ITC has earmarked an advertising budget of Rs 3 crore for the current year to promote Expressions, the greeting cards brand it launched last year. The first phase of the advertising campaign broke earlier this month. With Valentines Day round the corner, the first series of 'Expressions' ads reads 'If its in your heart, its on the cards'.
Currently, the ads are being released in all the national dailies. The company also plans to advertise on television and other media in future. "Expression is positioned as an up-market product, though the cards are available at very competitive prices," says Subhash Kamath, senior vice-president, Grey Worldwide (India), the agency servicing the account. They are available in all the major cities including New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
The company has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to distribute Expressions. It would be sold through exclusive stores, franchisee outlets, large card shops like Satyam, near Churchgate in Mumbai, and Giggles in Kolkata etc.
So, how is Expressions going to be different from Archies or Hallmark greeting cards? Kamath explains, "Expressions has a vast range - from elegant to witty, heart-warming to wacky, emotional to astral. So whatever be the relationship / occasion, you are sure to find a card that says exactly what you mean. The ads have been designed by some of the best creative minds and the paper quality is superior than others."
The size of the organised market for greeting cards is estimated at Rs 300 to Rs 350 crore. Just two big players, Archies with 62 per cent market share, and Hallmark, with about 32 per cent, command close to 95 per cent of the market. According to an industry source, "The greeting cards market, which is growing at 15 per cent, is still at a very nascent stage. Seen against the backdrop of the recent ban on tobacco advertising, Gold Flake's entry in this market appears to be a clever marketing ploy to keep the brand top of mind. The gold-and-red logo saying Expressions hold the unmistakable Gold Flake charm."
He cites the example of other ITC brands that have taken the same route, like Wills, which has been extended to apparels and accessories, and Classic, which is into sponsorship of big-ticket sports events like golf and polo.
Dismissing this speculation, Kamath says, "Gold Flake decided to enter this segment because ITC owns a paper mill and has easy access to very good quality paper. This is just a logical extension."
Whatever be the reason, with ITC getting ready to flex its muscles in greetings cards, the market will definitely see some real action, real soon.
© 2001 agencyfaqs!