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IPO Speculation Mounts as Tata Looks to Leverage Jaguar Land Rover

Posted by Dale Buss on April 20, 2012 11:01 AM

Tata Group long has been regarded as a great way to invest in the burgeoning economy and population of India, because the industrial conglomerate is the dominant business in that fast-growing country. But now, some investors are looking at Tata and its Jaguar Land Rover operation instead as a promising way to participate in the economic boom in China, in the commercial possibilities of Russia, and even in economic resurgence in the United States.

That's because Tata's $2.5 bilion purchase of the tattered Jaguar and Land Rover brands from Ford in 2008 has resulted in a turnaround of those venerable automotive enterprises — and has created rising expectations in the global investment community — as Bloomberg reports — that Tata will opportunize that progress with an IPO, floating an intial sale of shares in a reconstituted Jaguar Land Rover.Continue reading...

sip on this

Red Bull Battles India Chamchas

Posted by Dale Buss on April 5, 2012 01:01 PM

All sorts of people don't like Red Bull. Carbonated soft-drink fans (and many others) hate its awful taste. Nutritionists believe it's akin to poison. And there are a whole lot of people over 18 years old who just — well, don't like it.

But the energy-drink king probably has no bigger enemy than provincial authorities in Maharashtra, a state in India, who claim to have confiscated 1.6 million cans of the drink because it has too much caffeine, a level of between 250 parts per million and 300 parts per million. Apparently there is some confusion about how much caffeine caffeinated drinks sold in India can provide.

India's federal law provides for no more than 145ppm in carbonated beverages such as energy drinks — but also exempts energy drinks per se because, for some reason, they are classified as food items rather than carbonated beverages.Continue reading...

logo-a-gogo

PepsiCo Changes Oil in India, Sheds 'Snack Smart' Logo

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 27, 2012 02:02 PM

For a few years now in India, PepsiCo has been making its snacks with rice-bran oil, a fact that allowed it to stick a “snack smart” logo on the packaging. After all, the snacks then “had 40% less saturated fat, zero trans fats and no added monosodium glutamate,” the Economic Times reports. The publication notes that the company made various pronouncements “across various multimedia campaigns” about the oil switch back in 2007.

Well, that was then. Recently, the company didn’t bother to use those various multimedia campaigns to let folks know about a different switch: a return to the original, cheaper palm oil. It simply removed the logo from such products as Lay’s chips, Krukure, Uncle Chipps, and Cheetos.

Three officials tell the Times that the switch was driven by a cost-saving measure — stop using the pricier rice-bran oil because it wasn't driving sales. No rice bran oil; no snack smart logo. "Our analysis of consumer feedback on the use of rice bran oil showed that the consumer did not show any added preference to the use of rice bran oil," a PepsiCo spokesman told ET.Continue reading...

tech innovation

PepsiCo Spurs Digital-Marketing Innovation in Brazil and India

Posted by Dale Buss on March 20, 2012 02:12 PM

To hear PepsiCo's top executives tell it, two of the company's biggest needs nowadays are innovative marketing to revitalize some of its brands, and keeping pace with big competitors in the CPG industry to expand its presence in emerging national markets.

That's why this expansion of the company's PepsiCo10 incubator program to India and Brazil is so timely. The move will give the company a much better chance of discovering and harnessing technology, media and communications entrepreneurs in those crucial markets in new initiatives that lead to effective digital- and social-marketing initiatives.

"These two countries are very exciting emerging markets for us," Josh Karpf, PepsiCo's fresh from SXSW digital director, told brandchannel. "Both for consumer trends and, as we get into it, a lot of interesting technology. It really lines up well for us. It's all about building brands and driving business" around the world.Continue reading...

branding together

India is Perking Up – Way Up: Buy Coffee and Earn Plane Tickets

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 20, 2012 09:58 AM

All you people drinking coffee in India should keep track of your cups. Drink enough of the stuff and you might earn yourself a free flight.

Indian Express reports that the country's top airline, Jet Airways, and #1 coffee chain, Barista Lavazza, have partnered up on a new loyalty program, JetPrivilege, that allows members to earn air miles from coffee purchase. For every 100 rupees spent, members earn five miles.

"Opportunities to engage with premium brands are of huge value to us,” said Jet chief commercial officer Sudheer Raghavan. “It means we can go above and beyond guest expectations, providing them with a number of value-added services. Given Jet's extensive route network and the high propensity of its guests to travel, it is a natural partner for a brand like Barista."

Barista has more than 160 cafes in India and also has locations in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. "Partnering with Jet is part of the larger strategy that Barista wishes to follow with an aim to ensuring customer delight," Barista Lavazza chief operating officer Nilanjan Bhattacharya added. Now bring on the caffeine and start racking up miles!

in the spotlight

London 2012 Watch: British PM Backs Dow as Mega-McDonald's Defended

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 12, 2012 02:31 PM

Dow Chemical isn’t backing out as a sponsor of the Olympics this summer in London and its name will be plastered (after all) over the stadium that will host the Opening Ceremonies. This, of course, has not been sitting right with folks in India, where the disastrous gas leak of 1984 by Union Carbide, which has since become a subsidiary of Dow, killed more than 20,000 people, according to the Indian government.

The Indian Olympic Association has hinted that it may pull out of London 2012 because of Dow’s involvement, even though Dow continues to point out that it did not own Union Carbide at the time of the disaster.

Protests notwithstanding, British Prime Minister David Cameron told CNN-IBN on Sunday that "it would be a very sad day" if India decided to boycott the Games.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Amex Syncs Twitter, and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 12, 2012 09:01 AM

In the News

American Apparel may have a knight in shining armor: George Soros.

American Express sees millions of Twitter Sync coupons redeemed within first five days.

Ann Taylor tweaks brand lineup.

Apple finds iPhone falling behind Samsung in China.

BBC America bets on New Yorkers as tastemakers for new cooking show.

Barnes & Noble tests Penguin publishing boutiques in its stores.

CNN reportedly in talks to acquire Mashable.

Chevrolet shows off networked car at SXSW.

Chevron plays catch-up in shale gas.

Chipotle gets a big bang for the little buck.Continue reading...

social media watch

Orkut Takes Google+ to the Party in Red-Hot Brazil

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 21, 2012 02:09 PM

Typically mentioned as the international competitor to Facebook, Orkut, Google’s “also-ran social networking site,” just launched a Google+ badge for users with both accounts – its first integration. “No, it’s not a big deal in terms of the feature itself (oooh, a badge), but it’s an indication of Orkut’s current status in Google’s eyes,” writes TechCrunch.

With 66 million users in Brazil and India, Orkut is alive and (sort of) well, but trailing Facebook substantially and may have missed the moment to level the playing field. In its recent IPO, Facebook said its active user base in Brazil had nearly tripled in 2011, placing it ahead of Google’s Orkut service as the leading social network in the country.

"I can't think of an example where Facebook has grown so quickly," commented Andrew Lipsman, VP of industry analysis at comScore, to Reuters. "It really just skyrocketed." So does that leave Orkut, which introduced many Brazilians to social networking, ditched at the dance?Continue reading...

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