Newsmakers of 2014: Brands In The News

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | January 15, 2015
A round up of the brands that made news in 2014.

Newsmakers of 2014: Brands In The News



In the news because: The company got fresh funding and managed to triple its valuation in a year

Digging In Deep: It took Zomato, launched by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, six years to peak. Breaking even in 2010, the online restaurant locator recently closed a $60 million (Rs 371 crore) round of funding from Info Edge (India) and Vy Capital, with participation from Sequoia Capital. This took Zomato's total funding to over $113 million and valuation to $660 million (around Rs 4,000 crore).

The company provides detailed information, menus and photos for over 300,000 restaurants. Recently, it acquired four companies - MenuMania in New Zealand, Lunchtime in the Czech Republic, Obedovat in Slovakia, and Gastronauci in Poland - to establish its presence in 16 countries. Headquartered in New Delhi, Zomato began as a menu card scanning service in India, sending people out to collect menus from restaurants and then scanning them using OCR.

In 2013-14, Zomato reported revenues of Rs 31 crore. This year, with several international expansions, the company hopes to triple its revenue to around Rs 90 crore. The money comes through advertisements.

In late October, the brand unveiled a new logo and revamped its website.


Amazon Kindle

In the news because: The brand challenged traditional reading habits through the first mass media campaign for India

Reading Light: Amazon Kindle launched its first mass media campaign this year (it came into the country in 2013). Introducing the Paperwhite, Amazon tried to pull hardcover and paperback readers into reading on a Kindle. The campaign named 'Celebrating the Joy of Reading' showed how the Kindle Paperwhite could be a handy e-reader everywhere.

The film focuses on a traveller who reads on his Kindle. As the film progresses, it showcases features like the in-built backlight, the long hours of battery backup, the ease of use and portability as well as the option of buying ebooks online, integrating it subtly within the film's storyline. The message? Reading on a Kindle is as good as reading a book.

Amazon launched the basic Kindle in India in late 2012 through Chroma retail stores. In June, 2013, it launched the Kindle Paperwhite and Fire - the world's largest-selling ebook readers - online on This year, along with the campaign, the brand also launched new features like Word Wise, Kindle FreeTime Unlimited and deeper Goodreads integration on the updated Kindle. It also launched a touch version, which is small and light with more battery life, faster processor and twice the storage.

Recognising the Indian sense for drama, its first mass media campaign moved away from the regular campaigns abroad, which are usually more informative and focus on the no-glare feature of the new Kindles. This one revolved around a story with the Kindle playing a character in the film. The film received over a million views online in two weeks. This also marked the first time in India that Amazon had advertised for a product and not for the platform.



In the news because: The Chinese smartphone brand took India by storm using its unique flash-sales business model

Going, Going, Gone...: The privately owned Chinese electronic company, Xiaomi, entered India in July this year with its flagship MI phone and other products pitching it against the market leader Samsung Electronics. The first phase saw the launch of the very successful MI3, Redmi and Redmi tablet.

The MI3 was launched at a price of Rs 13,999. The phone, which was compared to Samsung's Galaxy S4 (priced at Rs 29,000), was sold exclusively through ecommerce portal Flipkart. Xiaomi became the world's sixth-largest smartphone vendor in the first quarter of 2014, according to data firm Canalys. It is the third Chinese player to enter India in the segment, after Gionee and Oppo.

Xiaomi's claim to fame is that it produces a limited number of smartphones that are sold only on the internet. The sale goes live on a specific day, for which interested customers have to register in advance. This technique decreases the cost of distribution and logistics. Flipkart sold 20,000 Xiaomi MI3 units in 2.4 seconds in August this year.

Interestingly, Xiaomi has extended the partnership to Airtel for the Redmi Note 4G, which, unlike the Redmi Note, will be also available in Airtel stores in six cities.

Recently, however, a High Court order banning its sale in India came as a shock.

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