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Innovation and Masculinity, a case study of Micromax and Thums Up

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Innovation and Masculinity, a case study of Micromax and Thums Up

The Face of Marketing, Pitch CMO Summit 2010 was held on October 29, 2010. Top marketers were present at this event and discussed their successful marketing plans and strategies. Pratik Seal of Micromax and Anand Singh of Thums Up, Coca Cola shared with the audience a case study of their respective groups.

According to Pratik Seal of Micromax, the greatest challenge for Micromax was- ‘Creating a brand in a cluttered environment’. According to figures in his presentation, highest penetration in mobile market was in SEC A (63 per cent), SEC B (49 per cent) and SEC C (40 per cent). In SEC ABC 48 per cent have owned cellphones, wherein only 13 per cent were in the rural areas. 56 per cent of the total mobile users are below the age of 50 and the mobile penetration amongst females is increasing as well.

According to Seal, mobile industry will keep on growing as “...There is a steady growth in the market. There will never be a saturation point as consumers don’t buy only once. They keep changing and upgrading their hand sets.” Mobile ownership in India has grown from 100 million in 2006 to 525 million in 2009. At this rate it will touch 1 billion by 2012.

Seal said that the mobile industry today was not all about innovations value additions, innovations, entertainment etcetera. “Merely upgrading a camera from three to five megapixels is not innovation, innovation is to think outside the box and give the consumers new features. For example, the idea to provide bigger and long lasting batteries for villages was an instant hit and was a true innovation. According to Seal their strategy has been to identify their TG and then customise the product around them.

There are three kinds of consumers, he illustrated. First Timers (they buy basic models), Replacementers (value plus) and Upgraders (buying innovative products). “The vision is to surprise consumers with mobile innovation that are of great value to them,” he added. Seal also spoke about the 360 degree marketing strategy that they had launched, which had given them instant success. He also concluded by saying that there is a need to build a strong infrastructure for servicing, which they are focussing on.

Thums Up, as one would agree, is a truly relevant, resurgent and ageless brand which has withstood the test of times. Born is 1977, it has seen several highs and lows in the industry. The brand was present even when Coca Cola had earlier shut down India operations. Then, Campa Cola and Thums Up were the only cola brands in the market. Since then not much has changed with the brand and yet so much has.

According to Anand Singh of Thums Up, Coca Cola, the history of the brand makes it a cola drink which was made in India, by India and for India. He spoke in details about the evolution of the icon of Thums Up which depicts masculinity, not only physical but also cerebral. Singh drove home his point by showing several advertisements from the erstwhile Thumps Up to the modern day.
“Thums Up came up as a unique brand with an unique taste. It is a drink which goes well with several food types. Over the years the brand has effortlessly blended into our lives and has created a niche for itself,” he said.

“Today the brand embodies masculinity in both physical and cerebral aspects. Thumps Up depicts an adventurer, it has machismo and in recent times, a retro-sexual feel. The brand has effortlessly blended into all of these, he added. He also pointed out that how the brand has stood for simplicity, which has been a mantra for its success. For the past many years there has been several constants in the way Thums Up has positioned itself, be it in the jingles or in the imageries that it drew. Singh concluded by quoting Leonardo da Vinci and said, ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’.

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