Locking Horns: Airtel vs Jio

Locking Horns: Airtel vs Jio

PGPM Class of 2019-20 Student Sayali Nadhe, of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about the brewing broadband war between Airtel and Jio

Bharati Airtel Limited, commonly known as Airtel, is an Indian global telecommunication service company and one of the top providers of telecommunication service across Asia, Africa and Channel Islands [1]The company, which was India’s largest operator till a year ago, lost its spot to Reliance Jio which stormed into the telecom sector in September 2016 with its disruptive voice and data offerings [2].

On one hand, we have the worst time for India’s automobile sector and on the other, the telecom sector is set to boom as telecom tower tenancy ratio will increase from 1.95 times in 2016 to 2.9 times by 2020 due to the expansion of 3G, 4G and the onset of 5G technologies [3]. “Data is the new oil” says Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries and Founder of Reliance Jio, who entered the telecom sector with the launch of Reliance Jio, shook up India’s telecom market and grabbed the number one position by revenue within just three years.

PGPM Class of 2019-20 Student Sayali Nadhe, of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about the brewing broadband war between Airtel and Jio

Is Reliance Jio creating a monopoly in the market? Jio aims at creating an entire digital ecosystem, offering services almost in every telecom application. Increasing customer base by providing attractive offers was always their strategy of expansion. Jio’s mega plan, Jio GigaFiber, can disrupt the home internet space just the same way it transformed the mobile internet landscape. It is constantly expanding its customer base by proposing “Welcome Offers” through free subscription to Hotstar, free HD or 4K LED TV and 4K Jio set-top box, and a ‘First Day First Show’ feature expected to be launched by 2020 which would enable premium subscribers to stream new movies on the day of their theatrical release [4].

Jio has triggered a broadband war with other telecom operators, and which Gladiator would turn out to the champion in this war will be decided by no one else but the customers. Consumers are attracted towards cashbacks, free goodies, and convenient services which carry a low switching cost. Jio has indirectly made it inevitable for other operators to come up with new services to increase and retain their customer base.

PGPM Class of 2019-20 Student Sayali Nadhe, of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about the brewing broadband war between Airtel and Jio

Airtel has returned fire by providing new offers in response to Reliance Jio’s disruptive broadband services. Airtel is coming up with the Omni-Channel strategy to entice all types of users from Mobile Services, Direct-to-Home TV to Broadband, with a range of super-premium tariff packs. The operator is tying up all loose ends to beat Reliance Jio’s offerings. For starters, the telco would offer an Android-based Smart Set-Top Box with high-speed broadband, free LED TV, which may also be bundled with various digital plans in ways similar to Jio’s.

From the point of view of coverage, even if Jio has reached a number of rural villages in India, considering data speeds Airtel fares better than Jio. Therefore, Airtel can certainly leverage this capability to target rural areas. A good and stable high-speed internet service can aid seamless access to the internet at home, schools, colleges and business places. This can help Airtel to have an edge over Jio with its sizeable customer base across post-paid mobile, DTH, broadband services, etc. Airtel has also merged with Tata Teleservices to expand their customer base and gain wider access to the 4G spectrum. This deal will again help Airtel to compete with Jio.

Customers now-a-days demand not only high speed data access, but also an uninterrupted service at the lowest price point. Therefore, value-rich tariff plans that would carry its seamless services across wider geographies would aid Airtel in its game plan to attract new customers and retain existing ones, thereby sustaining and improving its revenues and overall growth.

PGPM Class of 2019-20 Student Sayali Nadhe, of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about the brewing broadband war between Airtel and Jio

Written by: Sayali Nadhe

PGPM “Spartan” Class 2020

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Sayali Nadhe of PGPM "Spartans" Batch of 2019-20 at Great Lakes Institute of Management talks about her views on the Broadband War between Airtel and Jio.

Sources:

[1]: https://www.statista.com/topics/4859/airtel/

[2]: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/jio-beats-airtel-voda-idea-to-be-top-telecom-revenue-earner-at-rs-10900-cr-in-june-quarter-4378251.html

[3]: https://www.investindia.gov.in/sector/telecom

[4]: https://www.hindustantimes.com/tech/reliance-jio-gigafiber-commercial-launch-announced-check-details-here/story-z65w6135sU3yiOti2NFJ1O.html

Decoding the Reliance-Aramco Deal

Decoding the Reliance-Aramco Deal

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal.

An investment in Reliance Group, rather the biggest one in its 53-year history, might just result in one of the largest ever foreign investment by any overseas company into India. This investor is none other but Saudi Aramco, which is not only the world’s largest and lowest cost-per-barrel producer of crude oil but also the most profitable company in the world [1]. This company is in talks to invest a handsome amount in the largest private-sector corporation in India.

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM 2019-21 student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal.

The relationship between Saudi Aramco and Reliance Industries has already been a long one, 25 years to be specific. Saudi Aramco has already supplied 2 billion barrels of crude oil for processing at RIL’s refinery at Jamnagar till date. A potential 20% stake in the Oil-to-Chemical division comprising of Refining, Petrochemicals and Fuel Marketing Business of Reliance Industries carries an Enterprise Value of US $75 billion [2]. This deal will also result in Saudi Aramco supplying 5,00,000 barrels of Crude oil per day to Jamnagar refinery on a long-term basis [3].

However, the deal didn’t really have a great start. It fell apart on multiple occasions with Reliance demanding a higher valuation which, indeed, they were able to command with a much higher multiple than industry standards. As a part of the deal, Reliance industries will carve its oil-to-chemicals division and will become an independent entity in 5 years. However, for the first 5 years, Saudi Aramco will not directly own shares in the business division, though it will get a chance to appoint a key business leader, tentatively the COO, to oversee it [4]. Apart from this, Saudi Aramco has been on an acquisition spree and making other major investments in Asia to bolster its presence, building refineries in Indonesia, South Korea, China, and Malaysia.

PGDM student from Class of 2019-21 at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, Surya Jain, talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal.

To put things in perspective, Saudi Arabia’s oil export to the US was ~2,62,053 BPD in July 2019, nearly 62% down from 6,87,946 BPD as compared in August 2018, as a result of the US becoming self-reliant than ever [5]. This has resulted from the US Shale Oil Revolution and has been one of the major reason of OPEC production cut in 2017, resulting in reduced supply to the largest, transparent and timeliest market – The US. At the same time, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie, India will surpass China to become the second-largest oil demand growth center in 2019 remaining only behind the US and helping them offset a slowdown elsewhere through growth in Indian markets [6].

On the backdrop, this deal seems to be a perfect solution for Saudi Aramco to maintain stronghold and grip on the fastest-growing oil market in the world (bolstered by the swelling middle class) where it is facing stiff competition. By competition, we also mean the US, which is ramping up shale exports, and Russia who is looking for new customers and trying to making inroads

Suppliers of Crude Oil to India
Source : Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas

Stepping into Mr. Mukesh Ambani’s shoes and understanding the story from his perspective, the deal will provide Reliance with the much-required cash to de-leverage its balance sheet, bring net debt to zero by March 2021, and fund the Jio and Digital business [7]. This is part of the company’s larger effort to expand its consumer-facing business including its retail chain, and its effort to move into the technology sector and internet services by diversifying from its core oil refining and petrochemical business. This deal seems to be a perfect synergy between the interests of the world’s largest oil producer and the ambitions of one of India’s largest conglomerates.

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM class of 2019-21 student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal and how it would benefit Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate and the world's largest corporation.

Written by: Surya Jain – PGDM “Apache” Class of 2021

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, PGDM class of 2019-21 student Surya Jain talks about his opinions on the Reliance-Aramco deal and how it would benefit Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate and the world's largest corporation.

References

[1]: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/news/the-worlds-most-profitable-company-4984378/

[2]:  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-14/saudis-defending-coveted-indian-oil-market-with-reliance-tie-up

[3]: https://www.vccircle.com/reliance-to-sell-20-stake-in-oil-to-chemicals-business-to-saudi-aramco

[4]: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/oil-gas/ril-to-hive-off-oil-to-chemicals-business-into-separate-company-in-five-years-rils-pms prasad/articleshow/70651943.cms?from=mdr

[5]: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/15/saudi-arabia-dramatically-changing-its-oil-exports-to-china-and-the-us.html

[6]: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/oil-gas/india-to-surpass-china-to-become-2nd-largest-oil-demand-centre-in-2019/articleshow/67641257.cms?from=mdr

[7]: https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/reliance-industries-agm-live-updates-mukesh-ambani-jio-giga-fiber-jio-phone-3-ril-stock-price-reliance-plan-12-aug-2019/1672964/

Change is Good, “I’m Lovin’ It!”

Change is Good, “I’m Lovin’ It!”

Ranjeeta Gupta, PGPM Class of 2020 student at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about a sustainable new strategy for McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

McDonald’s is the world’s largest restaurant chain, with 37,855 restaurants serving over 69 million customers daily in over a hundred countries worldwide [1]. Short time-to-serve, attractive pricing and offers, adapting to local tastes and preferences in different countries, and the traditional McDonald’s Happy Meal have been some of the prominent strategies of the chain that have stood the test of time. They understand the desire of their consumers and keep upgrading and evolving, not just for the consumers but for the benefit of environment as well.

Two British children,aged 7 and 10 have, launched a petition stating that the plastic toys that come with McDonald’s Happy Meal cannot be recycled and often end up being discarded. This petition has already garnered 325,000 petitions [2]. This movement gives a new direction to the firm in a constructive manner. Amidst growing environmental concerns, the fast food chain is also trying to live up to the expectations for minimum or no disturbance to nature. In the past, it has replaced plastic straws and cups with paper ones. Now the focus has shifted towards plastic toys given away by McDonald’s as a part of its Happy Meal packs and its hazardous effect on the environment.

Ranjeeta Gupta, PGPM Class of 2020 student at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about a sustainable new strategy for McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

McDonald’s can now explore new avenues such as “Sweet Edible Toys” of different flavors, which children can enjoy playing with, and would be not only be harmless but also serve as a neat dessert idea after a scrumptious Happy Meal. This would curb the menace of plastic pollution and, at the same time, would entice more kids to ask for a Happy Meal at an outlet. Introducing new variants of these toys with trending animated movie and comic book characters would help the brand and the product build and maintain its clout among its young customers.

Another option they can explore would be personalized happy meal boxes. Young patrons can have their own pictures or personal messages printed on the biodegradable paper boxes used to pack Happy Meals. Binding this with customer-driven social media campaigns for user-generated content can turn out to be a cost-effective marketing strategy and drive more customers to go “I’m Lovin’ It!” Social acceptance and bragging rights are some of the top priorities of the digitally-enabled youth worldwide. Engaging customers in content co-creation would be mutually beneficial for the customers as well as the brand.

The fast-food giant has started taking all possible steps to reduce the harm caused to the environment by its activities. By 2025, McDonald’s plans to use renewable, recyclable and certified materials in all kinds of packaging [3]. “With great power comes great responsibility”, and McDonald’s is very well cognizant of this fact. To survive in the long run, it is imperative for the company to be sensible enough in taking rational decisions which is in-line with the expectation and need of the society as a whole.

Ranjeeta Gupta, PGPM Class of 2020 student at Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon, talks about a sustainable new strategy for McDonald's Happy Meal toys.

Children these days need not always be enticed with physical incentives such as toys and the likes. Proliferation of technology and increase use of personal devices by younger demographics have opened up doorways to new ideas for types of incentives. A brand like McDonald’s can bring about a revolution and transform itself into an environmentally-responsible brand by going eco friendly or by going digital, or both. This is where we would let the creative heads at McDonald’s’ marketing fraternity do the thinking.

Written by: Ranjeeta Gupta – PGPM “Spartan” Class of 2020

Great Lakes Institute of Management, Gurgaon

References:

[1]: https://expandedramblings.com/index.php/mcdonalds-statistics/

[2]: https://www.wsj.com/articles/mcdonalds-happy-meal-toys-caught-in-backlash-over-plastic-11562583605

[3]: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/mcdonalds-packaging-sustainable-cut-renewable-recycling-latte-levy-a8162231.html

Winds of Change: Indian E-Commerce Space

Winds of Change: Indian E-Commerce Space

It has been 5 years since Amazon came to India, loaded with $5 Billion worth of committed investment to establish amongst the then home-grown marketplace, Flipkart and Snapdeal. In no time Amazon expanded its wings. Since its inception in June 2013, Amazon has grown both in terms of scale and brand value. Though it may seem to be a simple strategy,

More Units sold => More Customers => More Brand Value

It hasn’t worked as well for many others; brand value is developed through marketing which is not limited to mere advertisements. It is also to come real on those promises and exceed customer expectations in due course. Instead of just fulfilling the customer needs, Amazon is vying to provide customer delight. It is very difficult to make each customer happy but you can attempt to satisfy your customers by adding value to your offerings at the same price point.

There are various customer-centric steps taken by Amazon. These include quick response Customer care team, average product rating criteria wherein Amazon suspends extremely poor rated products, quick & free delivery for Prime products, add-on purchase features like book delivery or leave with neighbour, the latest subscribe & save deliveries, Amazon Pay convenience, early deal access for Prime members, AZ Guarantee, best in class packaging and that’s not it, add-on value services like Amazon Prime Video, Prime Music, Kindle, Alexa, Prime Now, Fire TV.

These add-on value services & products offered can be divided into 3 categories:

  • Services: 2 day delivery on Prime products, 2-hour deliveries on Amazon Now groceries store, Amazon Pay wallet.
  • Assortment: More depth and width (Merchandising and Assortment), Alexa, Amazon Basics (headphones to office chairs), Solimo, Kindle, firetv stick, Myx, Symbol, 10.or etc.
  • Digital Content: Amazon Prime Video (original domestic content as well), Prime Music.

Amazon’s bouquet of products and services

Many of these benefits and value services are coupled with annual ₹999/- Prime membership. Amazon Prime includes video and music content with additional buying and product delivery based benefits. Amazon has grown beyond the marketplace model; hence, it will be wrong to call it just a marketplace for buying goods. This appears to be the competitive advantage for Amazon’s rapid expansion, which is shrinking space for others in the market. They are playing the cards right through product diversification and this is also visible in their vision and mission statement:

“Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online”

The strategy is right or not, time will tell but Indian E-commerce seems to be in for a new showdown between Amazon and Walmart with Flipkart’s acquisition. With Walmart’s expertise in offline retail and the successful changes it made to its US strategy, Walmart might not stay too far behind for too long. The firm might also utilize Flipkart and its strong ecosystem in India (Myntra, Jabong, PhonePe etc.) to export ideas to the rest of the business offerings.

Just like Amazon, Flipkart has also been developing private label brands such as Roadster, MarQ, Perfect Homes etc. These private label brands can help improve the profitability of these marketplaces in the long run.

When these companies will start looking to move past the revenue growth and towards unit economics, the market will move towards stabilization. However, given the rivalry between these US-based behemoths as well as with other international players such as China’s Alibaba (with its payments subsidiary Alipay holds more than 50% stake in Paytm Mall) this stabilization period might get further delayed.

With a population of 1.3 billion & rising affluence, India is one of the most appealing retail markets currently. As the opportunities for these players are expanding, Indian consumers need to gear up for the upcoming shopping spree offered by these marketplaces. With a bouquet of services aimed at the target segments, Amazon seems to be ahead of the pack. However, for how long will it keep investing & diversifying these services apart from the marketplace could determine the success it is aiming for and how well the other players counter this threat is an interesting development to keep tabs on in this ‘Battle of Giants’.

Author: Shaleen Mishra

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Social Media: Perfect Communication Channel for Startups

Social media has emerged as an integral part of our daily lives. As of April 2018, the active social media users are more than 3.3 billion. This number is staggering and qualifies to be a world in itself. When fabricating a startup, you have to go where your group of onlookers are and engage with them keeping in mind the end goal to develop your business plan. Today, the place to run advertisements is web-based platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and the sky is the limit. These social channels act as a bridge between the individuals and brands. They have turned into a vital component to increase exposure, raise brand mindfulness, create leads and boost client transformation rates. This is particularly critical for startups that are working with little spending plans, in an ever-increasing competitive entrepreneurial market. This information-driven advertising approach helps you direct your focus on individuals rapidly so they can be acquainted with the startup offerings at the click of a mouse. Social media hands over an opportunity of easy access for customers and to get a genuine feedback from its potential client in a shorter traverse of time. We can explore different avenues regarding our internet-based content to catch the essence of the offering among clients of various demographics. In order to integrate social media marketing with other communication channel and to have a competitive edge, startups ought to maximize the online presence by working on an effective social media strategy.

Stitch a plan that works for your need:

Turning to long-range social networking as a method for business advancement doesn’t just mean being available on the web. In actuality, this is a confounded procedure and, accordingly, it requires completing an exhaustive research and building an arrangement that will keep you on course. Startups have to build a strategy that fits well for their business offering. Something that works for one startup would not necessarily work for others. Identify the unique value proposition, the point of parity and disparity of the business with its competitors should be thought out before formulating a road map of implementation.

Target audience segmentation:

To construct a content for your audience, we have to distinguish their identity. Startups need to segment their potential client to get hold of the purchaser persona. By surveying your audience’s experience data such as their occupations, hobbies, interests, training, and additionally, some fundamental statistic factors such as age range, sexual orientation, and wage, could have the capacity to effectively focus on your gathering of people, convey true client experience and stitch deals.

Identify the correct social media marketing channel:

When online networking showcasing plan is figured, a startup needs to distinguish the web-based life stage they have to fabricate their presence. Every internet-based platform is one of a kind in their group of onlookers focusing on and has diverse reasons, new companies need to recognize the channel that fits their need. Focus on the channel that would contact the correct group of onlookers for your business like for B2C business, Facebook and Twitter could be the correct channel however for B2B LinkedIn could be the ideal place.

Learn about your competitors:

Before beginning with social media content creation effort, one should explore their competitors. Begin with distinguishing them by picking the organizations working in the similar space. Consider their advertising technique, content marketing strategy and customize your online presence accordingly. Additionally, keep an eye on the social media campaigns being run by the competitors and work on formulating a marketing strategy to counter the competition.

Knowledge about the end goal:

Make a long-haul objective to be accomplished through social media marketing to accomplish exceptional yield on investment of your time and money. For some producing Facebook likes or Twitter retweets and followers could be the objective yet for others, their frameworks would be centered around creating more prominent activity volume, web referrals, exceptional client target and high conversion rates. Conceptualize about the objective and plan of your road ahead customized to achieve the final goal.

Focus on content creation:

Content is the core of social media advertising. The more engaging and slanting substance one can make, more would be the traffic volume. Substance ought to be influenced creative to connect with the gathering of people to make the buzz about the contributions and to influence them to share content over various profiles. Additionally, content should be in sync with the motto of the startup and should highlight the unique selling proposition about the offerings. They should make utilization of the most recent happenings and inclining points and draw in the crowd by associating the substance with it.

Real-time feedback tracking:

The most ideal approach to benefit as much as possible from your web-based presence is to gather moment criticism by checking your clients’ exchanges. Along these lines, you will have the capacity to discover how your intended interest group feels about your product and utilize the opinions valuable to enhance your approach. In particular, internet-based life enables you to furnish your customers with the continuous service and immediate feedback. On the other hand, you can likewise screen the audience’s feelings about your latest released product and recognize any potential client encounter issues and settle them on time.

Happy Marketing!

Author: Kumar Shreesh

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Changing Consumer Trends: Resource Pooling

With the dawn of modern ages and increased consumerism, there has been a major shift in customer attitudes. The buyer of today is more prudent and very avaricious when it comes to spending, majorly in the case of high involvement goods and services. He asks a million questions before engaging in any transaction, not because he is a Scrooge, but because he has knowledge.

Coupled with his sagacious attitude are the changing demographics and household patterns. The traditional Indian household included husband, wife and their children, but with the rising incomes and job opportunities, there has been a rise in the “DINKS”-Double Income No Kids. This generation is more independent and expedient in utilizing its resources in an effective manner so as to save for their lavish future.

The above phenomenon has given rise to a new trend, i.e. the use of “pooled resources”. The millennials have been dextrous enough in planning their daily as well as monthly expenditures. Take the case of Uber pool or Ola Share which have been affiliated as the prime source of revenue for the cab aggregator. This was a boon for the youngsters who were able to save huge costs on a day to day basis for commutation. Ola reports “Ola Share” to be its prime source of revenue. The prime competitor Uber was forced to launch “Uber Pool” given its losing market share, because of the monopoly Ola had created given its Share services. Airbnb which allows people to rent their properties for a short-term accommodation has also seen a rapid rise in its growth in India in the past years. Be it your holiday in Goa or a short trip to any metro city, Airbnb is an excellent option which people swear by.

Nestaway, a platform that allows bachelors to rent fully furnished flats on a sharing basis is also a glorious example. It saves you the hassles of hefty deposits, landlord restrictions and provides you with ease of payment. It has also ventured into providing homes for families. Brands have been emulating the trend and some have been instrumental in shaping their value proposition to serve customer needs. For example, Netflix which allows multiple users to share a single account. The customer base for Netflix ranges from teenagers to middle-aged men and women. They have been overwhelmed by the pooled subscription policy brought about by Netflix and this has helped the brand to gain momentum in the Indian market. Falling in the same line are the mammoth telecom operators which provide family pack tariffs and the credit card companies that offer cards which can be tailored to be used by the entire family.

A newly emerging trend is that of “bicycle renting” which can be seen in some cities of India. With the rising awareness about their health and well-being, people are quite impressed by this latest bearing.  With major entrants like OFO and PEDL making their way into the Indian market, customers can rent a bike at dearth cheap prices on an hourly basis. This saves them the cost of investing 2 -6 grand on a new bicycle and the guilt of not using it in future.

To conclude, the trends portray that consumers are getting more and more inclined towards renting or pooling resources rather than investing huge sums of money on them. From shared cab services and shared accommodations to renting furniture and pooling Netflix accounts, the consumers are making the decision of not purchasing but rather, sharing. Understanding the needs of this new generation of consumers, the brands are cashing in on the opportunities which have been a result of the changing demographics and consumption patterns of the millennials and brought in really innovative and valuable product and service offerings.

Author: Bhawna Ahuja

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

Vicks – Generations of Care: Marketing beyond Product Promotion

#TouchOfCare: On March 29th, 2017, a new video advertisement promoting the Vicks brand created a sensation by striking the most sensitive nerve of the Indian population. Created by Publicis Singapore, the video, spanning 3 and a half minutes, tells the story of a young girl Gayatri who is on her way to boarding school. 10 years ago, Gayatri lost her mother to a life-threatening disease and was later adopted by Gauri Sawant. Being thrown out of the house at the age of 18, Gauri has seen her own share of struggles in life before she met Gayatri. Gauri raised Gayatri as her own child, pampering and looking after her all along. Gayatri recalls a memory of being ill and Gauri using Vicks to treat her and spending the night by her side. In a span of 10 years, the two grew closer to each other, surpassing the mother-daughter relationship and becoming best friends. Gauri wants Gayatri to become a doctor. But Gayatri aspires to become a lawyer, for her mother Gauri, a transgender woman.

The ad has received 10 million views on YouTube and has been one of the most touching ads to go viral in recent times. This video has been a part of numerous “Try not to cry” challenges as well. A guaranteed tear-jerker for most who have watched it, the video still continues to be shared on social media more than a year after it was released.

Vicks as a Brand: For generations, Vicks has been a part of nearly every household around the world. It’s an easily available over-the-counter medicine for mild fevers, cold and cough. Vicks VapoRub ointment, along with other products under the brand, basks in the glory of a 96.5 market share in the “VapoRub” segment. What began as an innovative new home remedy christened Vick’s Magic Croup Salve in 1905, by pharmacist Lunsford Richardson and Dr. Joshua Vick, was later rebranded as Vicks VapoRub in 1912. In 1985, American multi-national consumer products manufacturer Procter and Gamble Co. bought the Vicks brand and has been manufacturing and distributing its products worldwide. Vicks VapoRub can be found among the common medicines in a large number of households and even in travel kits of people all around the world.

The Evolution of Vicks VapoRub

“Mother”: With a brand image and a market share as immense as it has, why Vicks need to invest in such an emotionally charged advertisement to grab the attention of the masses? The answer lies in the very heart of Indian values and culture. In a typical Indian family, the father is the head of the family, following a patriarchal family system for centuries. But it’s the mother who breathes life into the family. A mother is someone who has borne intense pain to give birth to her children and raise them. And she continues to do so for the rest of her life even after her children have grown up and are capable of taking care of themselves. She spends sleepless nights when one of her children falls ill. Right from working and earning to doing household chores like cooking, a mother always does everything keeping her children in mind. For a majority of children in India, as well as a fair share of adults, there’s no worry in the world that a mother’s touch and soothing words cannot cure. Through this ad, Vicks and Publicis Singapore emphasize this very sentiment which has been the cornerstone of Indian families for ages. And Vicks VapoRub has been one of the instruments of motherly love as most Indians have a memory of falling ill and their mothers applying Vicks VapoRub on their chest, nose and foreheads before they drift off into a peaceful sleep for the night. And the ad reinforces this role that the product plays. But the story does not end there.

Discrimination against Transgender Women: India has a population of roughly 4.9 lakh transgender women. Discrimination against them is on the rise. Every day, they are subject to harassment in public, often even of a sexual nature. They are despised and looked down on by “normal” people as an abomination. There have been cases of doctors refusing to examine transgender women or trying to molest them during an examination. Humiliation has become a daily routine in their lives. In recent times, a number of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Institutions such as Sahodari Foundation and The Transgender Welfare Society have taken the bold initiative to stand up for transgender rights and welfare. But a lot more needs to be done so that the discrimination is curbed and transgender women are treated and respected as a member of the society that we all are a part of.

Marketing beyond Product Promotion: With subtle product placement in the video, the Vicks VapoRub ad calls the attention of the vast Indian society towards the concerns of the neglected and harassed transgender women of India. It showcases the capability and calibre of such a woman in raising and taking care of a girl child all by herself through the true story of Gauri Sawant and her daughter Gayatri. The adoption law makes it difficult for a single man or a woman to adopt a child. And it makes it much more difficult for a transgender woman to do so, owing to societal norms and taboos. Gauri Sawant sets an example by fighting all odds in making the right choices in life with pride.

Watch the heart-touching video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zeeVEKaDLM

Author: Bruno Nellissery

PGPM, Class of 2019, Great Lakes, Gurgaon