Videocon: Change is on-air

By Abhishek Chanda , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | July 06, 2009
One of India's largest home-grown companies, Videocon has had an image makeover that portrays it in a more modern light

Videocon Group, the Rs 5,000-crore conglomerate, has embraced a new brand identity. The brand has shed its solid steel 'V' for a more fluid, lava like 'V', coupled with a new proposition - 'Experience change'.

Prior to this, the brand has banked on other propositions, such as 'Technology for health and pleasure', 'Bring Home the Leader', 'New Improved Life', 'The Indian Multinational', 'Whatever role life gives you, play it big', as well as the most recent one, 'Eco Logic for sustainable life'.

& #BANNER1 & #The company unveiled its new tagline recently, at an event promoting the 2009 chapter of the IIFA awards. The new logo was unveiled in San Francisco, by the Videocon brand ambassador, Shah Rukh Khan.

From static to flexible

Conceived by Interbrand, Singapore, the 'V' in the new logo is representative of the new identity of the brand - an identity that is fresh, dynamic, and has been provided a life of its own. The new 'V' is composed of two animated green, lava-like shapes called Chouw and Mouw, both of which have distinct identities.

Chouw and Mouw are 'live' characters, and will be used through a series of short videos to tell simple stories, each depicting a positive dimension of Videocon's new tagline, 'Experience Change'.

Both have certain personality traits, based on their physical attributes. The bigger one, Chouw, is slow but earnest; strong and silent; he is patient, good natured, kind, and maybe a little romantic too. The smaller one, Mouw, is quick witted, energetic bordering on restless, curious, and funny.

Physically, they can coerce their bodies into rudimentary shapes that help them to get on with tasks at hand. The colour palette has been chosen to reflect the philosophy of the Videocon Group, that is, the green colour is symbolic of the company's ecology drive.

Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman, McCann Erickson India, and regional executive creative director, Asia Pacific, McCann Erickson, says, "The task at hand was challenging, keeping in mind the brand equity and recall Videocon already enjoys. So, keeping in mind that the brand was getting into new age categories, it was decided to get rid of the static nature of the brand and getting it to move on. Hence, the new identity will bring energy into the brand."

Joshi, along with Vineet Mahajan, senior creative director, led the team from T.A.G., McCann Worldgroup's second agency, which was recently handed over the duties for the brand.

As far as the characters are concerned, Joshi maintains that they will help to create buzz and visibility around the transformation and establish the new logo in the consumer's mind effectively.

What prompted the change?

The brand, which has been in existence for more than two decades, has managed a fair share in the entry/middle product segment. It is perceived as a brand for the Indian middle class -- no frills, no glamour, simple, reliable and hassle-free.

However, in the high-end products segment, Videocon is way behind Samsung and LG. For example, it does well in the conventional CTV category but not in the LCD category. Again, while the window air-conditioner category is doing well, not much is happening for the brand in the split air-conditioner category.

With the present generation of consumers moving fast towards the premium segment, even for their first buys, the brand is not being seen as the preferred one. As a result, it is not able to cash in on the high growing segment, which is the premium category of products.

This prompted Videocon to opt for a change. It has decided to focus on the premium segment and would now diversify into other related high-growth categories with the launch of its mobile services, handsets business and IDTV/D2H (in-built set-top box with single remote). Videocon expects to double its turnover in the next couple of years, and a large part of the increase is expected to come from these high-growth segments.

The brand will also be positioned to make a connect with the hearts and minds of young-at-heart consumers.

Adds, K R Kim, vice-chairman and CEO, Videocon Group, in a communiqué, "The rationale behind Videocon's brand evolution comes from our constant endeavour to listen and respond to the changing market dynamics in India and overseas."

Executing the change

The re-branding comes after a major review of the brand's advertising and media planning and buying duties. The group had put up the account, estimated to be in the region of Rs 200 crore, for a pitch. For the media duties, it appointed ZenithOptimedia.

The creative duties for its consumer electronics and appliances business went to T.A.G. Videocon's five group brands -- Sansui, Electrolux, Akai, Hyundai and Kelvinator -- as well as Kenstar, were awarded to Saatchi & Saatchi. Other than that, among the brand's new verticals, its DTH venture, D2H+, is with Publicis Ambience; while the telecom venture, Datacom Solutions, is with T.A.G.

To communicate the change in identity, the brand will engage in strong marketing initiatives and promotional campaigns across all the media, including print, electronic, radio and various BTL and on-ground activities, marketing collaterals and visual merchandising.

The present campaign that announces the change comprises five TVCs, of which one is already on-air. Each commercial is a short story of someone in need of help. Chouw and Mouw come to the rescue and spread happiness and joy through their charm, kindness and efforts.

Joshi adds that apart from this, digital, outdoor and sponsored events are also being used, while the Chouw-Mouw jingle will be leveraged for radio. The present endorser of the brand, Shah Rukh Khan might take a backseat, while Chouw and Mouw create the buzz.

Anybody changing?

Demographically, the Indian consumer is getting younger -- it is predicted that by 2010, half of the country's population will be below the age of 25. Godrej, the 112-year-old consumer durable major identified this in 2008, when it went for a makeover. Though its typography and logo remained the same, a few colours were added to the logo to make it look more vibrant. Godrej had also relied on Interbrands for its makeover duties.

Brand consultants believe that legacy brands have to constantly reinvent themselves to be relevant to their consumers. Their positioning should be such that they are equally aspirational to the next three generations, as they are to those generations that grew up using the brand.

Jagdeep Kapoor, chairman and managing director, Samsika Marketing Consultants says that the 'Videocon Washing Machines...' jingle still runs at the back of his mind, while he glances through the new campaign and logo. According to him, there can be three situations when a brand goes for a makeover -- mergers and acquisitions; the brand not performing well or just putting some new clothes on. For Videocon, he feels it could have been a fear of a disconnect between the brand and the consumer.

"The brand has changed its positioning quite a few times. Now, with the old Videocon jingle and the previous Shah Rukh Khan adverts, coupled with the new green logo, I feel a bit confused; the consumer might feel confused too. And if the consmer is confused, the brand is refused," he remarks. However, he likes the idea of the two new characters to spread the brand message.

However, what with Vodafone's Zoozoos and Virgin's unique characters, the success rate of Chouw-Mouw is being doubted by some. The characters may also end up as a 'me-too' phenomenon, especially since all three brands are present in the telecom space.

Sudhir Sharma, independent brand consultant and designer, talks about the logo and typography: "I found the lava-logo to be rather weak and not very pleasant and graphic, though the typography was done quite nicely, keeping in mind appliance brands."

According to him, the consumer will be looking more at the service and quality, rather than the logo colour or fonts. So, given the fact that Videocon is marching towards newer categories such as DTH and mobiles, the change will marry well with the concept.

However, keeping in mind the brand has existed for quite some time now, it would be disastrous if the consumer has had any bad experiences previously with, say, its washing machines or conventional CTVs, which will, in turn, put him off the newer line-up of products as well. "Unlike most PSU banks, which change their logos and identity from outside and offer the same sloppy service inside, Videocon has to offer the consumer something truly rewarding and fresh," he says.

However, unlike Godrej, he feels that Videocon's transformation is quite visible, especially with the two new characters.