Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Surrogate Marketing (Advertising)

Ever wondered why Bacardi and Royal Stag entered launched their music cd’s, what made Kingfisher enter the segment of mineral water?

The answer to this is surrogate advertising.

The makers of these brands were banned to advertise and they resorted to surrogate advertising. It is a sort of advertising where a cover product is promoted in order to promote
the actual product that is banned. Surrogate marketing refers to intentionally utilizing a company, person or object to help convey the message of another party. The term has both positive and negative connotations. On the positive side, surrogate marketing is somewhat akin to grassroots or viral marketing in which a marketing organization may actively recruit others to help spread the message or can also be likened to hiring a manufacturer’s representative to sell your product.

However, it is the negative side that seems to have drawn the most attention. A surrogate advertising campaign can be used to indirectly promote products or services deemed by some groups as being unhealthy, unethical, and immoral or, possibly, illegal through activities that are viewed as acceptable forms of promotion. For instance, in some parts of the world where regulation exists that may ban promoting alcohol and tobacco, firms promote these brands by tying the brand names to more acceptable products. For instance, the same brand name used for selling cigarettes may also be the same brand name on a juice product. In this way the customer is not only aware of the acceptably advertised brand but also understands the connection to the regulated product.Surrogate advertisements took off not long ago in the UK, where British housewives protested strongly against liquor advertisements "luring" away their husbands. The liquor industry found a way around the ban: Surrogate advertisements for cocktail mixers, fruit juices and soda water using the brand names of the popular liquors.

In India, ministry of health has banned the advertising of liquor and tobacco. But many liquor brands (like McDowell's whisky) initiated other products like sodas in the same name which are then advertised. Another instance of surrogate advertising is 'Four Square Bravery Awards' in the name of Four Square cigarettes.

Surrogate marketing is used in two contexts: the first is when a company "farms out" the entire marketing function and the group providing the service is called a "surrogate marketing department." I don't believe this is the context for which you are looking. The second is what is happening in India with respect to the ban on tobacco and alcohol advertising. Companies in banned industries are introducing brand extensions with products that are legal to advertise
with the same brand name as the banned product. One liquor company introduced apple juice with the same brand name as the liquor. The idea is the companies can advertise freely the extension - thus keeping their banned-from-the-media products in the minds of the customers. So the apple juice, for instance, is the surrogate for the liquor in the ads. The companies also don't care much about the sales of the surrogate products -for instance, it seems that the apple juice isn't even readily available to buy throughout the company. This loophole that the tobacco and liquor companies are exploiting is upsetting the legislature because every apple juice ad that reminds the consumers of the liquor is a slap in the lawmakers' faces. But, they also don't quite know what to do about it!

In general, surrogate marketing is when you promote one product or service in the hopes of selling another. Why you would want to do that varies. The best reason is that you aren't able to legally. But other reasons might be because the two products sell better together - for instance, you may make a product and it requires service - which you don't provide. You can market a service provider - the surrogate - who will only use your product.

Contributed by: Arjun Chawla & Jason Monserrate

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Organized Retailing in India

The recent years have witnessed rapid transformation and vigorous profits in Indian retail stores across various categories. This can be contemplated as a result of the changing attitude of Indian consumers and their overwhelming acceptance to modern retail formats. Asian markets witness a shift in trend from traditional retailing to organized retailing driven by the liberalizations on Foreign Direct Investments. For example, in China there was a drastic structural development after FDI was permitted in retailing. India has entered a stage of positive economic development which requires liberalization of the retail market to gain a significant enhancement.

Domestic consumption market in India is estimated to grow approximately 7 to 8% with retail accounting for 60% of the overall segment. Of this 60%, organized retail is just 5% which is comparatively lesser than other countries with emerging economies. In developed countries organized retailing is the established way of selling consumer products. Despite the low percentage, Indian textile industry has grown noticeably in organized retailing of textile products. The negative phase in exports may have compelled the Indian textile retailers to explore the opportunities in the domestic market substantially causing the outstanding growth in the concerned segment. These indications give a positive notion that organized retailing has arrived in the Indian market and is here to stay. It is expected to grow 25-30 per cent annually and would triple in size from Rs35,000 crore in 2004-05 to Rs109,000 crore ($24 billion) by 2010.

India is on the radar screen in the retail world and global retailers and at their wings seeking entry into the Indian retail market. The market is growing at a steady rate of 11-12 percent and accounts for around 10 percent of the country’s GDP. The inherent attractiveness of this segment lures retail giants and investments are likely to sky rocket with an estimate of Rs 20-25 billion in the next 2-3 years, and over Rs 200 billion by end of 2010. Indian retail market is considered to be the second largest in the world in terms of growth potential.

Contributed by: Abhishek Devpura

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