Monday, November 02, 2009

Smith & Jones : Tadka Marke

Brand : Smith & Jones
Company : Capital Foods

Brand Analysis Count : 425

When I recently saw the ad of Smith & Jones, I thought that a new foreign player has entered the Indian noodles market. Much to my amusement, Smith & Jones is an Indian brand and has been in the market for a while.

Smith & Jones is a brand from Capital Foods - which are famous for its Ching's secret range of Chinese food products especially instant noodles.Smith & Jones is popular in ready to eat, sauce and jelly etc.

Smith & Jones is making lot of noise in the media for its masala noodles. The brand is taking on the market leader Maggi Noodles head on .

Watch the TVC here : Smith & Jones

According to news reports , the brand is trying to redefine the Masala Variant in the noodles category. Masala is a highly popular variant in the noodles segment and has become a generic variant with the same kind of taste offered by different players in the category.

Smith & Jones wanted to differentiate by offering an innovative taste in this category . According to the reports, the brand is trying to woo customers by offering a " Tadka " taste to the masala.

Tadka is a popular garnish ( seasoning) made out of various spices which are added to the food to make it more tasty. Smith & Jones claims that its Tadka is made of 52 Indian spices. The brand is differentiating itself using the " Tadka " ingredient. The brand has the tagline " Tadka Marke".

I still wonder why Capital Foods chose to extend Smith & Jones to noodles segment when it already have Ching's Secret brand of instant noodles. Smith & Jones was having products in the Sauce, Ready to eat segment etc and Ching's Secret was a popular noodles brand. Rather than extending Smith & Jones, Capital Foods could have introduced the new flavor under Ching's. By having two brands in the same category, the company is going to lose both share and money. There is a chance of cannibalizing one brand over the other. And to fight a market leader like Maggi, one needs to be very focused both on brands and also resources.

Another aspect of the brand is its insensitivity towards the linguistic diversity across the vast Indian market. Although I know Hindi, I was totally clueless about what a Tadka is. I did not knew the meaning of it till I made a conscious search of the word. If the customer does not understand the meaning of Tadka, the entire brand promise will be lost. The brand will have tough time in communicating its core differentiation across non-Hindi speaking markets unless it takes pain to find apt word in all those languages.

The brand has initiated sampling across 3200 schools across India and is sponsoring lot of events and contact program with the consumers. The brand is also trying product placement in movies and sponsor programs in kid's channels ( Source).

It will be interesting to see whether Smith & Jones will be able to make a dent in Maggi's stronghold in the Rs 1100 crore noodles market. Differentiation based on flavor is not sustainable proposition. It will be easy for any marketer to launch such a variant. That was one of the reason why I doubted the effectiveness of Smith & Jones' foray into noodles .

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