Friday, July 13, 2007

CBZ Xtreme : Live Extreme

Brand : CBZ Xtreme
Company : Hero Honda
Agency : JWT

Brand Count : 250


CBZ is India's first sports bike . The brand came into existence in 1999 when Hero Honda decided to trade up its customers to premium segment. The brand created the premium segment of motorcycle in India.
But the first mover advantage was short lived. In 2001, Bajaj stealed the thunder right under the nose of the market leader. Pulsar just took the entire market away from CBZ. CBZz struggled hard to gain an advantage over Pulsar, but in vain. In 2005, the company decided to take the brand out of the market.
In 2007 saw Hero Honda relaunching the brand with a hope of getting a slice in the fastest growing segment in Indian automobile market which is estimated to be of 600,000 units. Premium segment is expected to be around 10% of the total market.
What really happened to CBZ is a sad story.
The company failed both in the product front as well as in the marketing front. CBZ when launched got rave reviews because it was some thing that the market has not seen. The styling was also good so was the power. But when the product got to the actual road test, problems began to surface. There was issues regarding fuel consumption and the high price also dampened the initial enthusiasm .The product also had some glaring issues, for example a simple fact like one has to push up the Foot Rest inorder to kick start showed that the company took the customer for granted.
The price - performance mismatch and the lethargic marketing/branding activities took its toll in the sales performance of CBZ. With the blockbuster Pulsar coming in, CBZ soon was in death bed. The company also had focused more on retaining its leadership position in the executive segment rather than looking at the premium segment. These factors aided Pulsar to dominate the segment .
This year showed Hero Honda's renewed interest in the premium segment which translated to the relaunch of CBZ as CBZ Xtreme. The new CBZ comes with a spruced up design and a more powerful engine. But still the product lacked the refinement of Pulsar. One of the CBZ owner told me that the Foot rest vs the Kicker issue is still there in the new CBZ ( thankfully there is a selfstart option).
The marketing campaign of new CBZ Xtreme is also horrible . The brand failed to communicate anything to the consumer about the product. There is a severe lack of BIG IDEA which is evident in the new commercial.
Watch the Commercial here : CBZ XTREME
The main aim of this commercial is to put a JAMES BOND kind of image about CBZ but failed to the extreme. I would give it a 1/10 . The brand uses the tagline " Live Extreme" to promote the product. The idea is to project the brand as an Extreme machine for those who like challenges. But the execution of this concept was horrible.
Marketing of CBZ is going to be very crucial in the success of this relaunch. The reason is that CBZ Xtreme sports the same engine as Honda Unicorn and its own Achiever. So technically there is not much scope of differentiation. The only available differentiation is interms of branding. And Branding is the weakest link in Hero Honda's scheme of affairs. Yet again the brand has failed to deliver a meaningful communication. The brand could have faired if there was no competition. In this case the competition is having an iconic status and CBZ 's only weapon is to match the brand strength of Pulsar. But Alas, the agency has let down the brand. The company has failed to highlight a USP for CBZ or does CBZ has any ?