Essar Group's telecom retailing venture, The Mobile Store, surely aren't big fans of the concept of target segmentation. Top honchos at The Mobile Store have been shouting from the rooftops about the store's positioning ever since its launch in March 2007 - that of a format meant for the masses because it offers authentic mobile phones and accessories at dirt-cheap prices. And this premise seems to have worked quite well for the brand so far, as even the common man can now avail of various discounts and opportunities in our mobile hungry market.
Therefore, it comes as a surprise when The Mobile Store reveals its promotional tie-up with Rolls Royce, a car renowned the world over. As per this association, titled 'Rock with Rolls', The Mobile Store has purchased a Rolls Royce and branded it all over with the store's logo and colours. To catch eyeballs, this branded car will move from one Indian town to another for an entire year in a predefined route. It will steer its way through 11 cities to begin with, giving consumers a touch and feel experience of The Mobile Store. The idea is to give as many people as possible a free ride in the car, to get them to experience the car and, thereby, get a glimpse of the retail brand.
Globally, the Rolls Royce stands for values such as aristocracy, aspiration, class and luxury - a royal experience, so to speak. Then why is a mass brand like The Mobile Store riding on a car that stands for luxury?
"Well, we're bringing the classes to the masses," comes the predictable answer from Rajiv Agarwal, CEO and director, Essar Telecom Retail. His theory is that as regular people sit in the car, they will feel 'aspired' enough to interact with the retail brand as well. Further, as the car travels from one town to another, the brand will also gain visibility. "After all, a store can't travel, so we thought of introducing this 'brand on the move' concept," concludes Agarwal, not the least worried about the car making a larger dent in people's minds than the retail brand. It will be interesting to see whether this 'classes and masses' blend results in a palatable recipe for The Mobile Store, or in indigestion for regular consumers.
For the record, Essar Telecom Retail plans to set up more than 2,500 stores in the next three years. McCann Erickson is the agency on the account.