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Writer: Source: The Economic Times - Saturday, Apr 01,2006 8:22 AM

Candy makes for sweet change, takes place of 50p

Candy makes for sweet change, takes place of 50p

Marketers are always on the look-out for paisa vasool positioning. But two of India's top candy brands are taking that dictum quite literally.

It's a war out there between Chlormint and Mint-O-fresh. And if marketing experts are to be believed, the objective is to wipe out the 50-paise coin from consumer mindspace.

When was the last time you walked up to the neighbourhood paanwala for a cigarette and got a 50-paise coin as change?

Most shops-round-the-corner have substituted the coin with candy. Now, candy brands have started positioning themselves as 50-paise substitutes. An example is Chlormint, which used a TV game show to position itself as a coin substitute.

The coin-to-candy substitution isn't a coincidence. It has developed into a proper brand strategy involving intense muscle-flexing in distribution.

A source told ET, “Initially, most companies positioned candy as stuff is eaten without any reason. But when competition became intense, players started working on innovative strategies.” The coin-to-candy positioning is one such branding idea.

Chlormint took the first-mover advantage and started convincing retailers at the grass-root level that by returning candy in place of a 50-p coin, they could sell two products in the same transaction.

Santosh Desai, president, McCann Erickson, the ad agency for Chlormint, said, “This positioning wasn't difficult, given the depreciating value of coins.” But MG Parameswaran, ED, FCB Ulka, the agency for Mint-O fresh, feels value for money is a driver for 50-p candies.

“Mint-O fresh was never positioned as an alternative for a 50-p coin. The brand has banked upon freshness as its USP. It just so happens that 80% of the Indian candy market is in this segment and all brands are classified as a way to keep loose change out,” he said.

Intentional or accidental, insiders are confident this marketing march from candy companies can remove loose change from the market.

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