Dalmia Consumer Care, the FMCG start-up of the Rs 1,200 crore of the Dalmia Group, announced the launch of Vardaan - a non-tobacco bidi (rolled Tendu leaf), its first product in the oral gratification space - at a press conference in the capital yesterday. Vardaan, the company claims, is a safer and healthier alternative to tobacco that simulates the pleasure of smoking/chewing tobacco.
Talking about the product, Sudershan Banerjee, managing director, DCC, says, "Vardaan is without any nicotine, tobacco-specific nitrosoamines, or the 60-odd dangerous chemicals. The product has been developed from Indian plants to give an alternative to people who are willing to quit tobacco but are unable to do so because of their physical, psychological or physiological dependence on tobacco."
Dr P M Murali, CEO, Dalmia Centre for Research & Development (DCRD) led DCC's research effort with a team of scientists who deployed knowledge of traditional Indian science and flora to develop the product that gives similar satisfaction but without the attendant ill effects of tobacco.
To begin with the company has launched a bundle of 20 bidis priced at Rs 4. DCC plans to enter the Re 1 segment (with a bundle of 5) and the Rs 2 segment (with a bundle of 10) soon.
Talking about the communications plans for Vardaan, Kartik Raina, COO, DCC, says, "The whole idea behind the communication is to showcase the satisfaction that can be gained from a safe, tobacco-free product." Given the profile of the target group, most of the communication would concentrate on brand building through local activities, in addition to mass media. Activities such as street plays, incentive-driven schemes for retailers, is what DCC would focus on to begin with.
In fact, DCC has initiated a promotional programme mobilising the Sarpanch, the Panchayat and the Dai (midwife) as the opinion leaders to influence prospective buyers. DCC would also focus on 'cluster marketing' on two levels - places such as factories and shantytowns and slums. As regards mass media, the company is talking to Doordarshan.
DCC is quite upbeat about the prospects of the bidi market. The Bidi market in India is estimated between Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000 crore annually. About 108 billion bidis are sold every month. The market is very regional in character with different brands sporting different shapes and sizes dominating a market. Differentiation on the basis of product characteristics, packaging and communication will underline DCC's marketing strategy.
While Vardaan will be a national brand, DCC has decided to tailor the product according to the demands of a particular region. For example, in the north, the bidis will have a wider mouth, while bidis in the east will be smaller and less tapered. The pricing too has been set according regions. In the eastern region, where bidis are sold at a lower price compared to the other markets, Vardaan will cost Rs 3.50.
DCC has an ambitious distribution plan. In the first phase of the launch, that is, the next six weeks, DCC will target 63 cities and make Vardaan available in 1.5 lakh outlets. In the second phase, which begins end December 2003, DCC hopes to target 150 cities and 2.5 lakh outlets, and by March 2005, DCC plans to reach 1,250 cities and 6 lakh outlets.
But India is not the only market DCC intends to capture. "Our effort will be to seek Government support to make Vardaan a success. With huge export potential, we believe India finally has an opportunity to lead the world in delivering a truly 'noble' product," adds Mr Banerjee. © 2003 agencyfaqs!