Friday, October 13, 2006

John Players : Play It Cool

Brand : John Players
Company: ITC
Agency: FCB Ulka

Brand Count : 140

John Players is the mass market apparel brand of ITC. Launched in December 2002, the brand is poised for becoming a major player in the Rs 6000 crore ready-to- wear market in India.
John Players when launched in 2002 faced a luke warm response from the market. Primarily because of quality and positioning issues.

I mentioned about quality on the basis of my own experience about the brand. I purchased this brand because of the ITC tag plus the price offer ( 1+1 free). I was terribly disappointed with the quality of the material and the range. But I could see the rush at the counter for this brand because of the offer.

John Players is competing with Peter England in the mass market range. ITC knew that Peter England has established itself as a value for money brand and it is a tough brand to compete with. 2005 saw John Players identifying the right positioning platform for itself.

John Players is positioned as a brand with a cool attitude. It is positioned as " Style With a Playful Side" exemplified in its tagline " Play It Cool". The brand rightfully fills the gap of a Cool Brand in the mass market category. The brand is being endorsed by the style icon Hrithik Roshan and the advertising campaign featuring Hrithik was well executed. The brand has a price range of Rs 500-900 for its shirts and Rs 800+ for the trouser range.

Although the positioning platform of being a " Cool " brand is a wonderful proposition, it is a task that is difficult to achieve. It is like a very abstract concept. To quote Ms Rashmi Bansal from a presentation she made at our campus, It is not possible to make a brand or a person " COOL" by just saying that it is " Cool", the customer has to perceive it as a Cool brand. That cool attitude should come into the brand DNA. Hence it is a tricky situation and a tough task for the brand manager. The marketer has to create a lot of subliminal cues to make the brand cool. Hence the brand logo, colors, ads, models, colors etc has significant impact on making the brand " COOL". That is the reason why there are a few COOL brands in our country.

Since my tryst with John Players was not that positive, I have chosen to stick with my favorite brand Peter England. But I think that ITC has worked upon the quality and design aspect of this brand. The brand is in a very tough terrain. It is to be noted that this brand is usually promoted during the festive season mainly using sales promotions. I hardly see any brand building campaigns of John Players during off season. While brands like Color Plus, Van Heusen, Louis Philippe is being built using print ads in a systematic and regular manner, John Players is a brand that is not investing in regular and frequent campaigns. I feel that with a model like Hrithik endorsing the brand, John Players should look at print campaigns at regular and frequent intervals.

source: itcportal,agencyfaqs,businessline,economictimes

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