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B&L eyes more users with contact lens campaign

Our Bureau

CHENNAI, Sept. 25

BAUSCH & Lomb Eyecare (I) Pvt Ltd has launched its biggest-ever marketing campaign in the country. Called `Confidence, Contacts & Me', the campaign will run in the press and radio across 1,500 outlets in 70 cities across the country.

Speaking to Business Line here, Mr Rajat Goel, Marketing Manager, B&L, said the company was also stepping up its marketing efforts for its colour contact lenses as part of this campaign.

The company has chosen Sohini Jaitly, a college student from Mumbai, as its Face of the Year. She will model for the `Colors - Scandaleyes' campaign and participate in the company's awareness programmes at schools and colleges. FCB Ulka, Delhi, is the advertising agency.

The company's market research had found that contact lenses offered not only comfort and convenience but increased confidence levels too.

"Confidence is my signature," said one of the respondents, a quote which is reflected in the styling of the ad campaign.

Mr Goel said that the market for contact lenses was growing by 15-20 per cent every year, a rate that is expected to sustain over the next three years.

The fastest growing segment within this category was the monthly disposable lens. B & L offers conventional contact lenses which can be disposed after a year of use, and those which can be disposed after three months or one month of use.

The penetration of contact lens was 14 per cent, Mr Goel said, adding that when B & L entered India in 1992, there were only 1.2 lakh users as against over seven lakh users now. In value terms, this worked out to a Rs 60-crore market, of which B & L claims a two-thirds share.

About six per cent of the seven lakh users use colour lenses, which is a rapidly growing category, Mr Goel said, pointing out that they were introduced only about three years ago. That they could be bought for as low as Rs 1,000 for 30 wears was a factor driving growth. B & L's market is the age group 15-35 years in the top 70 SEC A and B cities. Its competitors include Johnson & Johnson, Cibavision, Allergan and Silklens.

The campaign involves a scratch card offer, the grand prize being a free pair of colour lenses. Friendship bands are also being given as gifts with every purchase of soft contact lenses.

B & L also does a lot of direct marketing and awareness programmes at schools and colleges across the country. Apart from screening students, it has also trained teachers from schools to detect problems of vision. The company also has a Fresh Vision Club through which it keeps in touch with its contact lens users. There are about 50,000 members who get newsletters and information and also use the Web site called freshvisionclub.com. The company will also extend its Face of the Year contest to seven or eight cities other than Mumbai, and including Chennai, from next year.

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