Intex: Good marketing offer wasted

The stories feel very incomplete. If Intex didn’t have the budget for long duration ads, the exercise should have been approached very differently. Right now, it’s neither here nor there

Here is yet another example of a reasonably good marketing strategy frittered away because of poor advertising work.

Intex, the mobile handsets maker, has released multiple ads for their new phone which enables you to make video calls. And they promise you can do this without applying for the expensive 3G service.

Before I come to the ads, a quick point. Most 3G subscribers are bitterly complaining about the sad quality of connectivity. And video call users report more drops than conversations. In that scenario, you can only imagine the quality of video calls minus 3G. But I digress.

The slogan for Intex's campaign is: 'Jo bolna hai, mooh pe bol'. An obvious thought for a video call. What helps Intex's cause is that because the handset does not offer any other significant features, the communication becomes single-minded by default. I watched three commercials. In each one, a person says something naughty to the call receiver-something that the caller would normally hesitate to say when he/she comes face-to-face with the person.

In one ad, a chap calls his prospective pa-in-law and demands that he give the permission for the fellow to marry his daughter. Else, the youngster threatens, he'll elope with the girl. In another ad, an employee calls his boss and declares he's taking the day off, because the weather is wonderful. In the third ad, a husband calls his wife, who's sitting very bored at home, and says that he'd rather party in the night than come home to her.

While the ads manage to communicate the video call feature, they are totally uninspiring and dull. The situations are very predictable and the humour immensely weak. Even if you are the sort who laughs at just about any joke, you may just flash a half smile on first exposure. Thereafter, it's a yawn. Also, these stories feel very incomplete. If Intex didn't have the budget for long duration ads, then the exercise needed to have been approached very differently. Right now, it's neither here nor there.

Bottom-line: A cool marketing offer: Video call without 3G. Should help Intex phones sell like hot cakes (and I am assuming they are priced reasonably). But a poor communication strategy and a lackluster execution blows things up for the marketer. The Intex managers should video call their ad agency guys and demand that they get back to the drawing board. If they are hesitating to say that in person, jo bolna hai, mooh pe bol, Sirji!


Exports jump 46.4% to $29.2 billion in June

During the first quarter of the current fiscal, exports grew by 45.7% to $79 billion and imports jumped by 36.2% to $110.6 billion, leaving a trade gap of $31.6 billion

New Delhi: India's exports registered a robust growth of 46.4% year-on-year in June to $29.2 billion on account of increasing demand in Western markets, reports PTI.

Imports, too, grew at a high rate of 42.4% to $36.9 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $7.7 billion for the month, according to government data.

"$29.2 billion figure is a very, very high number for exports. Virtually all sectors grew well," commerce secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters here.

During April-June 2011-12, exports grew by 45.7% to $79 billion and imports shot up by 36.2% to $110.6 billion, Mr Khullar said.

During the first quarter of the current fiscal, the trade deficit stood at $31.6 billion.

The exporting sectors that registered strong growth during the quarter include engineering, petroleum products, gems and jewellery, readymade garments and electronics.


ISMA demands de-regulation of sugar industry

Considering a surplus production this year, and likely high sugar production next year, there is a need to immediately reduce sugar stocks held by sugar mills and permit export of additional 10 lakh tonnes, by removal of stock holding limit on traders, ISMA president Narendra Murkumbi advocated

Bangalore: The apex organisation of sugar mills, the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) on Thursday asked the government to lift stock holding limit on sugar traders and permit immediate export of another 10 lakh tonne to prevent any crisis, reports PTI.

Demanding de-regulation of the industry, ISMA president Narendra Murkumbi said the industry has had a surplus sugar production and is burdened with unprecedented stocks.

Most of the mills neither have adequate storage capacities nor cash flows to manage the surplus inventories, which may trigger distress sale, he said.

Currently, the value of stock balance with sugar mills is approximately Rs30,000 crore.

Despite the recent permission to export five lakh tonnes of sugar, the opening balance for 2011-12, would be about 60 lakh tonnes, which is about 10 lakh tonnes more than the normative three month consumption opening balance for the next year.

Considering a surplus production this year, and likely high sugar production next year, there is a need to immediately reduce sugar stocks held by sugar mills and permit export of additional 10 lakh tonnes, by removal of stock holding limit on traders, he said.

He added that with improving international sugar prices and low domestic ex-mill prices, it would be prudent to permit export of maximum possible quantities of sugar immediately (July to September) to enable the stakeholders to gain.

Mr Murkumbi further warned of a crisis if such export was not permitted. Due to surplus sugar in the country and continuance of stock-holding limit on traders, the ex-mill sugar prices are below the cost of production. Such a situation would adversely impact the paying capacity of sugar mills to farmers.

With surplus sugar production next year and lack of opportunities to export sugar, the mills would no longer be in a position to pay farmers, he said.

Building cane price arrears will also harm the farmers, who he feared would move away from sugarcane cultivation in 2012-13.

With increase in domestic demand, the country will then be forced to import at high prices, Mr Murkumbi said.

He said in the sugar season 2009-10, around Rs45,000 crore was paid to farmers as cane price, this year it is expected to rise to about Rs51,000 crore.

However, the industry continued to be controlled by the government which was harming the industry, he claimed.

Certain percentage of sugar produced had to be handed over to the government at a given price for public distribution system. Such a practise was not followed in other parts of the world, he said.

The government, he said, must procure sugar at the market price and then make it available to the PDS at a subsidised rate, to safeguard the interest of sugar producers.

Sugar prices in India were 30% lower than global prices, he added.

The ISMA demanded abolition of levy sugar obligation on sugar mills and of monthly regulated release mechanism.

It also demanded fast-tracking of the national ethanol programme. He said around 600,000 tonnes of molasses had to be exported as it could not be sold. If this had been converted into ethanol, it could have addressed one per cent of the country's petrol requirement.


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