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Swatch steps on the gas

By , agencyfaqs! | In | October 13, 2000
Months after its arrival, Swatch reinvents its communication strategy to get rid of the "plastic" tag

agencyfaqs! News Bureau
NEW DELHI, October 13

For a company that sells watches in packaging inspired by the monster movie Godzilla, an annual ad budget of over Rs 10 crore is nothing out of the ordinary. Except that it shows how determined Swatch, the flagship brand of the 3.6-billion Swiss francs Swatch Group, is to penetrate the Indian market.
The company has been in India since January, but took sometime putting its act together. Now the communication strategy is in place and the company bullish. A Rs 5 crore-plus high decibel multimedia campaign on television and print media is slated to start this month. To have the maximum impact, the commercials will first run on TV, and then move on to the print media.
While the TV ads will be the same as the international ones, some of the print frames will be modified for an Indian audience. The launch of the communication campaign will coincide with the forthcoming festival and wedding season across the country. Swatch Group's regional general manager, South-East Asia, Ravi Thakran says the company will launch an India-specific campaign for the brand next year.
Swatch entered the Indian market earlier this year with a carefully crafted game plan: it announced its entry into India through the promotion of its brand in the Shah Rukh Khan-Juhi Chawla production Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. It also focused on building top line distribution, first in the metropolitan cities with plans to gradually extend its reach to the state capitals.
That launch was part of Swatch's marketing strategy of targeting the watch at the youth segment. On the shelf are a host of innovative strategies that will reinforce the positioning of the watch as the one fit to adorn the wrists of the trendy generation X. According to Mr Thakran, the brand is already associated with a host of 'happening and sporty events' such as the Smirnoff Fashion Awards, the Bacardi Friends' Party and water rafting. Moreover, Swatch plans to co-sponsor a personality-contest, a new programme in the making for MTV. In addition, it plans to associate the brand with some of the happening youth festivals in the country such as Rendezvous and Oasis.
The company will also try hard to get rid of the "plastic" tag it has been saddled with. So its market strategy will focus on building and highlighting 'differentiators' at all points of contact, while targeting a wide cross-section of trend-conscious Indian consumers. By adopting this route, Swatch aims to build a credible and 'aspirational' brand image. The thrust of the marketing strategy will be to provide Indian consumers a truly international brand experience.
The company has set itself a time-frame of two years to become a major player in the watch market, in terms of distribution, market share and volume. It has set targets of capturing at least 55 per cent of the market by volume and 80 per cent by value. And it is bullish on the market. "We're now preponing our targets," Thakran said. The company hopes to sell about one million units in the next four years.
In a strategy switch, Swatch has postponed the launch of one of its famous brands-Calvin Klein-in India. The company makes the Calvin Klein watches and cK Watches collection in co-operation with the American fashion designer Calvin Klein. Meanwhile, Swatch plans to launch Flik Flak, its watch brand for children by the end of this year. Titan is currently the only company in the country to have targeted the children's segment with its recently launched brand Dash.

© 2000 agencyfaqs!