Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The latest Warchips

While I munch Lays and sip Pepsi (brand loyalty not intended), I wonder how a week of market visit and working on a marketing summer project changes your perspective in life (literally!). As you walk on the roads of Patna, you look at the sachets & brands stocked in front rather than the name of the shop. You look at hoardings (thinking - what a visibility!) instead of the car waiting to dash you. While watching an IPL match, you wonder about the visibility of the stickers all over the batsman's shirt (and the umpire's!). An instance - was watching the Kurkure's new Desi beats ad during a commercial break. And thought of how the snacks (specifically chips) industry has changed in recent years. Originally a near-monopoly, the market changed with the aggressive entry of ITC - intentionally advertising the non-conventional variants, thus avoiding a head-on. With its distribution and muscle power, it placed Bingo racks in every other shop. Now we see Pepsico coming up with the triangular chips (against Bingo's Mad Angles) under Kurkure. There are 2 things to learn from this. First, Bingo has created a category of its own, causing the market leader to react. Its not far that we'll see Pepsico replicating all its variants. Secondly, look at Pepsico's strategy. Intentionally, it has launched it under Kurkure and not Lays - to ward off direct competition with a newbie like Bingo. This ensures that Bingo now fights 2 brands - both Lays and Kurkure - and Lays would like to retain its position as the most preferred chips. Even if people prefer Bingo, it can afford to forego Kurkure's market share, not the Lays brand. A masterstroke, I would say. To continue with the wars, Bingo now introduces 'International cream & onion' against the 'American cream & onion' (incidentally the variant that I am munching while writing this!). It has gained the strength to do that now. Take on Lays in its own forte, with people knowing the Bingo brand by now. It would be interesting how this war progresses over time.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

From Inbox to inbox

I know its a wrong time to post on the blog, given that I have 2 end term tests today. But a small thing that I noted yesterday morning is running through my mind for a long time. If you have checked your Gmail Inbox carefully, the label is now inbox (with a small 'i'). And they have changed it everywhere today, starting from label, to page title, to all references in the interface, and even the references in the description of the Labs settings. (though they couldn't change pictorial references :) ). Scoured the blogs to find no official/unofficial explanation to it. Do you see it as an April Fool's hoax released a day earlier, so that people start talking about it? If it was something so carefully changed, Google has always broken the news on its official blogs, including changes in its favicon colours. Do let me know if you are aware of the reason.
Update: It seems the change isn't visible on all accounts. Some of my friends still see the capital I. I have tried changing location, theme, switching over to the old version of email, but found a small i welcoming me everywhere :(. Finally, I checked the Gmail gadget on my iGoogle page, and it still shows a capital I (inspite of similar settings)

Update 2: This April Fool's Day is a big letdown from Google. It has posted an obviously hoax feature called CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity), an Artificial Intelligence research and blah blah, with images of a Panda cartoon shown its mascot. As if the name wasn't a giveaway by itself, the press release is date 31/3/09 11:59:59pm,it generally doesn't 'time' its releases, though it gives the date), its technical description uses too many scientific/psychology/physics/computer/jargonology jargons, the official post (dated 1/4/09 12:01am) doesn't mention clearly what the 'CADIE' does, and its CADIE's blog is designed like a 5th grader's 'My first Web page - Hello World!'. They couldn't even use the Youtube channel effectively. Google had been improving on its hoaxes in the past, with atleast some amount of beleivable stuff and simple English (with typical Google terms). I am disappointed that this year's prank is not at all planned and seems to have been executed by a 5th grader! I still wish the "inbox" change is a prank so that they can live up to their fans' expectations :)

Update 3: Finally, Andrew Girdwood came to the rescue! The small i is visible only if the language settings are English(UK). I changed it to English(US) and voila!, I see my Inbox intact! And people thought I was playing an April Fool's prank on them :)