N. Shatrujeet

Equus takes Rs 3-crore JVC audio business from Avenues

Equus Advertising has won the creative advertising business of audio products marketer JVC, following a three-way ‘credentials pitch’. The media part of the business has gone to Maximize

Equus Advertising's Mumbai office has won the creative part of the advertising business of Japanese audio major JVC, following a three-agency ‘credentials pitch' held late last year. Advertising Avenues previously handled the Rs 3-crore account. Incidentally, the pitch for the media part of the business happened simultaneously, involving Carat and Maximize… with the latter coming up trumps.

Confirming the move, Anu Raj, account director, Equus Advertising, told agencyfaqs!, "We will be handling JVC's entire audio range, and the accent will be on the car stereo market." She adds that Equus is likely to have won the account owing to its experience in the audio and automotive categories. "Our previous understanding of the audio business through Aiwa, and our historical association with auto brands - be it cars (Daewoo), tyres (Apollo) or batteries (Standard Furukawa) - got us this business. And car audios will be a distinct part of the portfolio." For the record, Equus has resigned the Aiwa account, which it won from Vyas Giannetti Creative and RK Swamy/BBDO in January 2001.

Launched in this country sometime in mid-2001, JVC is a recent entrant in the Rs 1,000-crore Indian audio industry. And it is up against some of the biggest names in the business, from Aiwa to Sony to Philips. Other significant players include BPL, National Panasonic, Videocon, Kenwood, Sansui, Onkyo, LG, Samsung and Nakamichi, apart from ‘specialist' brands such as Bose (in the ultra-premium end), and Blaupunkt and Alpine (in the car stereo segment).

The new incumbent admits that it has a challenge on its hands, but doesn't think the odds are stacked heavily against JVC, despite the late entry. "We have fine distribution," says Raj. "The task will be to steer clear of the ‘price game', and build a brand on the back of ‘music as an experience'. The category has seen price bloodletting for far too long."

This is not to suggest that the JVC brand will never play the value-for-money card. "To say that the brand will not have promotions to push secondary sales is Utopian," Raj points out. "But I think we can build a brand and also have tactical promotions." And even if a brand were to be tagged as a ‘discount brand', in the final tally, it's no skin off the nose, really. For all that it was ridiculed for playing on price, Aiwa today lords over the audio market with a 32-per cent market share. "The category, across the board, has been forced to discount," says Raj. "No brand in this space has been Brahmanical, so to speak."

One thing going for JVC is its focus on the car stereo segment. "The brand's output ratio on car stereo-is-to-regular audio system will be some 3:7," says Swapan Seth, deputy chief executive officer, Equus Advertising. Owing to the entry of more and more car brands, the car stereo market in India has been growing at a robust 50 per cent (in volume terms) for the last couple of years. And with even more new car brands - and models - slated for launch over the next few years, the segment is slated for high growth. The car stereo segment is currently pegged at around 20 lakh-units, of which the unorganized market - or ‘Delhi market', as it is called - accounts for roughly half. The organized players include Blaupunkt, Kenwood, Alpine and Pioneer.

Seth, for one, feels that JVC stands a good chance in the car segment. "The trend in car stereos is such that, owing to greater ‘individualized accessorization' by consumers, car manufacturers are putting fewer OEM stereos in cars, leaving consumers the choice of selecting their preferred car stereo brands. And this suits us just fine, as we shall be building a very strong brand out of JVC," he avers. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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