Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Feb 08, 2002
Agri-Biz & Commodities - Oilseeds & Edible Oil
Folk art to help Parachute in rural Bengal, Orissa
Ambar Singh Roy
KOLKATA, Feb. 7
THIS is a marketing strategy with a difference one that seeks to address the cultural sensitivities of a section of people and has its origin in a hoary past. In West Bengal, what better way can there be than entering into a partnership with local agencies to promote jatras open-air folk theatres in rural areas.
Indeed, Marico Industries Ltd, which accounts for about 45 per cent of the country's branded pure coconut oil market, has tied up with a local agency to bring jatra to the people across the State. The idea is part of its strategy to achieve increased sales of its Parachute Uttam brand of coconut oil in rural regions of West Bengal and Orissa along with other promotions.
The brand repositioning exercise, in this initiative, is focussed on the growing rural market segment. At present, although Marico's Parachute Uttam finds a place in 12 lakh households in West Bengal and Orissa, it lags behind competitor, Shalimar, in non-urban areas of West Bengal.
While Parachute Uttam commands a 44.7 per cent share of the market for pure coconut oil in Kolkata, elsewhere in the State it has a 19.5 per cent share where Shalimar is the leader.
Nationally, variants of Parachute coconut oil account for about 45 per cent of the domestic market for pure cocunut oil followed by popular brands such as Shalimar and Nihar at around 20 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively.
Mr Ashish Bhargava, Parachute's Brand Manager, says the jatra partnership initiative is expected to facilitate an increase in Parachute's market presence in rural West Bengal. The brand would `partner' in about 65 jatra shows in the State between now and the onset of the monsoon. Partnership in each of them would cost the company anywhere between Rs 25,000 and Rs 65,000 depending upon the troupes that are hired.
According to Mr Bhargava, jatras are a very powerful medium of communication in rural Bengal. "We hope to leverage on this to reach out to the masses.''
In Orissa, the promotion would be more focussed on vans and video-on-wheels.
The Parachute Uttam brand was launched in 1995 specifically for markets in West Bengal and Orissa. The latest marketing initiative is aimed at repositioning the brand as one that finds favour among `progressive beauties'.
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