Trendspotting: Brands leveraging competitors' unpopularity to win goodwill
Indian brands battle it out to capture consumer attention by taking digs at each other
Published - Nov 11, 2014 9:26 AM Updated: Nov 11, 2014 9:26 AM
Brands in India are growing feistier by the day. From taking digs at one another in advertising campaigns, to using social media as a tool to make a wittily positive statement, Indian companies are leaving no stone unturned to make sure they build a positive image in the consumers’ minds.
exchange4media takes a look at the most recent brand activities that leverage on other brands unpopularity.
HUL’s jab at Snapdeal
Laxminarayan Krishnamurthy, a Mumbai resident had ordered a Samsung Galaxy smartphone on Snapdeal. When the delivery came, he received Vim Bar in the package. Outraged, Krishnamurthy shared his grievance on Facebook.
The post was shared by over 20,000 people.
Snapdeal, of course, took notice of the complaint. However, it was a little late in resolving the concern. After six days of that post, Krishnamurthy posted that Snapdeal had refunded full money and apologized for the same.
Considering that 20,000 people had shared the post, covered by several mainstream media outlets as well, Vim Bar’s parent company, Hindustan Unilever Limited, decided to enter into a war of wits. And what they did next is being termed as “exceptional customer care service”.
HUL sent Krishnamurthy the same mobile which he had initially ordered on Snapdeal: a Samsung Galaxy Core Duo, along with a letter saying, “The pictures you posted online show that our brand was used in this incident. Vim is one of our iconic brands with some great consumer franchise. We felt bad about it, not to mention what you went through. Here is a small gesture from our side to cheer you up.”
An elated Krishnamurthy posted this on Facebook:
Volkswagen dig on Maruti and Nissan
Last week saw two of the biggest names in the Indian auto industry face flak for not meeting international safety norms. Popular hatchbacks Maruti Suzuki Swift and Datsun Go of Nissan have failed crash tests conducted by Global NCAP, showing high risk of life-threatening injuries.
The international auto testing agency, disclosed that the Maruti Suzuki Swift was put to a crash test and failed. Nissan’s Datsun Go went through the same test, and failed too. Datsun Go scored two stars while the Swift got one. In its report, Global NCAP rated the car structure of the Swift and Datsun Go as 'unstable' saying the latter collapsed when the car was crashed from the front at a speed of 64 kmph, the speed at which most fatalities occur.
So much so, that the consumer safety testing body has asked Japanese car maker, Nissan, to withdraw its compact car Datsun GO from the Indian market saying it was "sub-standard".
In January 2014, Global NCAP published crash test results for five of India’s best-known cars: the Suzuki Maruti Alto 800, the Hyundai i10, the Ford Figo, the Volkswagen Polo, and the Tata Nano. All the cars received zero-star adult protection ratings.
Volkswagen has since decided to offer the Polo for sale in India with two airbags as standard. This model subsequently received a four-star safety rating.
Seeing potential for leverage in these brands’ “failure”, Volkswagen decided to promote the new Polo as the “India’s safest premium hatchback”.
Last month, with the holiday season knocking at the door, e-retailers in India stepped on the gas to attract as many consumers as possible. E-retailers started their own marketing to lure consumers with wide range of products, heavy discounts, single day delivery promises, buy-one-get-one free and all such offers that can be thought of. However, not all what is promised is delivered in the way they seem to happen.
Flipkart had put up huge billboards at OOH spots on highways and close to Amazon's Indian headquarters for its festive season sale campaign called ‘Big Billion Day.’
However on the big day, it turned out to be a big blunder. Flipkart's infrastructure crumpled on the Big Billion Day with products vanishing from the cart, rampant order cancellations and system failure leading to the reality falling short by several miles of what was claimed in the promotional ads.
But during this Flipkart fiasco, Amazon stole the show as customers moved away from Flipkart and landed in the Amazon basket, and with the kind of dominance that Amazon holds in the ecommerce sector, it steered the Indian fanfare for online shopping from Flipkart to its own cart.
With such episodes on the rise, it seems all brands are looking at is grabbing the consumers’ eyeballs—by hook or by crook.
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