Monday, July 22, 2013

Hero Maestro : Such a Boy Thing !

Brand : Meastro
Company : Hero Motocorp

Brand Analysis  : # 528

Maestro, launched in early 2012, was Hero Motocorp's answer to its erstwhile partner Honda's market leader offering Activa. After the break-up of the JV, Hero Motocorp wanted to take the fight into Honda's stronghold in the Indian scooter market.

Maestro looks and feels the same as Activa and comes with the same technology . Maestro was launched not as a unisex scooter but explicitly as a masculine scooter. This was probably inspired by the success of Hero Pleasure which was launched as a girl's scooter.

Maestro has the tagline of " Such a boy thing " and the campaign highlights the features that would appeal to young men. It is interesting to see the strategy of Hero to attack Honda's Activa not directly but through two brands - Maestro and Pleasure which are segmented on the basis of gender.

Watch the tvc : Hero Maestro

Priced at par with Activa, Maestro has generated considerable interest in the consumers primarily because of the long waiting period for Activa.  The launch campaign is surprisingly not masculine and Hero doesn't want to push the product as  masculine although the tagline says so. The brand doesn't want to put-off those who want  a scooter which can be used by all members of the family.

Although I started to write about Maestro highlighting its gender based segmentation, a surprising article caught my mind : read it here

In a classic case of Osborne Effect  , the company had already announced that Maestro will be phased out soon . Its ironic that the announcement is done in the same year of Maestro's launch. Customers who bought Maestro has been left dumbfounded  by this announcement. In many forum's like Team BHP, new buyers has expressed their feelings of being cheated . Obviously when products are phased out, new buyers often feels cheated but this is a product which is in the introductory stage and suddenly the company announces that this product is going to be killed soon .

Having said that, Hero Motocorp which had established itself as a reliable and dependable market leader hopefully will not let the customers of this brand stranded without any support.

In this digital era, it is important for brands to hold on to its common sense while sharing information. Over 80%  of prospective automobile buyers search for information in internet before purchases. And the official press release of phasing out of Maestro will not miss the discerning eye and surely a customer is lost. 

And what business sense does it make to launch a product along with the announcement that it will be phased out ? Its not planned obsolescence where products are phased out in a planned manner and after it reaches some stage in the life-cycle. 
Maestro , as reviews say , is a good product that provided some credible alternative to the market leader Activa. But the company itself has digged the grave for Maestro. How sad !

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Cobra Deo : The King of Deos

Brand : Cobra Deo
Company : VI-John

Brand Analysis : # 527

Its raining deo brands in the Indian market. 
Another player,same story. 

VI-John which had made a splash in the men's grooming market with its shaving cream and SRK endorsement has launched its deo branded Cobra. 

I wonder whether there is a conspiracy hatched against the market leader Axe. My conspiracy theory is that all the local FMCG marketers together decided that every deo brand that will be launched in the Indian market will have the same positioning of a " female attraction" . At the end of it, consumers will puke at the sight of Axe and Axe-girls. ( pun intended)

Other wise how can every brand is launching with the same hopeless positioning ? Are all targeted males are begging for a product that can attract females ?

Cobra has found its celebrity endorser in Emraan Hashmi. The brand is running its launch campaign with a television commercial which can easily be rated as one of the hopeless ones in recent times.
Watch the ad here : Cobra ad

The ad is too horrible to be analyzed but it has to be noted that its not these brands that should worry, rather Axe ( the reigning market leader) is the brand that should be worrying.
The plethora of brands that is harping on the ' female attraction' is going to wipe Axe out of the market in the coming years. The brand Axe is already facing heat with Fogg deo matching the market share in certain markets.

The new brands  flooding the market with heavy advertising and huge channel margins will be happy with some share of the pie. My assumption is that these brands outsource the entire production and their main task is to market. And whatever little share will more than make-up their costs. 

Axe has tried to counter by launching new copy-cat campaign featuring Ranbir Kapoor. That shows the desperation coupled with laxity of the leader in responding to the competitor threat. 
Cobra was a name better suited for a condom  or an aphrodisiac brand name.The campaign also was made in he same lines. These brands know that the market leader is vulnerable and it is the right time to strike. 
And it is the right time...