Monday, September 24, 2012

Brand Update : Cinthol says Alive is Awesome

It is very easy to kill a brand or weaken its positioning. Ignore it, reduce investment and within no time, the brand will fade away from consumer's mind. But to bring a brand from obscurity to stardom is a Herculean task. 
Cinthol is one such iconic brand which now has the daunting task of bringing the old glory back. The neglected 60 year old brand from Godrej's stable saw some activity in 2008 when the brand was re-packaged and Hrithik Roshan was introduced to endorse the brand.  The brand also saw a new tagline " Don't Stop" . Some hope was restored about the brand's future. But alas, the enthusiasm was temporary and the campaign died down. For the last couple of years, the brand went again into slumber except for some sporadic campaigns.

Now with much hope, the brand owners have decided  ONCE AGAIN to reposition Cinthol. The brand will be launching the new campaign soon .
Watch the new ad here : Cinthol campaign

The brand has hit upon a new idea " Being Alive is Awesome ". The ad is targeted at the younger consumers who wants to live their life to the fullest and the brand has tried to squeeze itself in the entire scheme of things. In a sense, the tagline represents the brand essence of  a very active lifestyle. But the question is did the brand used the earlier positioning of  " Don't Stop" to the maximum ? These frequent changes in the tagline and the positioning has affected this brand by confusing the consumers with different messages and brand promises. 

I feel that in the new campaign , the brand is trying little too hard to relate to the new generation. For a brand like Cinthol, it need to resist from trying hard to convince. The lyrics and the singing ( rather screaming) gives me a feeling that the brand is desperate to connect to the new generation consumers. That desperation is sadly visible in the campaign. For example the term awesome is a very visible  and obvious attempt to show that the brand is young. But why try hard ? 
To be fair to the brand, it is a smart idea for the brand to go back to the classic form factor and  packaging.  The classic Cinthol comes in the rectangular bathing bar form while the variants came in the usual  soap form with rounded edges. The brand had earlier retained the traditional paper wrapper to the Classic Cinthol and used the common plastic pack for the variants. Here in the new avatar, the brand uses the  rectangular bar form in all the variants and the packaging is also same as that of Classic Cinthol soap. The form factor can give the brand a unique identity.

Alive is Awesome as a positioning platform makes sense. I hope that in subsequent campaigns, the brand will take this concept to a higher level. Sadly the experience so far suggest that after the initial spurt, the brand has a tendency to go to hibernation. And when it rises again, then there will be a new agency and a new positioning. 

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Brand Update : Tata Safari and the Art of Laziness

I always loved Tata Safari. Despite the bad reviews, nagging product issues, this brand was always an aspiration for me ( yet to be fulfilled). The brand which was one of the first SUVs in India had something in it which attracted people like me. And as reports validate, there are die-hard Safari fans who cling to their brand despite frequent visits to the workshop.

Sometimes we look at certain products and say ' What a Potential Wasted'. Alas, looking at Safari, I am forced to think about a wasted potential. 
This brand was launched full five years before the launch of Scorpio and see where these two brands are now . Scorpio redefined the SUV market but Safari is still on the sidelines.
And till now the brand has not learned its lessons.

When was the last time you saw a Tata Safari Advertisement and said WoW. When was the last time the product was upgraded ?
It seems that Tata Motors suddenly lost its marketing acumen. More worrying is that the company has lost interest in investing on this ageing brand. According to news reports, Tata Motors is planning to launch the much  spruced up version of Tata Safari branded as Safari Storme later this year. But going by the fate of Aria, I don't give much hope to the new launch because suddenly Tata Motors seems to lose interest in brand building. 
Tata Safari lost one of the most opportune moments in its lifecycle. Indian consumers were shifting towards diesel models, markets were indicating potential of smaller SUV and new price points were opening up in the SUV market. But Safari was blind to all these. To my surprise, it did not even acknowledged the presence of new competing brands like Duster, Xylo, Evalia or even Scorpio. The brand was in a perfect blindness. 
There was no product improvement or campaigns for the brand in these times except for some dull discount ads by the dealers. 
To my utter disappoinment, Tata Safari is now an example of Myopic Marketing wasting a potential to build an iconic brand. 
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Brand Update : Design. It Matters for Xylys

Xylys,  the premium watch brand from Titan is on a repositioning mode again. The brand has been toying with many positioning platforms seems to have zeroed in on Design as its major USP. Having said that, Design was always the USP for Xylys but it took many positioning experiments for the brand to state the obvious.
Xylys also has a new brand ambassador in Farhan Akthar- the famous bollywood director and actor.

The brand is running a new television campaign featuring the celebrity and the new positioning theme. Xylys also has a new tagline " Design. it matters " emphasizing on the new positioning. The new tagline is far far better than the earlier one " It possesses You ". The brand in a way changed the focus from the user to the product.

Watch the new ad here : Xylys
The ad although nicely made does not have any WoW factor in it because the style of execution of a narrative has been used by many brands before. 
The brand has hit upon a pretty decent positioning platform which gives it enough firepower to build its image. Design is a powerful term and the brand must live its promise through its products. Unlike many words like Style, Elegance etc, Design is a term that encompasses all facets of a product. It is the sum total of all features, attributes, benefits of an offering. And as the brand says, Design matters very much in this era. Hope that the brand sticks to this positioning and make the best out of this good idea.

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Friday, September 07, 2012

Brand Update : Maggi's 2 Minute Mein Khushiyam With BigB

Maggi , which created the noodles category in India has now none other than Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador. The brand is being endorsed by a celebrity for the first time in its history. And Big B is an intriguing choice for a brand which is most patronized by young children.

Maggi holds a commanding position in the Noodles Segment with over 60% market share. Off late, the brand is facing competition from brands like Horlicks, TopRamen Sunfeast Yippie etc. And further the brand is feeling a disconnect with the new generation customers who now have more choices for indulgence other than noodles. Maggi now faces not only brand competition but also industry competition from similar products like Pizzas. Even fast food joints are taking away consumers from the brand. At this point , the brand needs to stay relevant to the consumers since consumers have a wider choice of indulgence.

Maggi's choice of Big B as the brand ambassador is little puzzling. Amitabh Bachchan as a celebrity commands immense respect among the audiences. He is an amazing story teller and has unmatched screen presence and Maggi wants to build more authenticity through his endorsement. The new campaign featuring Big B is an extension of the highly successful Me and Meri Maggi theme where the brand tried to crowdsource stories of customer experience with Maggi. 

The campaign brought back many segments of consumers who moved away from the brand since they have grown up. The brand again brought back focus on itself and its heritage and the USP of 2 minutes. The campaign in a way was the counter strike against the competitor's focus on health and nutrition.

Big B was introduced as a story teller who narrates the various stories supplied by the consumers through the various touchpoints created by the brand. The brand is running a campaign featuring this stories.
Watch the ads Here
The ads focus on the ease of cooking  ( convenience) and the happiness thereby attempting to take the consumer's focus away from the health platform adopted by Horlicks, Sunfeast Yippie etc. Sunfeast has roped in Saina Nehwal as its endorser.
The brand has a new slogan " 2 minute mein Khushiyan " . It is interesting to note that the brand has brought back the 2 minutes proposition after a long time. 
Although Amitabh Bachchan is a master story teller, I find some how a disconnect between the brand and the celebrity. The thought is that  " he is not the right person to endorse the brand". This is despite the fact that he commands respect from across age groups.
Having said that the presence of the powerful celebrity along with the smart collection of real life stories of brand consumption adds a big boost to this brand. The brand exactly needs such a boost at this point of its life cycle. The problem with such heritage brand is that over the period of time, the communication becomes boring. Booster shots like these will again revive the energy levels for the brand to move and face competition head on.
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Saturday, September 01, 2012

Brand Update : Sparx adds Akshay Kumar to its Life

Sparx, the shoe brand from Relaxo has replaced the brand ambassador Neil Nitin Mukesh with the Action Superstar Akshay Kumar. 
Relaxo Footwear Ltd , the owner of the brand is on a roll these days. The company is seriously in to celebrity driven branding and has roped in stars like Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif to endorse its brands Hawaii and Flite respectively.
For the sports shoe brand Sparx, the brand chose to rope in a new brand ambassador - Akshay Kumar. The brand is running its print campaign now featuring the new celebrity.

As far as the brand's personality and positioning is concerned, Akshhay fits the bill perfectly. Akshay is the most atheletic Bollywood star and is the ideal pick for a sports brand. How ever, the celebrity is highly stereotyped by the ad campaigns and his stunt-oriented ad campaigns have lost the wow factor due to this stereotyping . Brands have failed to exploit his personal characteristics and is lured by the obvious athleticism and martial art stunts.
Sparx also is using the star in the same manner. This also-ran theme does not do any good to the brand except for some amount of attention and a possible recall. Sparx could have gained a lot if it tried to exploit Akshay Kumar's personal qualities like confidence, self-made, hardworking nature etc rather than just those flying kicks.
Akshay would definitely help the brand gain more eyeballs nationally but the way the ad campaigns are executed will define the brand's position in comparison with competitors. With global brands like Nike , Reebok etc have lowered their price points to cover the mass market, Sparx should try to make use of its celebrities much more powerfully rather than just gain brand awareness.
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