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Our challenge is to establish Michelin as a solid brand in India: Pradeep G Thampy, Michelin Tyres

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Our challenge is to establish Michelin as a solid brand in India: Pradeep G Thampy, Michelin Tyres

Michelin Tyres has launched their maiden television commercial titled ‘Safely Ahead’ to highlight the brand’s ability to provide safer mobility for motorcyclists and scooter riders. The ad has been conceptualised by Publicis India and the mediums mainly being used to promote the campaign will be television and digital.

Talking about the brief given to the agency, Pradeep G Thampy, Commercial Director, Two Wheels, Michelin Asia, Africa and Middle East said, “We understood that there were three safety concerns of the consumers- Stability on uneven roads, wet grip and braking. Our brief to Publicis was to establish the iconic Michelin Man in India and to figure out how he could help the Indian consumer overcome these obstacles on road. The idea was also to break-free from the clutter of traditional tyre advertising, where there is a typical format.”

The channels that will be used are mainly regional, General Entertainment, sports and news channels. The company is on the stage of finalising the duration of the campaign, but it is going to be anywhere between 6-8 weeks. The brand had a reasonably decent presence on the online mediums; however meaningful communication with the audience is starting now.

Market share

Talking about the market share of Michelin Tyres in India, Gary Guthrie President of Michelin 2-Wheel Tyre Division said, “Michelin doesn’t give country-specific numbers. However, our sales have been doubling every year for the last four years. Also, our ambition is that Michelin should be recognised as offering a superior level performance in safety in every market, therefore, justifying the premium price. When we achieve that, we believe we will get to 10% market share relatively quickly.”

He further added, “India is the biggest motorcycles market in the world, not yet the largest market for Michelin. So our ambition is- India should become the largest market for Michelin and within India we should sell more two-wheeler tyres than we do for any other kind of vehicle.”

Target Audience

The target audience for Michelin 2-wheeler Tyres is SEC A B, more male dominated, living in 10 lakh population in the top 63 cities, age between 25 to 40 years.

Rural Market

Thampy highlights that one of the key success factors in the markets, (tier ii, tier iii) is distribution. “You have to be present there, unless you are there, you don’t sell. So we are currently trying to expand our distribution in these markets. Currently our distribution by design was focused on the million plus population in the towns. But now, we first want to reach out to the rural markets,” he cited.

EMI scheme & Snapdeal tie-ups

The brand this year announced the availability of its Passenger Car & Light Truck tyres on EMI scheme at select Michelin Priority Partner (MPP) and Tyre Plus stores in India.

In the month of March, the company had also tied up with Snapdeal to sell its products. According to reports, as part of the partnership, consumers can place an order online via the e-comm platform to purchase Michelin tyres from an authorised dealer and request for fitment at a time and place of their choice. It is only for passenger car tyres at the moment. However, Thampy pointed out, for two-wheeler tyres they are in the process of strategizing.

Marketing Plans for 2016

As part of the marketing strategy, the company plans to be strong on television and across the online medium. Talking about the competition in the two-wheeler tyre segment, Thampy said, “You have the traditional players like MRF, CEAT, Apollo- all solid brands. It is life and there is competition. It is a tough market, but a good market.”

Challenges in the Indian market

Commenting on the challenges of Michelin Tyres in the Indian market, Thampy highlighted, “It will be the relatively low equity of the brand –people mainly in the urban areas know the Michelin Man, but it is not a big brand so to say. Our big challenge would be establish Michelin as a solid brand. To add to it, the increasing the brand awareness is also going to be a big challenge.”


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