Pedalling the bicycle market on fast lane can be a tough proposition, and TI Cycles is working hard to make cycles a part of the pop culture. One of its initiatives includes riding the brand into the silver screen.
"Though it is not our major initiative, we intend to popularise our brands by placing them in movies," said Mr Mohit Khattar, Vice-President (Sales and Marketing), TI Cycles of India, the maker and marketer of brands such as BSA and Hercules.
The company used three movies to promote its brands this year. These included the Tamil movie Kovil, produced by Sri Surya Movies, and the recent Hindi hit Phir Milenge, produced by Percept Picture Company.
TI Cycles will also be featured in the Shahid Kapoor starrer Dil Maange More to be released on December 31.
In Phir Milenge, the character Tamana (Shilpa Shetty) was depicted as a designer with an advertising agency working on the BSA cycles account. The last time the bicycle industry got a shot in the arm from a movie was in 1992, when the Filmfare Award winner Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander stormed the box office. Though the concept of product placement was not popular then, the Mansoor Khan-directed film had used TI Cycles brands.
"The intention behind such product placements is to popularise the product, and extend it beyond kids," Mr Khattar said, adding that the company would eye at least three films a year.
The bicycle industry has marginally declined in the last last two years, and expects volumes to be flat for other one-and-a-half years. The company achieved a turnover of Rs 500 crore in March 2004 as against Rs 470 crore in March 2003.
"The growth driver for the bicycle market ahead would be targeting different segments of people, changing look and face of its products," he said.
However, the company is also targeting the cycling championship at the 2008 Olympics. It has tied up with Cycling Federation of India to encourage cycling. "We have marked around 15 such events in next three years, which includes the Asian Cycling Championship," Mr Khattar said.
"We plan to identify promising talent through our championships, and further provide them with necessary equipments and train them for Olympics," he added.
The company is also scouting for strategic alliance in areas of health and fitness to market its health equipment under the BSA brand name.
It company has set a target of Rs 10 crore of business by December 2005 from this particular segment.