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The Back to School campaign has gained a lot of salience these past years: S Rajendran

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The Back to School campaign has gained a lot of salience these past years: S Rajendran

Acer has kick-started the ‘Back to School’ campaign this year, with an aim to empower the student community and entice first-time buyers to get hooked to the brand. The campaign includes a mix of ATL marketing -- the brand has touched more than 35 publications, the TV campaign done by Contract Advertising talks about the compelling value proposition and thirdly, the digital, which includes both organic and inorganic promotions.

Commenting on the highlights of the BTS campaign, S Rajendran, Chief Marketing Officer, Acer India, said, “Over the last three years, there have been two big platforms, during which the entire industry gets to rally and put their marketing muscle behind, because there is a peak in buying. One of these is the normal festive season and the other is the BTS campaign, which has gained a lot of salience these past years.”

For Acer, the three compelling offers to entice customers to get into buying mode this year are: Warranty, which includes accidental damage protection at an incremental cost of Rs 999, easy finance scheme and an option of buy-back. Also, to resonate with the youth, a few lucky winners will get to have dinner with Hrithik Roshan in Mumbai.

The brand will offer a wide selection of notebooks from its latest Aspire E5 series and the Aspire R13 convertible notebook.

Excerpts of the interview:

How much have you invested in the campaign?

I cannot articulate the exact numbers, but to give a sense of it, one print campaign typically covers 30 to 35 publications and would cost over a crore. We have planned a minimum of three print campaigns this time. On the TV side, for three weeks we have adopted 35 channels which will resonate with the target audience and have chose prime slots to air our TVCs. On the digital front, there will be a number of paid promotions and we are also handling the entire BTL side -- from customising screen savers to informing store walk-ins about the compelling offers.

What is the duration of the campaign?

The campaign kick-started in the second weekend of May; we started with BTL because there was a need to build intrigue at the point of sale. In India, our peak sales happen between June and July, and because there are different curriculums, and schools open and close at different times, we need to capture both these months as prime sales periods. In regards to the meet and greet with Hrithik Roshan, there are particular logistics involved and the procedure needs to be completed in June, so that we can plan the event for July. But in terms of other offerings, our intent is to work those promotions till July end.

What are your marketing plans for the rest of the year?

Our larger strategy is focused on the two main events -- festival season and BTL during which we are going to see disproportionate ATL spends. But otherwise, one robust layer will always be digital and we will keep on experimenting with various media. For obviously local events, our focus will be on BTL. We will also see to it that our in-store shopping experience is very consistent.

How has Hrithik Roshan- the brand endorser helped Acer?

Acer was the last major entrant in the PC category in India. We had a legacy of Wipro and Acer JV, but when that USP got dissolved we came into the category as Acer and had to face a couple of challenges being the late entrant. Customers were confused and unsure if Acer was a true blue-blood MNC brand. We recognised after a few years of operations in India, that we were not getting adequate consideration; we wanted to break the clutter and dispel all this fog surrounding the brand. Research showed that we needed to have an anchor who could talk across the length and breadth of the country, without being limited by geo or language constraints. We narrowed it down to two platforms which could work, one was sports and the other was Bollywood. In sports, it was cricket, but we found that while it was a high return area, it could also be very risky since we would be dependent on the mood of the people. If the team or the player does very badly, the rub-off on the brand is also fairly negative.

We looked instead towards Bollywood and chose Hrithik Roshan, who could match the brand’s characteristics of being youthful, agile and dynamic. We realised that within six months, the needle had moved considerably, the niggling doubts which people had, were sorted.

How is the response towards Acer from tier ii and tier iii towns?

This is actually the second element of our market strategy, where we wanted to be present in more sections of the country. We have already identified clusters in tier ii and tier iii towns. Marketing in these areas, takes a different hue because it is completely localised. From paper inserts in some high residential areas to spot offers at melas and advertising in theatres, the marketing activity is fine-tuned for local relevance.

What are the challenges of marketing in the Indian sector?

In this sector, there are three major challenges; firstly, India as a country is grossly under-penetrated and we are not able to play up to the scale. The growth of the PC market is around eight million for a country which is 1.2 billion, whereas our fellow BRIC nation Brazil has only 1/4th of our population and enjoys 60% more penetration. Secondly, at the industry level, there are a lot of policies, which make it difficult to do business in India. And finally, government and private sector units should come together and drive digital growth. EMI schemes with low interest rate should be easy to avail so that more people can possess IT products. This will help to improve the literacy index as well.

How intense is the competition in this space?

This is one of the most competitive industries and can get very brutal and intense, but we have to always keep thinking one step ahead of the competition.

Tags Acer notebook Hrithik Roshan S Rajendran

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