Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pepsi to steal the thunder: Fizzier Pepsi Vs ThumpsUp??

"A PepsiCo spokesman said the base formulation of the beverage hasn’t been changed while increasing the amount of carbon dioxide to make the drink fizzier" read the e-paper on economic times.. and the first thing I did was to try calling some of my project mates of IMT.. But, their numbers are not available and I turned towards my blog to share it with.

"Looking into the developments that can be made within the domestic resources would be: To launch some product which would capture the PCI share. There had been some differences between the CCI and PCI products (which we came to know in our research) due to which people are attracted towards one’s products and dislike the other products. CCI needs to concentrate upon bringing a new brand or drink (for ex: a drink with less fizz with almost same taste of present Coke) that would capture PCI customers. This sort of improvements would let our customers remain with us and capture the opponent’s customers."
"Ohh!! That's a wonderful strategy and a good suggestion indeed", said the executive from Vodafone. I thought, I have impressed him with this point but later on I screwed up big time by giving confused answers to some of those questions he asked me in the interview.."

I wonder why someone hasn't paid attention to this point 2 years back when we did it as an academic project for the subject Marketing Management-II?? Neither my team mates recognized it nor my Professor of marketing. The only one person who recognized it was the executive who came from Vodafone for final placements at IMT, Ghaziabad during our batch placements. And now seeing Pepsi going on similar lines of strategy makes me feel that actually in reality, "My brain does work sometimes :-) "

One of my strong recommendation in the academic project done on Coca-Cola India for the Marketing Management-II subject was to "Introduce a drink with less fizz and a bit of high sweet content with respect to ThumsUp or Coke as a new brand to capture the market share of the drink Pepsi.." and this is what pepsi had been trying to do these days in some parts of Indian Market. It has introduced fizzier pepsi in the market of Andhra Pradesh to pull out some share of ThumsUp. I finally thought though something has been happening in reality to what my thoughts were at some point of time... But, I feel that Pepsi can do it better that what it is trying to do with this decision.

When you know what's attracting customers towards your competition there are two ways to pull them back to you with one basic strategy behind it. Basic strategy is "To provide similar to what the competition is offering or to provide something better than what competition is offering." And the two ways to do it are "Make your brand offer the same proposition" or else, "Introduce a new brand that can provide that proposition." I think the second way will be better for Pepsi because of a simple reason.

The simple reason being, "There had been some differences between the CCI and PCI products (which we came to know in our research) due to which people are attracted towards one’s products and dislike the other products" and that this customers of Pepsi is a considerable chunk." Customers who prefer Pepsi to ThumsUp do so because they have found some connection in their tastes like less fizz, the amount of sweet content(in terms of taste), etc. So, now the strategy should be to attract new customers while retaining those old ones who are a considerable chunk. This can be done better by introducing a new brand with more fizz and a different sweet content, etc.

Yes, there are negative effects too if you introduce a new brand or some objections to it too. The cost of launching a new brand, the cost to company if the proposition fails in the market, etc.. But, if the product fails wouldn't it affect the image of Pepsi to an extent even if they withdraw fizzier Pepsi later on?? And if the cost of launching a new brand is too costly for Pepsi in these recession times why can't they start it with a limited edition which might have been called "Pepsi+" or "Pepsixyz"?? This might have helped them in covering up the extra costs to launch a new brand, etc and make sure that the product is placed well in the market.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Horlicks Vs TIME.... Who can do it and who can't??

Can you find something that is similar between the brands Horlicks (Health Drink) and TIME (Coaching Institute). If you see the ads that have been run by these brands since some time, the concept behind both these ads is the same. The concept of trying to pull customers attention through display of some statistical data that is neither known nor proven by anyone in public.

Though it has been the same concept behind both the ads, who can use this concept and who cannot is the question? Some say it's creative, some say that it's stupid, some say it's unethical.. I am not against the creative feelings of the directors. This is one of the best ways to directly attack against many competitors in the cluttered ad space. But, my question to who can and who cannot is by looking into which might mislead and which might not do so??

Horlicks has been advertising with the line "Children who drink horlicks have grown 3cms more than those who haven't consumed horlicks..." whereas, TIME has been advertising with the line "90% of the new batch at IIM are from TIME..." There are two different set of customers who are targeted by these two brands under the similar concept of advertising and that's where the difference of who can and who cannot crops up.....

In the case of Horlicks, the customers are parents across the country and if you try considering the nutritional awareness among parents in India the value would be drastically low. Thus we eliminate a set of customers who are really aware of nutritional factors and decide on some drink firmly. Now the next set of customers, whom we can eliminate out of the considerate set are those, who give a preference to the taste buds of their kids or to the taste that the kids like among different drinks. And to just try to know about the buying behaviour of this remaining chunk of parents just try assuming some parents in your home or ask some of your friends about the behaviour of their parents who buy a specific brand most of the time. Most of the time, it's either the health drink that is being used since long time in their home or through the suggestion of someone saying that a particular health drink is good because of so and so reasons such as it makes you get good strength, energy or keeps you stronger in older age, etc. And these logics which spread as word of mouth are most of time are from the advertisements which gave them a feel good factor or connected well with them. And these logics are what we are talking about which the Ad from Horlicks says that "Children who drink horlicks have grown 3cms taller than those who didn't drink horlicks." And the final set of customers who are in our consideration set constitute a huge chunk and this is how there is a problem of misleading someone through a logic which is neither proved nor disclosed with proper results. And finally this Ad is proving out to be misleading the customers rather than breaking the clutter.

In the case of TIME, the customers are those students who aspire to become future managers through education from a premier B-School. This set of customers can be broadly classified into three groups. The first group of people are those who are matured enough of taking a decision where to go for coaching. The second group are those who take advice from seniors, discuss with friends about a certain institute or a branch before joining in it. The third group are those who are neither matured nor among those who discuss with several people but would join just like that because they heard somewhere that it's good or else it's near to their home or comfortable for them or else attracted by the ads and then converted by those counselling professionals at the branch. Now this third group of customers are those who may be affected by the ad or whose decision might be affected by this ad and this chunk is very low on a overall scale. And this Ad is turning out to be breaking the clutter just to improve awareness of the brand rather than mislead someone.

I am not against anyone's ideologies of creativity in advertising or breaking the clutter but somewhere, I do feel that Horlicks ad is turning out to be misleading whereas, the as from TIME is turning out to be the one which is trying to break the clutter. And the way people at Horlicks and TIME replied to those certain questions raised by the press further supports the same... and there should be a limit to this sort of advertisements at least in the food segment and that's where the regulators should try playing there bit of role.. Especially, when such an Ad from GSK is pulled off the air without any reply to the questions from the UK advertising council but there isn't anyone to question them in India?? This brings out the biggest question of the day... "Is there any advertising regulator present in the country called INDIA????"