr Morpean labs. This constant change over of this brand from one company to another has virtually undermined the equity of this heritage brand. The Indian antiseptic cream market is estimated to be around Rs 210 crore. The market is dominated by Boroplus from Emami which commands a

market share of around 60%. Burns market is specialised market with a size of Rs 30 crore. Burnol had a generic status in this market.

Burnol during the hay days had a strong demand in the market. It was perceived as a " must have" in households and offices in the first-aid boxes. Although in households , there is rare incidents of burns, Burnol was kept as a essential first aid medicine. The market still remains the same. The homemakers still deal with fire and there is still a perceived need for such a burn specialist at home. Despite the market remaining unchanged , Burnol was pushed to a negligible presence because of reasons not of its own.

Burnol was positioned as a burn specialist from day one ( I think so). Customers also associate this brand with burns. The fact is that Burnol is an antiseptic cream that could be used for burns as well as cuts just like other antiseptic creams. Burnol was positioned so strongly that the association has become embedded in the mind of the customers. Even the name reinforces the positioning of this brand. During its life cycle, the brand had tried to change over from being a burn specialist to an all purpose cream but it was a mistake. Customers refused to accept the repositioning and the whole exercise was a failure.

When Dr Morpean relaunched the brand with the positioning based on being " Burn specialist", the customers reacted favorably to it. Burnol was promoted as a " must have " at every home. The brand was not able to garner its potential share in the market for reasons related to the brand owners. Either some of the companies who owned this brand was in financial crisis or the brand was not in their core marketing plan. Because of these two reasons, the brand promotion was virtually nil and this apathy reflected in the market share of this brand. Although Morpean labs initially pushed the brand, the financial health of the company is limiting the brand promotion to a great extent. Morpean had initiated major repositioning campaign and even changed the product to a more acceptable cream composition. The brand will remain a niche brand for the following reasons.

a. Unlike other antiseptic creams, the incidence of small burns are rare and hence the usage of this product is limited thus causing little or no repurchase. This creates stagnation in the sales of this brand. b. Since Burnol is very much embedded as a burn specialist, the extension of this brand to other uses is virtually non existent because customers will not or may not accept such an extension.

The factors outside the control of the marketer is severely hindering the brand growth. With lot of money for promotion, one can see this brand regaining its lost position in the market.

Source: businessline, agencyfaqs,express4media,

Labels: branding, failed brands, FMHG, marketing myopia
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 3 : 3 9 P M 1 C O M M E N T S

M O N D A Y, N O V E M B E R 0 6 , 2 0 0 6

Melody : Chocolaty
Brand : Melody Company: Parle Agency: Grey Brand Count : 153

Melody is one the oldest brand in Parle's Portfolio. The brand which has made a place for its position in the market because of its unique quality and taste is

making a comeback.

Melody is a unique 2 in 1 toffee with

chocolate inside and caramel outside. The brand which was premium priced in











But somewhere in its life the brand lost its way. The brand was not visible in the media or in the stores. With the entry of high profile aggressive marketers like Perfetti almost pushed Melody to oblivion. Also the brand managers at Parle was not spending enough on this old brand. Confectionery products are bought impulsively and hence the store placement and brand recall performs an important part in the success of a brand in this category. At one point of time , Melody lost on both of these accounts.

The brand thus was slowly forgotten by the customers. Melody had some unique attributes a. b. c.The The brand elements that Its brand like its jingle made it unique recall and and tagline and once successful taste equity packaging.

Melody was famous for its jingle " Melody hai chocolaty" and " Melody khao khud jan jao" emphasising on the rich chocolate core and the high decibel campaigns in the past was so effective that now also people remember the jingle. But those who remember the jingle and the brand has now become older and the younger ones are not knowing this brand. That is a big problem that this brand faces. 2006 saw this brand coming back to the Rs 1200 crore Indian confectionery market. The brand handled by Grey Worldwide is retaining the famous positioning of "Chocolaty" .The latest ads shows the famous question 'Why Melody is so chocolaty" has made a comeback.

In the analysis of competition, we often say that there is a competition for an Idea among marketers. Brands compete for idea or positioning. Here the " Question" that made Melody famous was hijacked by Chlormint which ask the same question in a different way " Log Chlormint kyon khathe hain". Hence Melody lost the exclusivity of the Q & A that made it famous ( to a certain extent).

But for a consumer who has liked this brand and missed this brand, the comeback is a welcome event. If Parle sustains its product quality and maintains its share of voice, Melody will lift the fortunes of its confectionery business.
source: agencyfaqs,,businessline

Labels: branding, failed brands, FMCG, marketing myopia
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 6 : 5 9 P M 1 C O M M E N T S

T H U R S D A Y, O C T O B E R 2 6 , 2 0 0 6

Nivea : Gentle Care
Brand : Nivea Company : Beirsdorf AG (JL Morrison in India) Agency: TBWA Brand Count : 147

Nivea is a German brand marketed in India by JL Morrison. This brand has a history of around 96 years. Nivea came into existence in the year 1911. The brand has derived its name from the Latin word Nivius meaning "Snow White". Nivea has been in Indian market for more than 30 years. But this brand which is truly a global brand has not met with success in India. Nivea globally is the brand that has its presence in around 20 product categories in more than 50 countries. But in the 1300 crore Indian skin care market, the presence of Nivea don't justify




Nivea is famous worldwide for its face cream. Nivea Creme created by Dermatologists was launched in 1911 . The brand is considered to be the first to take the skin care category from the elite class to the masses. The brand worldwide is known for its Trust, Reliability and Accessibility. Globally this brand is positioned in the platform of "Gentle Care" and " Wellness". The brand has its elements of Color embedded firmly in the minds of the customers. Nivea took its "Blue and White" color as its brand element as early as 1924. From there onwards, this color scheme has been a brand identity for Nivea.

In India, the brand is known for its skin cream. Nivea cream is but perceived as a winter cream because of its thickness and oily consistency. While in other parts of the world, Nivea has successfully came out of this narrow perception, in India, the marketers were not able to effectively take the brand forward. With most of Indian stated do not have severe winter, the market for winter cream is very limited.Nivea has a market share of 19% in the Rs 108 crore skin cream market which is dominated by Ponds.Now Ponds hold the position which Nivea could have taken had it been more aggressive in the market.

Although JL Morrison tried to extend the brand to soaps, the extension has not

been successful bec

ause of the halfhearted effort.

With salespromotion now being used to promote this brand of soaps,further dilution of the brand equity is inevitable.

Nivea face serious marketing issues in India. The brand has not been aggressive enough in this market which is crowded with established brands. Nivea was never bothered about strengthening its positioning as a skin care leader. While Ponds successfully extended itself to other product categories, Nivea is stuck with its cream.This is a brand that failed because of marketing laziness. Nivea have huge brand recall and equity. It has the global parentage, successful positioning opportunity but was not able to leverage the strength because the Indian marketers didnot want to invest in the brand. The problem is that when the brand is licensed to a marketer in a country, the objective of the brand manager will be to milk maximum out of the brand rather than invest in longterm brand building. Every ads and campaigns will be weighed interms of the ROI and sales growth. Successful brands required longterm investment that will yeild results over a period of time. But in the case of Nivea, no such brand building efforts were to be seen.

The potential of the brand is evident from the fact that in the Grey market, the brand is sold well. There is also significant difference in the quality of imported Nivea and the local one. It is said that Nivea Deo is the best selling product in the grey market.

Nivea is sad story of a brand that failed to succeed inspite of having all essential Brand qualities. If failed because of marketing laziness.

Labels: branding, failed brands, FMCG, marketing myopia, personal care, soap brands
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 1 0 : 1 2 A M 4 C O M M E N T S

T H U R S D A Y, O C T O B E R 1 9 , 2 0 0 6

Tata Sierra : RIP
Brand : Sierra Company: Tata Motors Agency: O&M Brand Count :144 Sierra is the first passenger car from Telco ( Now Tata motors). Tata Sierra was launched in 1991 marking the transformation of a Truc

k manufacturer to a Passenger vehicle maker. Sierra was an entirely a new product in the Indian car market at that time. This three door vehicle was indeed the first SUV to hit the Indian roads.

Sierra was the baby of Ratan Tata and his first attempt to make a mark in the Indian Business world after taking over Telco. But the product bombed inthe market. Sierra can be said as a brand that came too early. The Indian market was not ready for this concept. I personally love this car for its look. Most of you will agree that this vehicle is a stylish one. Even with the entry of all major SUV brands in India, Sierra looks contemporary Why a. b.Quality Sierra primarily failed in the market because of its steep price. Priced around Rs 5 lakh, the brand failed to appeal to the value proposition of the Indian consumer. Another factor was the corporate image of the company. Telco was rightly did ( Sierra my opinion) failed in and the modern. market? Price

perceived as a truck manufacturer and Sierra was the first passenger car. Hence the consumers were not ready to shell out a premium for this brand Then there was the quality issue. Sierra was a truck in the car form ( no problem

with that!) .The consume

rs knew that and the price

don't justify the quality proposition given in the product. Although steeply priced, Sierra had all the goodies that 2005 cars offered like power steering, power windows etc. Yet.... Sierra failed to enthuse the customers.

Sierra was rightly positioned as a sporty beast. The ads and campaigns rightly promoted the brand and it had all the potential to be an icon. Telco made a mistake in having high hopes for this brand. At the best, the product could have been a niche brand and an important one. The brand could have lifted the company to a higher level, had the quality issue was rectified.

Even today , we can see this car on the road . And most of the owners who uses this product because they like the brand not for any other reason such as low price.I read in an article that the design guru Dilip Chabaria loves the look of Sierra. As the old ad of Sierra says , "Sierra is not owned It is Possessed". Today Sierra's position is occupied by Scorpio and rightly so.. If launched again with a right price , there is still a market for Sierra.
Source: indicar,businessline,agencyfaqs.

Labels: automobile brands, branding, failed brands, marketing myopia
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 3 : 1 6 P M 1 C O M M E N T S

M O N D A Y, O C T O B E R 0 9 , 2 0 0 6

Coffy Bite : Coffee or Toffee
Brand : Coffy Bite Company: Lotte India Agency: JWT Brand Count : 137 Coffy Bite is a power brand in the Rs 1500 crore Indian Sugar Boiled Candy market.This 100 crore brand has a history of 18 years of existence.

Coffy Bite is one of the brands which I grow up with. The brand is unique and its positioning and ad campaign was one of the best in that era. The brand is in the coffee category which is around 15% of the Sugar boiled candy category. Coffee Bite have around 9 % market share in the SBC segment. Coffee Bite was introduced in India by Parry's confectioneries of the Muruggappa Group. This was the flagship brand of Parrys. Later in 2004 , Parry's confectioneries was sold to The Lotte group. Coffee Bite is famous for the " Coffee -Toffee " argument followed by the tagline "

Its a Coffee in a Toffee" . All th

e campaigns of this

brand was a fun to watch and as a product, the brand offered excellent taste and quality. Overall this product was a winner. The brand enjoys a recall of as high as 85%. With the entry of Big names like Perfette, Parrys faced intense competition in the market for all its major brands. Along with this heat, the company faced pressures in pricing coupled with rising raw material costs. Infact, these issues are still haunting the confectionery manufacturers. The candy market is faced with two marketing issues

a. The product: since the product is purely an impulse product, lot of money has to be spent on the brand and also on developing new variants to create and sustain excitement. b. The Price: The consumers in this segment is price conscious. Because of the competition, companies cannot afford to price the product at a premium and renounce volume. With the 50 paise price point becoming the industry norm, most of the companies are facing profitability issues. The problem that Coffy Bite faced was again the issue of relevance. Because of some reasons, the brand missed the new generation. The brand was perceived to be " Old". Hence even though the recall was high, the actual purchase was as low as 20%. The task for the new brand owners "Lotte" was to make the brand more relevant to the new generation. By New Generation , I mean those kids born after1990's : the liberalisation child. Lotte changed the packaging to make the brand more contemporary and youthful. The communication also was changed. Thank God, the brand managers did not change the famous " Argument". So the argument continues. The new baseline is " Enough to start an argument" was an unnecessary change for this brand which is famous for its " Coffee in a toffee" baseline. The brand owners has to think as to who is bored by the old baseline, company or customer? As a customer I prefer the old one. I think that the brand need not change the taglines and positioning to become more relevant. Since the category is Coffee, you cannot have any other taste, that can give some consistency to the communication.I hope the owners will not come up with variants like Pineapple coffy bite. Besides the taste, the "Coffee -Toffee" argument gives the creative guys lot of things to work with.I feel that this brand should take the " Topical" advertisement route perfected by Amul( discussed somewhere in my blog) which will be enjoyed by all. One more major positive for this brand is that it is more of a family toffee that gives it a huge market to tap. Coffy Bite is a brand that has a unique space in the mind of the customers. Is it a Coffee or a Toffee.. the argument continues.
Source: Businessline, agencyfaqs,,,

Labels: branding, failed brands, FMCG, marketing myopia
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 1 : 4 6 P M 0 C O M M E N T S

F R I D A Y, O C T O B E R 0 6 , 2 0 0 6

Cuticura: Leaving You Speechless
Brand : Cuticura Company: Cholayil Agency:Rediffusion Brand Count:135 Cuticura is an International brand which has a history of 200years. Once synonymous with talcum powder, this brand was pushed to oblivion because of

marketing myopia

or marketing laziness.

Cutucura came to India 80 years back.Cutucura was owned in India by Muller&Phipps. Globally this brand was owned by Keyline Brands which was acquired by Godrej Consumer products in 2005. Interestingly the brand is owned in India by Cholayil who are the marketers of Medimix soaps.Cholayil refuses to sell the brand to Godrej. Godrej hence have the rights to the brand outside India. It looks like a typical hindi film story script. Cutucura may be crying " Main kon hu, Main kahan Hu, Mera papa Kaun hai"? Cholayil acquired the brand from Muller in 2002. The brand was given a make over and the new owners was trying to revive the brand. Cuticura was a leading brand of talcum powders in India in the 80's. Indian talcum powder market is estimated to be around Rs 600 crore. In the late 80's the brand faced competition from HLL and Cuticura was not able to sustain in the market.One major factors was that the Muller underestimated competition. The brand failed to change .

Today the talcum poweder market is dominated by HLL's Ponds with 65% share.


stronghold is the southern market where it claims to

have a share of 30%. The brand still holds equity in this market. So for Cholayil who markets Medimix, this brand gives a platform to get into personal care business. Cuticura is known for its fragrance. The classic brand also famous for its orange and white packing which still has a huge recall. Cuticura while retaining its classic product launched a lavender variant in 2003. Reports suggest that the variant failed to make any ripples in the market. But these efforts helped the brand to post a decent turnover thanks to the brand equity. Now this brand is worth Rs 10 crore. Although the Cholayil group has taken serious steps in reviving the brand, the campaign lacked the punch needed to propel the brand to new heights. The brand still retains the classic positioning based on fragrance. The new tagline talks about the brand leaving you speechless . Although creative idea is OK, the

execution is horribl generation.

e. The hyperbole fails to catch the imagination of new

The biggest challenge that the brand face is that its core users have become old. The customers who liked and used this brand have now become old and the new generation does not know this brand. Hence the brand has to be relevant to the new generation competing with the power brands like Ponds. 2006 saw the brand extending to deodorants. The extension was branded as Cuticura DeO2.The main USP of DeO2 is its ingredient Farnesol. The brand has

the tagline " Let your underarms breathe". Although a not thrilling tagline, to some this make sense because this product will help you smell good without inhibiting perspiration which is an important function of the body. Most of the deos inhibits perspiration to control the bad smell. Unlike the talc ad, the DeO2 campaign is carefully executed to appeal to the newgen. Cuticura DeO2 will be pitted against Rexona, Fa, etc in this segment. The brand has a potential to be a serious player in the personal care segment. The brand has to exploit its brand equity and strive to be relevant to the new generation who may have forgotten this brand
source:,, agencyfaqs, cholayil

Labels: branding, failed brands, FMCG, marketing myopia, personal care
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 1 0 : 3 3 A M 0 C O M M E N T S

M O N D A Y, A U G U S T 2 8 , 2 0 0 6

Akai : The Original Price Warrior
Brand : Akai Company: Videocon Agency:SSC&B Brand Count 118 Akai is the brand that changed the Indian CTV industry for ever.The 25000 crore Indian consumer durables market survived at one time because of Akai. Akai was brought to India by Baron International , a company floated by the young Kab ir Mulchandani.

Akai was launched in India in 1995 and there after the CTV market was never the same. Before Akai, the CTV was a luxury affordable only to the middle class and above. The starting price of CTV at that time was Rs 15000 and above. It was a big task for a middle-income family to afford one at that time.

Players like Videocon, BPL, Philips and Onida dominated CTV market at that time. Akai had to break the stronghold of these players and how they did it is one of the greatest marketing success stories ever. From 0 to14% market share within 18 months. That was the outcome. Akai did this by going by the advice of Don Corleone “ Make an offer that no one can refuse”. “ Rs.9999 for a 21 inch color television” screamed full-page ads in newspapers. It was for the first time that a consumer durable marketer took full pages that too frequently. Along with the price, Akai invented the concept of exchange schemes into the Indian market and customers loved it. Nobody could believe the offer and the price. I don’t think anyone now also knew how it worked out.You go to the dealer with an old TV and you could get a discount of Rs 5000 on the new one. WOW… Akai positioned itself as a price warrior and the heritage factor of being a Japanese company boosted the brand image of the company. The tag “Made in Japan” always impresses Indian consumers and it helped Akai to scale up in the market with in a short span of time.

Baron also took an unconventional distribution strategy by advertising heavily before the product hit the market. This created rush in the market and distributors paid upfront to get the orders and the company had the money before selling its product. The additional margins also satisfied the dealers.

The price

and the hype affected the market share of the

leaders in CTV market .All the players cut their prices as high as 40% so as to

survive. This prompted customers to believe that they were being forced to pay a higher price before Akai came into the market. The price offers expanded the Indian CTV market like a rocket propeller

Akai ran into rough weathers shortly after 1998. Akai globally was owned by Ontario based Semi Tech corporation. Baron ‘s relationship with Semi Tech became rough. Baron, to tide over the probability of severing ties with Akai, forged a deal with Aiwa of Japan for marketing Hi Fi music systems. Kabir Mulchandani did the same with Aiwa selling the brand at a price unheard of and making the product category reachable to middle class. But Aiwa as an upscale brand ( 51% of the co is owned by Sony) was not happy by this positioning ,however an the brand was looking for an upstart in the Indian market and Kabir’s strategy helped Aiwa to create a brand awareness and expand the market.

Akai thus severed its association with Baron and forged a marketing relationship with Videocon. Videocon was marketing the brands of Semitech like Sansui. Akai struggled to shrug of the image of a low price brand which was strongly embedded in the mind of the Indian consumer. As Mr Abrahan Koshy of IIMA says ‘ Discounted brands are promotion dependant” so to survive Akai had to spend heavily on Advertisements and it was a difficult proposition.

Baron later tried its luck with another Chinese brand TCL but could not succeed. Once a poster boy in the media and once acclaimed as a marketing whiz kid, Kabir Mulchandani has faded in to history as a one product wonder. He is battling lot of legal issues and nobody talks about him now. But marketing history remembers him as a Disruptive Marketer who made two luxury product categories CTV and Hi-FI systems affordable to the Indian consumer.

Akai expanded the Indian CTV market which is now estimated to be 80 lakhs

units per year. The Korean majors currently dominate the market. Since the launch of Akai in 1995, the entry-level models are ranging sub 10000, which was unthinkable in the 90’s. Now all the major players including SONY have a CTV model below Rs 10000. Even Flat TV starts in this range. All these, thanks to AKAI. But the brand has now become a marginal player in the Indian market. Videocon is finding it difficult to fit this brand into its already crowded product portfolio. Aiwa is fighting it out at the affordable TV and Music system category with the backing of SONY.

Source : agencyfaqs, estrategicmarketing,businessworld

Labels: branding, consumer durable brands, failed brands, marketing myopia
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 9 : 1 1 P M 1 C O M M E N T S

W E D N E S D A Y, A U G U S T 1 6 , 2 0 0 6

Ceasefire: RIP 1989-2002
Brand : Ceasefire Company: Real Value Appliances Agency: Grey Brand Count : 114

Ceasefire was India's first domestic fire extinguisher. It was one of India's best and worst marketing stories. A brand that virtually created and ruled a category faded out after12 years. Fire extinguishers comes in the category of unsought goods and it is difficul

t and expensive to create and survive in such a product category . Real Value Appliances owned by Mr. Pheroze Engineer started operations in 1989 bringing to the country a new concept - a domestic fire extinguisher. The fire extinguishers were not uncommon to Indian consumers. We see it in large malls and theaters. But a domestic one was unique. Indian consumers never thought of having one in their homes. The product made perfect sense in Indian market ( infact every market). Our households deal with fire all the time and the risk of fire being getting out of control is very much there. Hence a marketing mind would easily see the prospect of cashing in that need : the need for protection from fire. Thus came in to market Ceasefire. The product was compact, unique had a catchy name, looked good and boasted of extinguishing all sorts of fires. Ceasefire was halon 1211 based fire extinguisher that was very compact and was handy and easy to use ( with minimum effort). Much more than the efficacy of the use, it gave a certain peace of mind to the Indian consumer against the possible fire mishap. The product was well received in the market. The ads were focusing on building in the consumer a fear about a possible fire mishap . The ads were backed by a sales campaign. The company focused on direct marketing for promoting the product . Since the " Fear of Fire" is so basic to human psyche, the success was imminent. The product was priced at a premium and the customers never complained.

Fire extinguishers , like Insurance is one kind of product where customers are not unhappy if it is not being used. Hence the success is in keeping the " Fear " alive in the customer's mind. The success of Ceasefire was much discussed in Management classes those days. Then buoyed by the success, the company diversified to Vaccumizer and " rest became history". From a brand that was among the top ten fastest growing brand in the country to a company referred to BIFR, things moved very fast from 1997 onwards. It happened not because the brand failed the company but it was because the company failed the brand. The unsuccessful new product like vaccumizer and the alleged mismanagement failed the brand once gloried as a marketing success story.In 2002, Real Value Appliances closed down its operations. May be the brand / company tried to grow very fast without consolidating, may be because of mismanagement. It was a brand that lost its life because of faults not of its own. But surprisingly, no other brands have come forward to take that position. The product category that was created by Ceasefire is still void. May be the category may not be appealing to the other marketers. But the potential is there and the fear is also there.
Source: magindia, indiainfoline,

Labels: branding, failed brands, FMCG, marketing myopia
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 9 : 5 2 A M 0 C O M M E N T S

T H U R S D A Y, J U N E 0 8 , 2 0 0 6

Yardley : Immense Potential Wasted !
Brand : Yardley Company: Lornmead This 235 year old cosmetics brand from England is yet to take off in India(after crashlanding) despite its long life here. The iconic brand was a hit in 1950's among the elite Indians but some how missed the liberalisation bus.

The brand which has a rich heritage was marketed by P&G and since they did not have any interest in the cosmetic market sidelined this brand. The brand was relegated to Talcum Powders and with no promotions and poor pricing has dampened the equity of this brand. Yardley is now owned by Lornmead which is under the Jatania group : one of the richest Indian family in UK. If reports are to be believed, they have big plans for India and Yardley may fit into their strategies. Yardley has been positioned as the quintessential English brand with its conservative look and royal touch. Although the brand was appealing to the TG in early nineties, the newer generation has not been kind to this brand ( or this brand is not existing to gennext). The cosmetic market is dominated by the likes of Revlon and Lakme, calls for a major rebranding exercise for this brand. A look at their website revealed a whole range of luxurious perfume and cosmetic range which was sadly not available in India. Yardley have the advantage of being perceived as a Unisex brand and thus can extend the brand to a larger audience. Since the perfumes market is still undeveloped, Yardley have a huge market waiting for it. What the company needs to do is to get its marketing mix correct and make the brand contemporary. If it does it fast, the brand has the potential to make it big Labels: branding, failed brands, FMCG, marketing myopia

P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 3 : 4 9 P M 0 C O M M E N T S

F R I D A Y, M A Y 1 2 , 2 0 0 6

Bajaj RE : The End Of Days?
Brand : RE Company: Bajaj Auto

Rickshaws were a part of Indian roads as early as 1880 and the rickshaw pullers of Calcutta are famous in the West as a symbol of Indian Poor. Rickshaw originated from Japanese words that meant Human Powered Vehicle. Later these rickshaws become powered by motors hence became autorickshaw.

Bajaj is the pioneer in this market with a market share of almost 95%. Auto which is the short form of Autorickshaw started off with a front engine model with 'Dolby Digital ' sound effects with petrol smoke which comes free. In 1977 Bajaj launched the rear engine Auto which bought some decency to this class of vehicle. Autos are a source of income for lot of families.There are estimated to be around 24 lakh three wheelers in India. The three wheeler segment include both passenger and goods carrier and Bajaj enjoys a near monopoly in this segment. The other players are Mahindra , Piaggio Greaves. KAL etc. As a marketer I feel that this segment is going to witness the same fate as the scooters and as usual Bajaj Auto, unless it wakes up, is going to be in the same situation as it was in the case of Scooter segment. Let us look at the product first. Autos is a mode of public transport. The reason why it succeeded in India is a. Cheaper than Taxi

b.Ideal for short distance travel c. City maneuvering is easy d.Comfortable than buses. Over these years all these factors has turned against the Auto. With the rising fuel prices, the auto rates have increased and is now out of reach for the lower middle class.This vehicle was earlier fulfilling the needs of the lower and upper middleclass families of India.But with the upper middle class going for two wheeler and Maruthi, these autos now have no significance in their traveling plans. For the lower middle class, the new auto rates are now not affordable so there is a shift to two wheelers or buses. For example a one and a half kilometer trip in an auto will cost you nothing less than 15 Rs while a car will cost you around Rs.6 The pollution caused by autos have forced authorities to put stringent norms for this segment. The rash behaviour of the drivers also is repulsing the customers from this mode of transport. One has to answer many questions from the auto driver before taking you for the ride. This segment till now has not understood the ground realities. The vehicle is pathetic with respect to comfort to passengers aswell as drivers. The customers are using this product just because there is no other alternative. It is a sort of De ja vu .. Till now Bajaj has done nothing to the product. No change in the shape , comfort, technology etc. Yes they have came out with diesel version, 4 stroke self start and CNG version but essentially the product is still the same. The market size is estimated to be around 400000 units per year. Since this is a major source of income, government will not take a drastic step to kill the segment . But I foresee a disruptive change in this segment. Already some

disruption is happening. The goods carrier three whe


segment is witnessing competition from other players and the Tata motors have launched a Blockbuster product TATA ACE to take on the three wheeler goods carrier.

A similar disruptive product will easily kill Autos. Already there are rumours of Honds seriously looking into this segment. To escape the fate of Chetak , Bajaj has to once again think in terms of customer. The autos in order to succeed should deliver more value to the passenger and the owner. Better mileage, ridability, comfort for the passenger are a must to survive the next ten years. Drivers should be trained to be more customer friendly because with their Union strength it may be possible to get higher rates but not the customers. With the public transport systems gearing up fo major changes with better buses, metro rails etc, customers have choices. Taxi's have sensed this and have changed. Now we have better and courteous taxi cabs and their business is growing. Hey Auto : R U listening? Labels: automobile brands, branding, failed brands, marketing myopia
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 9 : 2 8 P M 0 C O M M E N T S

M O N D A Y, F E B R U A R Y 2 7 , 2 0 0 6

Margo:lost in the Neem trees !

Brand : Margo Company: Henkel Agency: FCB Ulka

Margo is one of the oldest herbal soaps in India. The brand which is more than 85 years old is famous for its neem content. The product although famous for its positive effects to the skin is nowhere in the market. This is a brand which never changed with the customer. During its launch, the product had dedicated

customer base and since the product was unique due to its medicinal value , customers tend to be loyal. The whole brand was having Neem as its core identity. But Margo failed to understand the changing dynamics of Indian consumers, more and more choices began to unfold before the consumer and Margo was becoming a niche brand. Margo was positioned as a "complete skin care soap". When market became fragmented with lot of products positioning at different attributes, Margo was sidelined as a medicinal soap. The product has inherent negatives, the fragrant was not attractive nor the shape. It was also less lathering compared to its competitors. Margo changed hands from Shaw Wallace to Henkel. Although Margo was relaunched in 2003 with a new fragrance and shape , it has not excited the market so far. The new positioning is " Margo skin clear skin". The brand had a following in AP, Tamilnadu and West Bengal ( am not sure about its present status). The single mistake the brand made was to miss the new generation. It failed to attract the young users. With Lifebouy herbal variant and other established brands taking in the "neem" content away from Margo, this brand needs a hell lot of money to rejuvenate itself. May be a high decibel big celebrity endorsement may help this brand ( try Aishwarya for a change) . Can it change its avatar and fight lifebuoy in the health platform? This is a brand that failed to change with the customer or changed very late. Labels: branding, failed brands, FMCG, marketing myopia, personal care, soap brands
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 1 2 : 1 1 A M 0 C O M M E N T S

M O N D A Y, F E B R U A R Y 1 3 , 2 0 0 6

Vimal suitings : Where art Thou ?

Brand : Vimal Suitings Company : Reliance Industries Ltd Agency : Mudra

One of the oldest and most respected iconic textile brand of India is languishing some where in the attic of the mega corporation Reliance. The brand which started of as a Saree brand developed itself into a mega textile brand for women , men and even for furniture ( Vimal Harmony is one of the largest furnishing brand). Vimal suitings was launched in 1980 after the successful Vimal range of sarees. At that point of time Reliance was a predominantly a textile company. This brand was carefully positioned as a premium men's suitings brand. The brand which was handled by Mudra, was promoted heavily by Reliance. At that time the major competitors being Bombay Dyeing and Raymonds. According to the case study of Vimal available in Mudra Website, the Vimal Suitings brand was developed in 4 stages . The first stage involved convincing the customer about the quality of the brand explaining the technology behind the making of Vimal in advertisements. The second stage involved creating a personality of the brand using living legends. In the ads, living legends like army veterans, experts in various fields were used as models to build the character of the brand as a credible brand. The third stage involved promoting the brand as a

fashion brand or Style gur

u. The ads showed Kabir

Bedi and the likes catched the imagination of the TG. The 4 stage used cricketer

as models to appeal to larger crowd. May be Vimal was one of the first brands that used cricketer as models ( correct me if I'm wrong). I would add the fifth stage as letting the brand die without giving it any marketing support. The brand was targeted at the young ambitious who are challengers to the CEO's . The brand personality was stylish, and aspirational. Vimal was promoted using the famous tagline " OnlyVimal " created by Late Frank Simoes. The tagline is said to be personally approved by Dhirubai himself. The brand was a premium brand and the ads were catchy. Reliance also opened exclusive Vimal showrooms as a part of promoting the brand. Later in the 1990's the Reliance business model changed. The company changed from textiles to petrochemicals and Vimal was not fitting into reliance business plans. It was the only retail brand of Reliance ( now we have RIM) and company never focused on Vimal. As far as a marketer is concerned, Vimal was a great brand with huge potential ( whether it fits into Reliance plan is another issue). 90's also saw the shift in the consumer's preference towards readymades. Although reliance had a readymade brand "Reance" it was a half hearted move which resulted in a flop. Vimal was known for its quality and style. Still people remembers its simple baseline " Only Vimal". Lack of marketing support had virtually killed the brand. Now the position that Vimal occupied is now owned by Raymonds and Reid & Taylor. News reports suggest that Reliance may revive the Vimal brand owing to their retail foray and the opening of the textile sector to the global markets. Vimal have already being messed itself up with the launch of V2 brand which is cheap and available even in grocery stores. What a way to mess up a brand ! Vimal have stopped marketing sarees and is said to be concentrating on suitings. Suitings are

becoming more popular because of the increasing globetrotters and professionals. Reviving Vimal will be very difficult since this brand has lost its touch with the new Indian consumer. Oh Vimal! Labels: branding, failed brands, marketing myopia, readymade brands, textiles
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 9 : 5 4 A M 0 C O M M E N T S

W E D N E S D A Y, F E B R U A R Y 0 8 , 2 0 0 6

Yamaha : Not truly Yamaha !
Brand: Yamaha Company: Yamaha Agency : Dentsu Yamaha which once ruled the mind of Indian youth is now in dire straits. The company which is the second largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world is

having a market share of 5%

in the booming Indian two wheeler

market which is growing at a rate of 12-15%. Why? Yamaha is a performance bike manufacturer which recently celebrated its golden jubilee of its existence . In India Yamaha was present in a joint venture with Escorts which brought out the blockbuster Yamaha RX 100 and the cult Yamaha RD 350. Yamaha and Hero Honda had during the late 80's beat the hell out of scooter manufacturers , but Yamaha now has lost its edge. Yamaha broke the partnership with Escorts and started its India operations as a 100% subsidiary of Yamaha Japan from 2001 onwards.

Yamaha was not able to sustain the momentum it had generated during 1990's with RX100. RX100 was a bike that had style and substance. The product was powerful, gave no mech problems and was embraced by the youth. But after the tight environmental regulations introduced in 90's , RX100 had to be shelved. RX100 was replaced by RX135 which was no where near RX100. The ride was terrible and the product had nothing to boast about. It was the beginning of decline of Yamaha. Yamaha was not able to bringout a blockbuster product in the recent past. It is unfair if I don't mention that there were lot product launches from Yamaha but nothing clicked. The reason being that the company was focused on Utility

segment ( true that money is there only in that segme Yamaha did not try to look at the changing profile of the Indian consumer. Yamaha also thought that it had the same premium image in the mind of the


customer . It failed to realise that the brand equity has eroded because of failed product launches. It had no product to showcase its superiority as a bike manufacturer. While Bajaj demonstrated its arrival in to the bike segment with Eliminator and Pulsar, Yamaha still tried its luck in the executive segment which was dominated by Splendor from Hero Honda. Yamaha should have realised that inorder to break the Splendor's dominance, It had to build a brand in the premium segment and using that image, try its luck in the mid segment. Bajaj launched Eliminator to show the technical superiority. We drooled at the cruiser and then grabbed Pulsar. Yamaha failed to do that.


tried to shock the market with a low priced

Cruiser Enticer at an unbelievable price of 49000 but the product failed because the company wanted to play the volume game. Enticer could not sustain the huge initial it got because the market for cruiser was only emerging and the product did not live up to the expectation. Cruiser with only a power of 125 cc was itself a failing proposition. Now that there is a trend towards low priced cruiser pioneered by Bajaj Avenger, Enticer relaunch may succeed. Yamaha then launched Crux and Libero and Fazer in the executive segment but


ld not set the market on fire . The company says that it is

moving away from utility bikes to performance bikes. The launch of Fazer was towards this direction. The product had an unusual look hence failed to catch the imagination of Indian bike enthusiasts. Here again the company made a mistake of not making a statement. Yamaha is having big plans for India. The company is earmarking 200 crores in revamping its operations. On the marketing side, it has roped in John Abraham as the brand ambassador. I am no expert in Motorcycles but I feel that Yamaha now needs to make a STATEMENT. A powerful statement that will force the consumers to look up and say " Its a Yamaha".


compare the Fazer launched in India and the Fazer which

is showcased int

ernationally, the Indian Fazer is no where

near the international one. Why did Yamaha which wanted to play the lifestyle game launch a stripped down Fazer ? Had it launched a chunky masculine Yamaha in India, the brand will move miles ahead in the mind of the consumer. Forget the price and the volume, bring the best bike to India and make a statement. What we have in India is not the Yamaha but only a shadow. Yamaha if it wants to emerge from the shadows will have to shed the volume game and seriously build the brand. To become Truly Yamaha , Change the rules... Labels: automobile brands, branding, failed brands, marketing myopia
P O S T E D B Y H A R I S H B AT 1 2 : 2 3 P M 0 C O M M E N T S

M O N D A Y, J A N U A R Y 2 3 , 2 0 0 6

Bajaj Chetak (1972-2005) :RIP

Brand : Bajaj Chetak Company : Bajaj Auto Ltd

The brand which ruled the Indian roads have been laid to rest. Bajaj has officially stopped the production of Bajaj Chetak from December 2005. The stocks will last may be upto March 2006. The company says that the product no longer have any relevance to the customer. To quote Rajiv bajaj " Any one who clings to the past is a failure". I owned a Chetak: a gift from my father for having secured admission to MBA program. It was in the year 1996. Later I exchanged it for a bike in 2001. Still Chetak lingers in me ( or rather haunts me) in the form of " Back Pain". The brand which was launched in 1972 virtually owned the two wheeler segment. If reports are to be believed, Chetak was an unavoidable dowry in 1970's and 80's. It had a waiting period of more than 10 years ( can you believe it ? ) and now here I am after 34 years, writing the epitaph of this brand. The brand which was named after the legendary stallion of the Rajput king Maharana Pratap, was known for the reliability and sturdiness. The brand thrived during the license raj with virtually no competition. It was during 1990-91 that the brand began the journey to the end. Bajaj Chetak had a huge brand equity . The brand had the persona of a " work h

orse". With reasonable price and the low maintenance cost made this product a huge hit among the middle class Indians. Promoted along the base line " Hamara Bajaj", this was the Indian Family vehicle - a position now owned by Maruthi 800. But then How can a brand that was so popular and successful fail? Frankly, I am not sure. But here is what I think about this brand... The primary reason is that the Brand forgot the customers. Another case of Marketing Myopia. The company failed to understand the changing perception of the customers towards scooters. Rather than looking at the customers, the company focused on influencing Government to block the opening up of economy. Bajaj never did anything with the product. For 40 years Chetak had the same look, same quality and style.

During the mid nineties the company realised lately that the segment has shifted to motorcycles. Scooters were no longer the option. But did the company made a mistake in discarding the scooter segment ? Looking at the way the share prices are going, the market thinks that Bajaj Auto made the right decision. But I think

that th has only changed.

ey made a mistake in leaving the scooter

segment completely. Contrary to expectation, the scooter segment has not died. It Chetak lost its identity some where during the nineties. What should be the future of the brand : no body knew. It was only in 2004 that company made any change in Chetak. In 1994 Bajaj introduced Classic another scooter with same style as Chetak, but failed. Bajaj never was serious about product development. The R&D spent for a long time was a miniscule 1%. The average cycle time for the new product development was 4-5 years compared to 2-3 years of Japanese competitors. Even after the opening up of economy, the scooter segment did not witness much competition. The players like Vespa did not had much of success in this segment. Kinetic Honda managed to carve a niche with its gearless scooters. Another segment which was growing was the scooterette segment which was dominated by TVS scooty. Bajaj never seriously looked at customer perception about Chetak. The product had serious problems like starting trouble and riding comfort. The " Tilting the chetak to the side for starting " was a common joke. Did the company do anything for that ? no There was nothing wrong with the Promotion. " Hamara Bajaj " and " No one can beat a Bajaj " were famous base lines. There was nothing wrong with distribution and the pricing was very reasonable. The major problem was in the first P : Product.

So without addressing any problems regarding the product , can you expect the customer to buy the product ? Bajaj was never a leader in technology ( now they are !!!). They never bothered to and paid the price . Had Chetak pioneered Electric start, had it provided more riding comfort, it could have survived. Somebody have just beat the Bajaj........ the customer!

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