Advertising, BRAND

Youth Brands Report Card, FY 11 – 12

For anybody in business, it’s that time of the year when you look at your rear view mirror, hoping you find in it, your competition and a coupla accolades. Additional certainty that the boot is stuffed with enough cash to fuel your onward journey doesn’t hurt either.

At the beginning of  FY 12-13, we look back at the performance of some of the important youth brands in India from the year gone by. We attempt to rank them basis their marketing performance and how it has resulted in them making inroads into the minds of the young.

We list 8 of them, each from a different industry but all targeting young people in one way or another and with reasonable success. Reasonable enough for us to analyse.

Rank#8 – Volkswagen

After being extremely aggressive in 10-11, Volkswagen reduced its intesity last fiscal, focussing more on the last mile.

Apart from the  intelligent Fly Boy commercial there isnt much fresh that has come around from the German car maker’s stable,

Having said that, their competitors have been worse of.

The blue route has been persisted with and people are beginning to make the association. However, this CSR driven communication seems unnecessary  at this point.

It has also bought into the expensive IPL in a big way releasing IPL editions of its models.

However, if its latest IPL campaign is anything to go by, they’ll be dumbing down their campaigns and go  more mass instead of their current urban achiever positioning.

Rank #7 – Pepsi

One would think that after the magnificent success of Pepsi Change the Game culminating in India winning the Cricket world Cup last fiscal they would try milking it.

Instead, and the house is divided on this one, Pepsi chose to be brave and change the game literally, to football.The follow up during the IPL, the first marquee television event of this FY is merely a sales push though, so it seems tactical. Therefore Pepsi hasn’t translated its advantage from the year before into the fiscal past . It is still brave and younger than Coca Cola who had a disastrous diwali campaign but an above average peace campaign “Umido waali dhup”.

Pepsi’s past warrants it being much higher in the list, but its recent form pushes its ranking low.

Rank #6 – Indigo

Indigo has persisted with communication on its ontime performance. With a smart, cool indigo and white look to they exude a certain sense of old fashioned dependability, which isnt lost on the youth. One wouldnt associate such slickness with a youth brand, however it finds itself in this list as it puts the right ticks against the right boxes for the industry. For those young  folks who cannot afford Jet Airways, there is absolutely no shame in travelling low cost, high value Indigo.

It’s broadway musical commercial was probably a bit over the top, but it did make a statement that they were gearing up to be an aspirational brand as they go international.

However, there most noticeable media was OOHs where they did the tough task of keeping it simple by communication just one idea/board crisply:

Overall Indigo is probably the biggest overachiever of the previous season, especially with Kingfisher suffering the fate it has.

Rank #5 – Reebok

 At a time when one thought the brand had diluted equity in an attempt to aggressively sell in the Indian market, it has taken steps to be aspirational amongst the youth again. Noticeable in its media buying is  the OOH innovation.

Strong promotion of its Reezig and Reetone ranges have committed Reebok to the fitness plank. Bringing its globally successful Crossfit association, Reebok is attempting to becoming top of the mind sports brand amongst a growing number of fitness concious young folks around the country. For the coming year, Reebok is fitter than ever.

Rank #4 – Flipkart.com 

No Kidding, No worries

Refreshing use of young kids as adults, event associations such as those with Comic Con. Most importantly living upto its service agreements has ensured that Flipkart is fast becoming India’s prefered e commerce portal. In the face of an ecom boom where every second entrepreneurial venture sells something online, Flipkart will have to stay on its toes to fend of specialists and vanguards such as ebay and Amazon

Flipkart’s first campaign is a massive hit tho, testimony to which is the reaction from ebay, who have launched thier own aggressive campaign.

This marketing war will be an exciting one to witness as even ebay’s first punch (HOW TO..) isn’t flimsy or awkward. It’s equally quirky and spells out the value prop quite clearly amongst it’s young audience.

Rank #3 – Samsung 

Nimble footed global adoption of the Android OS, Samsung is quick moving towards leadership position. Even in India it is the #1 Android based phone brand.

In addition it has made the “smart” positioning its very own, both at retail and ATL

Low cost of entry into the Android OS and the brand equity of the parent brand,  a trusted Consumer Goods player in India for years has benefited Samsung immensely. Last fiscal, more than ever Samsung leveraged this advantage and has been quick to release new products at different price points, biting into significant share of the market while Nokia bided its time on what position it wants to acquire in the future. However, Nokia with its well reviewed range of Lumia Smartphones will be a threat again and 12-13 must test the endurance of Samsung as it will feel the heat from all quarters.

Rank #2 – Fastrack

Continuing its great work from the Move On campaign (released in 10’-11′), Fastrack came out with peculiar rationales as to why the world indeed moved on. Persisting with Genilia and Kohli as their young ambassadors Fastrack connected with the young via naughty connotations to their ads.

These are brand ads where they demonstrate a range of their products but most importantly a personality that is vivacious. Just one critique, the hand break and the auto pilot cause duplication

Rank #1  – AIRTEL 

Over a year back, Airtel executed a confused yet efficient re-branding exercise. This was the time it had shifted focus to its Africa ambition, one only with a Chinese parallel. It was all too clear that another leader was spreading itself too thin and might break in the face of heating competition.

Until, the year past when it came up with perhaps the most successful youth campaign of the year and reestablished itself not only as the #1 telecom player but also a serious contender as the top youth brand.

Har Ek Friend Zaroori hota hai struck a chord with youth across the country and as a concept was extremely scalable and relevant. Be it pushing their association with F1 or launching Airtel Money.

Overall it was a great year in advertising as it threw up some unlikely winners reflecting the adventure and optimism in the Indian market. These are encouraging signs as the control is with the young consumer, the ADHDed. Brands will have to take some chances and understand the youth better.

It will also call for entrepreneurial ambition in and around corporate India as new products have enough early adopters if developed and launched well. The fact that names like Vodafone, Docomo, Appy Fizz,Nokia, Micromax, Thumbs Up, Sprite, Dairly milk dont find a mention in this list is because competition is tough and youthcentricity is essential to attach a #Rank adjacent to your names.

Cheers to the year past and exciting times that lay ahead.



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