Caprese transits form niche to mass

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | November 26, 2014
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Caprese, handbag brand from VIP Industries, releases a multi-media ad campaign featuring Alia Bhatt. The aim is to reach out to a larger consumer base and re-position itself - from a niche high-fashion brand to a mass lifestyle brand. The marketing budget is Rs 15 crore.

Caprese, the premium ladies handbag brand from VIP Industries, is a relatively new player in its space, one dominated by established names like Hidesign, Baggit, Lavie and DaMilano. Caprese also competes with a plethora of brands that constitute the un-organised handbag segment in India.

Caprese Girl campaign

Caprese Print Campaign for Autumn-Winter Collection 2014

Sudip Ghose

KB Vinod

Launched in 2012 as a mid-luxury brand, Caprese has undergone a shift in its positioning - from hi-fashion to lifestyle. To mark the development, and promote its autumn-winter collection, the company has released a campaign featuring actor Alia Bhatt. The campaign calls her 'The Caprese Girl'.

The objective of the marketing effort is to reach a wider consumer base and go beyond what the team calls "a niche, fashionable audience". To this end, Caprese, which was launched at a price point of Rs 2,500, will now include products priced between Rs 1,000 and 1,500 too.

However, the team is keen make the transition without losing its "international essence". And sure enough, the campaign has been shot in Europe's public piazzas.

The campaign has been executed under the expertise of KB Vinod, managing partner, Company, an advertising agency.

Why did the brand feel the need for this sort of re-positioning? According to Sudip Ghose, vice president, marketing, VIP Industries, Indian consumers understand lifestyle far better than they do hi-fashion.

The size of the ladies handbag market in India is estimated to be around Rs 2,500 crore. The segment is projected to grow by 15 per cent per year, to reach the Rs 4,000 crore-mark over the next five years. The key growth drivers for brands in the segment include - an increasing number of working women, their rising incomes, increasing fashion-consciousness and aspiration levels, and influx of foreign brands.

"Within the ladies handbag segment, products like clutches and money bags are cheaper than hobos or satchels," Ghose says.

The company is targeting consumers between the 15-45 years age bracket - ladies who're looking for handbags that have an international design, but are not exorbitantly priced.

Caprese handbags are being retailed at departmental stores across 22 cities, including leading names such as Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle and Pantaloons, among several other chains.

"We have also opened a store at Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai," informs Ghose, adding that the company plans to spend Rs 15 crore to market the brand across media channels, including TV, print, radio and social media. Interestingly, Ghose and team are also looking to offer some of the merchandise exclusively on e-commerce platforms.

"The Caprese girl is an ambassador of good taste, elegance and a good life. Hopefully, she'll define fashion for the girl next door," says Vinod.

Established in 1971, VIP Industries is a leading luggage manufacturer with presence across India, the UK, USA, Germany, Spain, Italy, West Asia and few African and South East Asian countries. Brands from the company include VIP, Carlton, Skybags, Caprese, Alfa and Aristocrat. During the financial year 2013-14, the company registered a 16 per cent growth in revenue.

Bagged it?

The general sense is - Alia Bhatt's girlish charm coupled with the nation's obsession with following Bollywood trends will work well for Caprese.

Sharat Kuttikat

Karan Rawat

Jagdeep Kapoor

Sharat Kuttikat, senior creative director, DDB Mudra West, feels the film is "well-shot," and that the products being advertised stand out like they ought to.

"The film establishes Caprese as a must-have fashion accessory for the TG it speaks to," he notes.

For Karan Rawat, founder and executive creative director, AutumnWinter Communications & Design, an advertising agency-cum-production house, the brand could have done a better job with the tagline; 'I am a Caprese Girl' doesn't quite cut it, he feels. The line reminds Rawat of 'I'm a Barbie girl'... not entirely a bad thing, he concedes, nevertheless.

Alia Bhatt, to him, is "poor man's Sonam Kapoor," and is hence the ideal ambassador if the TG comprises the masses.

"Strategically, it's a good move," he adds, referring to the brand's previous ads that exuded a sense of "absolute luxury".

"The middle class (mass) segment," he agrees, "offers more of a business opportunity," for Caprese.

Jagdeep Kapoor, chairman and managing director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, a brand marketing consultancy, believes Bhatt brings "freshness" and some much needed "relatability" to the brand.

However, he asserts that to 'scale up' a brand, whether Indian or international, the presence of a celebrity is not required. Instead, he suggests working towards establishing "harmony between the brand's on-air presence and its on-ground visibility."

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