What is Marketing?
Most people think that marketing is only about the advertising and/or personal
selling of goods and services. Advertising and selling, however, are just two of the many
marketing activities. In general, marketing activities are all those associated with
identifying the particular wants and needs of a target market of customers, and then going
about satisfying those customers better than the competitors. This involves doing market
research on customers, analyzing their needs, and then making strategic decisions about
product design, pricing, promotion and distribution.
This view is consistent with the following definition of marketing found in a
popular marketing textbook :
“Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion,
and distribution of ideas, goods, services, organizations, and events to create and
maintain relationships that will satisfy individual and organizational objectives.”
- Contemporary Marketing Wired (1998) by Boone and Kurtz. Dryden Press.
Market segmentation is the process of dividing a heterogeneous market into
homogeneous sub-units. In simpler words it means dividing the market into various sub-
groups on the basis of different factors like age, sex, purchasing power, geographical
The company has to divide the market or segment it on the basis of the
characteristics of its product by taking the following factors into consideration. It helps the
company to the give its product/brand a different identity and also make it known to its
target consumers. Segmentation helps the brand to overcome the threat from promotion
and price war from different segments.
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After market segmentation it becomes very important for a company to position its
product to the targeted market and gave an image to the brand to associate it with the target
market. This process of positioning the brand in the minds of the consumer is known as
For E.g. – BMW has positioned itself in the minds of a consumer as a luxurious brand.
Youth - Get them before they get you
ANYWHERE in the world, its great to be young, was the line for Marvel, a
soap marketed by Godrej way back in the eighties. Even today, there is no denying
the fact that it is great to be young, to be back in your teens and your school or
college days where you could do anything you wished without any pressure or
responsibilities on your shoulder.
Youth are generally engaged in activities like sports, parties, smoking,
boozing, bowling, watching movies, going for recreational activities, etc. They
have their own views and opinions about themselves and the world around them.
Youth can be exciting as well as exhilarating. And yet, one wonders if
marketers share the same excitement about marketing to youth. Youth is too
fickle, says a hardened marketer. It’s like entering a minefield, say a battle-scarred
veteran. How many successful youth brands are there in India? asks another.
The teen is a funny phase. Its something that you are anxious to get into
and equally desperate to get out of. There is a point of view that there is a lot less
heartburn and a lot more stability in targeting and marketing to 25-34 year olds for
instance. But you need to be blind to ignore the sheer magnitude of the youth
market, particularly in the Indian context.
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The ‘2001 Census’ and several other research studies points to the
emergence of a youth market in India. The contemporary Indian youth has grown
up in more financially secure times and in far more educated families than his/her
counterpart of 1970’s. Even the parents today are far more tolerant of the
eccentricities of the young person in their family. This phenomenon is not just
restricted to the urban families; rather it’s a rural phenomenon too. However, it is
more pronounced in urban upper middle class India, where the parents do not mind
their young daughters dreaming of beauty titles and preparing for it, or young boys
sporting earrings and ponytails. The values of today’s Indian youth are fast
changing, as reflected by the Bacardi’s by line “Be what you wanna be”. The
youth market is more experimentative in purchasing clothes, trying new gadgets,
eating out and even career choices.
The trouble with the youth market is that here taste changes faster with fads
overnight. Hence for a firm targeting the youth market, remaining relevant and
contemporary is the biggest challenge. This is best reflected by two television
channels, Channel V and MTV, targeted on the youth market.
E.g.:- Channel V was launched as a young western music channel but it
was soon overtaken by MTV which reflected the Indian youth’s tastes better. It
introduced the Hinglish language which was used in common conversation. By
this way by connecting to the Youth in their own way MTV won the competition
with Channel V and thus setup a market for them.
India is a young country with 11 crores people in the age group of 15-19
years. Another 10 crores are in the 20-24 year age group, whilst a whopping 72
per cent of our massive population is below the age of 35.
So, the obvious inference is that a marketer ignores this huge potential at
ones own peril. But neither can we ignore the nuances of this not so homogeneous
mass and its preferences. The world over, marketers are grappling with the
tremendous challenge and opportunity that is simultaneously being provided by
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this generation. Automakers in the West, for example, are targeting youth
aggressively. What should we do here in India to harness the enormous potential
of youth? What works and what doesn't?
Perhaps the first thing that needs to be said is that the generation is no
longer the homogeneous market of the seventies and the early eighties. MTV in its
latest youth study, ‘MTV Tuning Into The Youth Survey’ cleaves the youth into
• Cultural Misfit
• Style Bhai
• Middle-class Manju
• Main Bhi NRI
• Rich Brat
• Nerdy Nandu
The above chart represents the percentage of each segment that has been
evaluated by MTV.
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Along the way they have lost idealism.
Feel like they can’t change things for the betterment so they’d like a
change for the better.
Feel they have to adapt to the system and cannot express dissent.
…and their families
More likely to be bored at family functions.
Less guilty about placing an aged parent in old-age home.
Less willing to do housework.
Feel parents are against their dress code.
…and their friends
More disposed than others to hang out at friend’s place.
More likely to ask for friend’s advice on branded clothes.
More comfortable with same- sex friends.
…and their behaviour
More likely to feel they are under pressure.
Favour cohabitation before marriage.
Marriage is constricting.
More capitalist than socialist.
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Very concerned about their appearances.
Spend more time outside home partying.
Still have some conservative values.
More likely to agree that they have a good physique.
Want a body like supermodels.
More likely to wear figure-hugging clothing.
Say they do their own thing and follow the crowd.
Agree that men should go to parlours for personal grooming.
…and the world around them
More likely to claim to be content with themselves.
More likely to have self-confidence in friends.
Likely to be confused by the pace of change in the world.
Like the feeling of speed.
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Girls who spend most of their time at home with their families.
Cooking, visiting places of worship, TV.
Conservative values but liberal in some ways – attitudes to sex are
opposite to others.
…and their sexuality
More likely to believe in no sex before marriage.
Less likely to accept sex as part of a serious relationship.
Less likely to feel the necessity to be in relationship.
Less likely to feel that girls should show a little cleavage.
…and their values
Disagree that choice of career is driven by money.
Feel friendship should be with people of similar social class.
More likely to speak their minds than be diplomatic.
…and their opinions
More likely to agree that they are closer to friends than family
Disagree that it’s not cool to do housework.
Less likely to feel they need to be rich to dress well.
Less likely to claim they want a supermodel body.
Less likely to feel they are the first to buy a new trend.
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Main bhi NRI
Predominantly young, these are the trendsetters.
Derive their affirmation of self-worth from their peers.
Likely to experiment with trends-constant need for novelty (fear of
…and what turns them on
More likely to prefer alcohol with friends.
More likely to choose multiple-relationships.
Prefer watching Friends to Jassi.
Feel that parents would be shocked as to things they do.
…and what turns them off
Watching music channels.
Small cell phones/faded jeans/synthetic shirts and pants.
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Hold the opposite values from what their parents have.
Sometimes even opposite to their peers.
Want to escape home-the locality, the values, the restrictions.
…and what they stand for
More likely to take risks.
Hang out with friends at shopping malls and coffee shops.
In favor of legalizing abortion.
Choose lounge music.
Cannot be sensitive to how other feel-just be yourself.
…and what they are against
Less likely to have traditional marriage.
Those who get AIDS through sex deserve what they get.
Claim they wear what suits them regardless of fashion.
Most likely to disagree that TV is the ultimate entertainment.
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Time constrained, watching TV is their favourite way of spending
Tend to be behind the trend-almost clueless about what’s ‘in’.
Are working hard to be successful-focused on climbing the
…and what they stand for
Study only to get a good job.
Claim they feel most relaxed when watching TV.
Reserve Indian outfits for festival wear.
Prefer shirts to t-shirts.
Agree that Hindi pop music does not suit their image.
…and what they are against
Less likely to feel that having boyfriend/girlfriend is cool.
Less likely to feel that having a candlelit dinner is cool.
Least likely to advocate legal recognition for gay and
Less likely to want be on their away from family.
Less likely to feel they have more stylish clothes than their
Less tolerant of watching strippers.
Less likely to carry a small party purse or have streaked hair.
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Youth seem to come in all shapes, sizes and, if one may add, attitudes. So
before one markets to the youth, or anyone for that matter, one must need to
understand what makes them tick. “You must walk with them in your shoes, not
walk on them in your shoes”, is sage advice on how to deal with youth.
Blame it on the times
The most important need of the hour is research and understanding of
youth. Studies such as the MTV research are important beginnings. It’s also
important to remember that youth see life differently, it in raw terms. Raw is right.
For starters, the MTV research says that they don’t mind putting their parents
in an old age home! Is India Listening?
The latchkey generation
One important thing to remember is that parents are delegating (or is it
abdicating) more and more of their decision-making to their children, who are
growing more in confidence and pocket money at the same time. As a sheepish
parent said, the pocket money is certainly growing faster than the inflation.
Clearly youth is growing in importance and we are not merely talking
economics here. There is also a significant shift in the growing-up pattern of
today’s kids, which affects their development and their subsequent behaviour.
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Many urban kids in India are growing up in households where both mom and dad
are working. They let themselves into empty apartments with latchkeys. They are
confident, albeit, a bit lonely & they tend to be a lot more inward looking.
They belong to Metopia which seems merely to reaffirm their individual
importance. They want to make their own choices, and be treated as intelligent.
They want to feel that their opinions count. And the signal to the communicators
is fairly obvious. Appeal to the individual, don’t aim at the lowest common
denominator. The Net seems a great opportunity. And maybe this generation will
buy more from the Net than we ever would.
Be quick. Be friendly. Be gone.
Many elder people tend to lecture, guess it comes with the territory, if not
with the age. And yet, one needs to be reticent. Just observe the expression on a
teenagers face when a parent lectures him or invites him/her to observe him when
you rave and rant. That will give an important pointer. Lecture only if you wish to
lose your audience. Treat young audience with respect and intelligence.
And as equals! It’s so easy to sound authoritarian or judgmental. (And so
boring in the bargain). Another important fact to be borne in mind whilst
communicating with youth is to remember that their attention span seems to
extend to nanoseconds. This makes communicating with them all the more
And as Janet Kestia, Creative Director, Ogilvy and Mather, says, they have
a great bullshit meter, and they are very critical of advertising. I am not sure if our
youth is as critical or as cynical towards advertising. And yet, I am quite sure that
we shouldn’t communicate in stereotypes while talking to teens.
And whilst we are on the subject of communication, let’s not forget that
word of mouth is perhaps the strongest endorsement for many products and
services for young people. In a study conducted in Canada amongst students 40.2
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per cent of the students polled said they trusted word-of-mouth over all other
forms of advertising. Sounds familiar?
Wear your attitude
What distinguishes the youth of this generation is the fact that they wish to
belong and don’t wish to stand out overtly from the crowd. They exhibit a strong
need to be accepted by their peers and need parental approval of their choices.
India is one of the few countries where you can see 16-year-old sons coming into
jeans stores accompanied by their mothers!
They also have a strong need to be taken seriously by adults. If you treat
the young with less than the seriousness they deserve, then you are failing both as
a parent and as a marketer. (There is the adult in me, surfacing judgmental as
ever!) And yet, winds of change are blowing too.
“Don’t go out of the way to be accepted; if people don’t accept you for
who you are, they are not worth the trouble”. Is the New Mantra.
Troubling as these words may seem to conservative parents and marketers,
they still can’t be ignored. Yes, youth is changing. By the day. Catch 'em young
One of the very advantages of youth, you don’t own any stock in anything.
You have a good time and all the grief and trouble is with the other fellows. The
other fellows who could easily come to grief if they don’t recognize the
opportunities that the youth market presents. The youth represents a growing
Today's niche can become tomorrow’s mainstream. And savvy marketers
who catch them young and hold on to them despite their idiosyncrasies will reap
enormous benefits. Imagine the lifetime value of a kid who opens a bank account
at the age of 18 and stays with your bank for the next 50 years! As Lisa
DInnocenzo, News Editor, Strategy, the Canadian marketing report, says, ‘The
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belief is that if a brand can successfully seduce young consumers, it can forge a
lifetime relationship with them. Just get them before your competitor does!’
The youth segment can be divided into two age groups:
Children aged approx. 6-12 years and
Teens aged approx. 13-17 years.
What do they generally like?
While youth are not heavy readers of newspapers, they read magazines with
editorial designed for youth interests. Bombay Times is widely read by the youth
and so are the horoscope and the entertainment section. Young females enjoy
reading "advice" mags with articles on relationships, health, beauty, boyfriends
Young males enjoy action/ adventure and gaming. Males also enjoy
magazines featuring aspirational products such as fast cars. Magazines focusing on
entertainment, TV and film tend to draw readers from both genders.
Why is the Youth Market so Important ?
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Forecast Asia India details the expected future demographic and socio-
economic profile of this, one of the largest and fastest growing populations in
Asia. In doing so, it assists Marketing Managers to evaluate the opportunities that
may exist in this country in the next decade and when to take advantage of them.
India with its large population and significant bias to the younger age
groups has the largest child and youth market in the world. In 2000 there are 340
million under the age of 15 years and is projected to increase to 335 million by
2020. This compares with the next largest such market (China) where the numbers
are 298 million and 242 million respectively.
The young householder (that is persons aged 25 to 39 years) is important as it
is the largest of the adult age segments at 22.7% and is projected to remain so
through to 2020. In addition it is the best educated of the adult age groups and, they are
more confident and experimental consumers. Finally, it is growing at 1.5% per annum for
the next 20 years. The consumers’ increased ability to be ‘informed’ results in their
being willing to experiment with their options & innovators would rise.
According to statistics of 2005 approximately 51% of India population is
below the age group of 24 years and it is estimated to increase in the coming
decade to approximately 60%. The youth in the future would represent a major
force in the Indian economy and it is very essential for the companies to target
them as they are the future householders and also carry the responsibility of the
economic development of the country.
The percentage of urban youth is also to rise as people migrate from
different parts of the country to earn and settle in the urban areas to earn their
daily bread. Whether it is the urban or the rural youth, they are very essential as
the development of the country depends upon them and also they are our future
leaders. Today’s youth is more of a capitalist nature and money minded.
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The impact of the youth lies on the market because they are the future
spenders/household managers. They would soon have the purchasing power and
the decision making and in terms of kids they have the pester power. Youth also
influences the buying decision of the parents, friends and the overall society.
We will further see in the report how companies are targeting the youth
market and have realized their importance but it is important too, to understand
the influencing power of the kids. They are growing not only in size, but also in
influence. Children in the 0-14 year group, who make up 347.5 million out of
India’s one-billion population according to the 2001 census, have emerged as key
influencers in purchase decisions within a household. Gone are the days when kids
meekly accepted choices made by their parents about brands ranging from biscuits
to soap. Exposure to media like TV channels and magazines has made the current
lot highly brand-conscious, with strong brand preferences. The challenge
confronting marketers is to get a slice of this group’s mindshare.
Category-wise, the biggest impact is seen in the purchase of foods and
beverages. Is it any wonder that so many ads in this category are either kid-
specific or feature kids? Among kids, it is the 13-15 sear-olds who are the most
influential. This is largely due to rising awareness, peer pressure, pocket money
and a growing intensity of likes and dislikes.
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Spare Time Habits
Life Style Patterns
A Survey was conducted among 100 people within the age group of 15 – 24. Their
responses are stated in the questionnaire via percentage.
1. What kind of activities you engage in your spare time ? (Rank them from 1 - 4) .
o Restaurants & coffee shops
o Clubbing (Recreational activities)
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In their spare time the respondents rated going to Coffee shops and restaurants as
their favourite past time. Movies are their next favourite, followed by shopping and
clubbing and other recreational activities.
2. Where do you normally shop? Why?
o Shopper’s Stop
o Local shops (Heera panna/bandra)
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Shopper's Stop Globus Lifestyle Pantaloons Local shops
Majority of the youth markets preferred shopping at the Shopper’s Stop the reasons
being variety and availability and also the various promotional offers. It offers quality
products as well as suits the pocket of different income segments. Local shops and
shopping areas at Heera Panna and Bandra are preferred over the other shopping malls
because of the trendy and inexpensive products.
3. At which places do you normally hang out ? (Coffee shops/restaurants/food courts/etc.)
o Café Coffee Day
o Pizza Hut
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CCD Pizza Hut McDonalds Mocha Barista
Café Coffee Day is preferred over other restaurants because of its ambience,
reasonable pricing and large number of outlets. Mocha and other hookah places are the
next favourite because of the present craze foe hookahs. At the same time Pizza Hut and
McDonald’s also enjoy a good share of the market.
4. Where do you prefer watching movies ? Why?
o Single screen theatres
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Single screen Multiplexes
Multiplexes are preferred to single screen theatres because of availability of tickets,
many movies and shows at a place and food courts. Cinemax theatres are most preferred of
the multiplexes in Mumbai. The only reason why the youth still goes to the single screen
theatres is the price factor.
5. What sports/ games do you enjoy playing?
o Indoor games
o Other games
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Cricket Football Bowling/Pool Indoor games Others
The above responses need no explanation. Cricket is the most favored option
among sports and is followed as a religion. There has been a rise in sports such as bowling
and pool while indoor games are not preferred nowadays among the youth.
6. Which channels do you watch the most?
o Star TV
o Music channels (M TV & Channel V)
o Sport channels (ESPN & Star sports)
o News channels
o Others (Sony & Zee)
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Star TV Music News Sports Others
Music channels are the most viewed by the youth. They prefer watching them as
compared to other channels. Star TV and other channels are next to follow suit as the
serials are pretty common among youth females but sport channels are preferred by the
7. What kind of music do you listen to?
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Trance Pop Rock Old/Classical Romantic Hindi
Rock music scored the highest amongst the respondents. Pop music is also very
popular among the respondents along with Hindi music. They prefer listening to the music
on their computers, decks, I-pods, Discman’s, etc. It clearly indicates the fall of cassettes
usage among the youth.
8. Which radio stations do you prefer listening?
o Radio Mirchi
o Radio City
o Radio One
o Red Fm
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Radio City Radio One Red FM Radio Mirchi
The respondents prefer listening to Radio One Fm as it plays a variety of songs and
the RJ’s are pretty as compared to other RJ’s in their work. In spite of heavy advertising
Radio City and Radio Mirchi lag behind Radio One in attracting the youth customer.
According to Saloni Agarwal the song selection is the best on Radio One.
9. What are your reading preferences?
o Fashion Magazines
o Business Magazines
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Newspapers Novels Fashion magazines Business magazines
37% of the respondents prefer reading newspapers on a daily basis either for
business or general news or to know what’s going on Page 3. Fashion magazines are
preferred by the females among youth. Novels are read mostly by respondents who travel
on a daily basis by public transportation.
10. Are you spiritually inclined? How often do you visit the temple, mosque, church,
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It is good to see that around 70% of the youths are spiritually inclined and have
faith in God. The number of times that one visits a religious place varies highly and most
of the respondents visit the temple or other religious place only on some occasion and do
not have a fixed period to do so.
11. Are you health conscious ?
12. What drives you to go to the gym?
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o Fitness reason
respondents are health conscious and fitness purpose is the major driver for them visiting
the gym. However time constraint is a major reason for skipping the gym.
13. Do you smoke? If yes which brand ?
14. Do you booze? If yes which brand?
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Fitness Socialising Trend
Around 48% of the respondents smoke and around 57% of the respondents are
engaged in drinking. The favorite cigarette brand being Marlboro while the favorite drink
being Kingfisher beer and Smirnoff vodka. The respondents said that were loyal to the
brands and would not like to change them.
15. Who influences your buying decision?
o Celebrities & advertisements
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Friends Family Celebrities & advertisements
Friends are the major influencer in buying decisions followed by the various
celebrities and advertisements. Peer-pressure and latest trends that are followed by the
friends are the main drivers that influence the buying decision of the youth.
16. Do you prefer branded goods as compared to unbranded goods? Which is your favorite
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65% of the respondents prefer branded goods as compared to unbranded goods.
The preferred brands are mentioned below:
SHOES CLOTHES CELLPHONES WATCHES
Nike Levis Nokia Swatch
Adidas Pepe Sony Timex
Reebok Lee Cooper Motorola Titan
Red Tape Provogue Samsung Fossil
17. If you were given Rs.10,000 on what would you spend it? Mark the following
according to your preference.
o Electronic Gadgets
Matter of Preference:
The respondents were asked that if they were given a sum of Rs. 10,000 than in
what preference would they spend (the choice were the items mentioned above). They
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ranked clothes as their first preference and than mobiles, electronic gadgets and watches
From the above questionnaire it can be said that companies targeting youth market
should advertise in coffee shops, multiplexes, radio stations, music channels, etc.
Companies such as E-serve, 3G and Radio Mirchi have already realized it and are
advertising in Café Coffee Day, while X-Box advertises in I-max adlabs multiplex.
These companies have realized the importance of youth market and are targeting them
where it most beneficial. Even sponsoring sports events and advertising through movies
serves to be a good purpose as the target audience gets targeted and the company achieves
Thus, I will advise companies to focus on such areas where there can achieve
maximum recall and mileage. The youth is getting mature by time and also prefers to take
its own decisions. Today’s youth who are influenced by others will be tomorrow’s
purchaser. Thus, it becomes very important to influence them for the companies and also
make them loyal to their brand.
The youth is now inclined toward trying new things such as sports like bowling and
pool, having hookahs, spending on mobiles and gadgets, etc. Their purchasing power has
increased and their mentality towards spending has also changed.
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OLDER GENERATION NEW GENERATION
Idealized Gandhi-style poverty,
Wants to get rich, admires
Grew up amidst famines Grew up amidst food surpluses
Had only one state-run TV channel Can watch 50 TV channels via cable
and satellite TV
Mostly techno phobic Mostly technology-savvy
Tended to be avid savers Tend to be guiltless consumers
Grew up with stable government
Led by one party; upper-caste
Grew up with constantly shaky
coalitions; more voice for lower
Favored medicine, engineering or
civil service as careers
Favor computer-driven and other
high-paying career choices
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Average literacy levels of 30% Average literacy levels of 52%
Tastes tended toward tradition
drinking tea, eating at home.
Tastes tend toward modern:
Western food and sodas, eating
The older Indian generation lived traditionally and was orthodox in their approach
towards life. They accepted things and situations as they came and did not like changes.
They did not like modern ideas and were always against westernization. But, India’s youth
of today have left these mentalities far behind and moved ahead with the times. They are
open minded and like to try new things and inventions. They welcome changes and are
technology savvy and like devices which save time and make their lives simpler and easier.
Thus there is a huge differentiation between the thinking and mentality of the two
generations and we today’s youth have moved ahead with time and technology and left the
older generations thoughts behind.
Thus, companies wooing India’s youth should always remember that while
targeting the youth it’s important to have a mixture of tradition and values along with
modern ideas and concepts. One who is successful in finding this right combination in his
marketing strategy is sure to achieve success.
An example of the Allahabad Bank can be given, which is one of India’s oldest
banks. In its recent television commercial it shows that how it has met the needs the both
of a father and a son in terms of providing banking services and thus has been able to
accept changes and move ahead with the times. The commercial indicates that the bank has
met the needs and demands of the older generation (i.e. the father) and thus has provided
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complete customer satisfaction and on the other hand has also changed with the generation
and bought in new technology and changes in it services and thus satisfies the needs of the
younger generation (i.e. the son) and thus provides them with customer satisfaction too.
This way it proves to be an ideal bank for the both the generations.
Short Stories – Companies wooing the Indian Youth
The Axe Effect !
Axe, the deodorant that is considered
cool, fashionable and stylish by young men
was launched in India in 1999. Available in
more than 60 countries around the world, it is a world leader in male toiletries.
Axe has a mix that is completely harmonized globally - from its proposition and
communication to the product, as available on the shelf. Axe is available in
fragrances like: Java, Alaska, Atlantis, Voodoo, Africa, etc. Voodoo has become
the leading male deodorant brand in India within just one and a half years from its
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Consumers associate a lifestyle of cool clubs, cool music, and cool fashion
with Axe. The youth view it as an icon which introduces many 'firsts' to their
world of music and dance - like the first "World's Longest Dance Party" and the
first ever 'Axe Voodoo Island Party. The advertisements and promotional activities
of Axe relate to the male urban youth and the fragrances are cool for them to use
and to get associated with the brand.
Hamara Bajaj – Changing Generations
Old-line Indian family-owned companies are also
increasingly catering to the youth market. Changing buying
patterns--in which teens are no longer content to have their
father's hand-me-down watch and instead want to buy their own--are part of the
But in many cases, the helm of the company has been passed down a
generation, and younger CEOs are more hip. Take stodgy Bajaj Auto Ltd., the
world's second-largest scooter maker, based in Pune. Since Rajiv Bajaj, 32, son of
owner Rahul Bajaj, joined the family business as vice-president for product
development, Bajaj scooters have changed from value-for-money vehicles targeted
at the middle-class male to scooters with style and performance catering to youths
of both genders.
Hence the new, zippy Spirit, Bravo, and Legend scooters, which hit the
market in quick succession in the past year, aimed at 18-to-24 year olds. Also the
Bajaj Pulsar 150cc and 180cc, targeted at the male youth have become a hit among
them because of its looks, performance and specially its tagline, ‘Definitely
Male’. It is one of the largest selling bikes of the company.
Catch them Young – Luring the bait
Companies are also working to win
the hearts of young potential employees. To
recruit the best talent, premier software
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developers, including Infosys Technologies Ltd. and Tata Consultancy Services,
are offering stock options, flexible working hours, foreign assignments, and even
education packages to overseas universities and perks such as housing and auto
loans. Infosys is also working to increase computer literacy in hopes of fostering
more talent nationwide, offering free computer-training programs in urban and
rural schools and other educational institutions.
The cons : Companies such as Hindustan Lever Ltd. and Cadbury, which
were tops on campus recruitment until high-tech companies came along, offer
similar bonuses to smart young MBAs. Jay Desai of Universal Consulting in
Bombay says that although small, family-owned Indian companies are the
mainstay of his business, he takes on clients from Dubai and Singapore in order to
keep bright young consultants from leaving for multinational companies that can
offer a more whirlwind experience. Observes Deepak Jolly, vice-president of
Pepsi India: ''Young management graduates of 22 say, 'How fast can we rise?'
They are very demanding. They want to climb the ladder of success in a very short
period of time.” Thus, it is necessary to lure them to retain them.
But India's young people aren't just computer nerds. They play hard, too.
Bowling alleys, pool parlors, and cybercafés are booming across India. Youngsters
cough up Rs. 200 an hour for a bowling game, and skip school to surf the Net at
cybercafés at Rs. 30 an hour. ''Now, Indian kids are getting what we could only
read about in American comic books,'' says Aditya Singh, CEO of Bombay's
Bowling Co. ''They are waking up to consumerism.'' They are experimentative and
want to try new things. They want to imitate the west as in listen to ‘I-pods’, play
‘Play Station’ etc. The youth is changing with the time.
Titan Fastrack – Hitting the bull’s eye
The range of Fastrack watches launched by Titan
has certainly been a huge success. Aimed at the Indian
youth, the product has been a huge success. The
advertisements and other promotional activities has been youth oriented and
Youth Marketing 37
appeal to the youth. The tagline ‘How many you have ?’, compels them to buy
more and more pieces of this collection.
One can say that Titan has certainly hit the bull’s eye by launching the
collection in the price category affordable to the youth and also providing with a
variety of trendy designs and appealing to them via the advertisements. Titan has
realized that Indian youth prefers wearing branded watches but at the same time
not very expensive ones. Thus Fastrack proves to be a cool style statement for the
youth which is trendy as well as suits the pocket of the Indian youth. Today
Fastrack watches are considered as style statements. Titan has also launched
Fastrack glares and signed John Abraham as their brand ambassador as he is the
current youth icon and appeal to the youth for his style statement.
Cadbury’s – The Real Taste of Life
Cadbury’s the leader in the chocolate market has lived to the true meaning
of its tagline, ‘The real taste of life’. Cadbury’s has
targeted children and the youth in its advertisements since
the past but these serves them the purpose as the whole family gets inclined
towards the ads. One starts having them since he is 2 years old but consumes it
through his lifetime.
Be it Amitab Bachann’s ‘Pappu pass ho gya!!’ for Dairy Milk or Preity
Zinta’s ‘Thodi se pet pooja kahin bhi kabhi bhi’, ad for perk, the company has
always reached the entire audience and this they have done by targeting the youth
and the children.
The company knows that Indians are emotional people; hence they have
always maintained an emotional touch in their ads while targeting the audience.
Chocolates are actually for children and every other brand only targets them but
Cadbury has attained such a position in the market that through advertising to the
kids they attract the whole nation indirectly. One always says while purchasing a
Cadbury that it is for the child but the fact is that everyone loves consuming it. So
Youth Marketing 38
Cadbury’s has lived up to its goodwill and has become the taste of life right from
the days of childhood of a person to his old age.
I have undertaken the study of 5 different cases which includes companies,
products and services. They are as follows :
THE LEVI’s STORY
Levi Strauss and Co is a company with famous global
brands, but how has it managed to overcome some of the
problems of gaining acceptance and leadership in another
continent? As with many companies which wish to implement a
multi-country strategy, a considerable amount of research is carried out to see if there are
similarities or differences in what might appear to be a global consumer segment, and
whether local adaptations are required. This case study examines Levi's global brand
Youth Marketing 39
strategy and how it is integrated into the company's marketing strategy in Asia. The study
also provides valuable insights into how global brands are carefully defined managed, and
Levi's brand managers probably know as much about the global youth segment as
any other in the world, as this is the segment the company primarily targets, a segment
with a base of 15-19-year-old males. Indeed, the company regards one of its strategic
advantages as having a better understanding of youth than any of its competitors. However,
nothing is taken for granted at Levi's, and it continues to carry out consumer research every
year. For example, the company conducts around 80 qualitative focus groups in Europe
alone specifically dedicated to advertising development even though such research is
regarded as an aid to judgment and not a substitute for it. It is interesting to note that Levi's
view of building brands in one part of the world is no different to brand building anywhere
else-the same principles apply.
Research on Asian youth
Levi's has done some interesting research on Asian youth to determine similarities
and differences between youth psychographics in Asia and elsewhere in the world. The
results have been both interesting and valuable to Levi's Asian brand strategy. Levi's
particularly looks for similarities in people and their perceptions of the brand. Here are
some of their findings:
The "success” formula used by Asian youth appears to be:
• Work hard at school, finish all homework, go to extra classes.
• Learn to play the piano or another musical instrument
• Gain entry to university and obtain a good degree
• Work during the school holidays
• Take over the family business or be a doctor or some other professional.
There are Asian cultural restrictions that dictate that certain rules, codes, and
guidelines should be observed, with respect to:
Youth Marketing 40
• how to conduct oneself
• what to consider important
• what to strive for.
In other words, belonging and responsibilities to "the group" overwhelm personal
ambitions- the expectations of parents, friends, teachers, and culture surround Asian
youths. These perceived expectations are so strongly felt that Asian youth fears the
disappointment, disapproval, and even shame that could follow failure. This is borne out
by the following two quotations:
"46% of Singaporeans believe that stress is caused by insuring that their children
get good academic results."
The Straits Times, May 1998.
"Japan's rigorous academic system is also in the spotlight, as it was when there
was a rash of children committing suicide in the mid 1 980s and early 1990s."
"Teen violence rising in Japan”, CNNI, March 1998.
The Asian recession of the late 1990s has added to the feelings of hopelessness and
being out of control of one's destiny, as seen in some of the comments made by research
• "What's it all for?"
• "Jobs are not for life any more."
• "My qualifications won't count for much."
Asian youth is worried and stressed. The social issues of greatest concern to
Japanese youth, for example, are crime, AIDS, and drug abuse, in that order. However, not
all is bleak; there are feelings of optimism. There is a sense of youth identity- that they are
inheritors of an exciting new world- building on an identity that is not defined or
constrained by Asia’s past. Young people have their own aspirations, such as:-
Youth Marketing 41
• Not having to live with their parents.
• Not restricted of marrying within the race.
• Not having to be heterosexual
• Being allowed to be themselves more.
Some of the aspirational values of Asian youth, according to research, are very similar
to those found around the world – though weaker or more repressed in Asia:
• An obsession with finding identity
• To overcome insecurities
• A desire to be "cool"
• A desire to be sexually attractive individuality
Asian youth and brands
Asian youth is particularly "brand-fickle," exhibiting:
• low involvement with brand values and brand identities
• focus on newness and user values
• mass adoption, mass rejection, little repeat purchasing.
They appear to be (this has not been proven by research) a bit like locusts, moving
from one brand to another after avariciously devouring one. For example, with watches,
they moved rapidly from Swatch to G-Shock to Baby G to AKA to Fossil to Nike. So,
brand loyalty tends to suffer in the face of fashion. But, research has found that Asian
youths' views of Levi's concur with those of youth elsewhere, namely:
• Authentically American
• Original jeans
• Self confident
• Sets trends
Youth Marketing 42
The challenge then for companies like Levi's is how to hold back this tide of
fashion change, but the similarities among world youth offers a solid foundation for
consistent brand strategy.
Levi's brand values and personality
The Levi’s personality is composed of eight characteristics or values with
emotional associations, defined as follows:-
• Original – Levi's created the jeans market and is recognized as the most authentic
jeans brand. Levi’s, therefore, follows no one. Whenever the brand communicates
to its audience, it must be seen as distinctive and original. Levi's writes its own
rules and is never afraid to break them in order to remain original.
• Masculine – Levi's has a masculine personality. It was designed for men engaged in
hard physical labor. Male toughness and "cool" are central to the brand's character.
• Sexy – Levi’s has always made men and woman look more attractive. It exudes a
charisma and confidence that is magnetic. The attraction is not due simply to
external appearance, but also to brand’s resourcefulness and intelligence.
• Youthful – Levi's came of age when it was adopted by American youth in the
1950s and jeans became the uniform of the disaffected teenager. Whoever the
wearer is today, jeans-wearing will always be intimately associated with youth.
• Rebellious – Levi’s should never be seen as a part of the establishment accepting
its rules and regulations. Rules are by definition imposed by a previous generation,
and the brand should always be prepared to challenge the conventional behaviour.
• Individual – Levi's should never be afraid to stand out in a crowd and attract the
attention of others. The brand has a certain confidence and integrity which means
that, although it commands the respect of its peers, it has the strength of character
to go it alone if necessary.
Youth Marketing 43
• Free – Levi’s travels light. It is unburdened by the clutter and hassle of everyday
life and the sort of responsibilities and commitments that may hinder its freedom of
• American – Levi’s was originally worn by the hero’s who pioneered America and
mapped out the American Dream. Levi’s speaks with an American accent, but it
does not try to force American ideology and values on others.
Levi’s brand role for Asian youth
These brands values represent a particularly aspirational way of life for youth all
over the world. In addition, in Asia, these values are particularly appealing given that
Asian youth does not have access to the moral liberal lives of Western Youth. The Levi’s
brand is one of the few voices, which Asian youth is hearing, that is not suggesting Asian
youth needs to slavishly follow the traditional Asian ways. In this respect, the brand takes
some pressure off these youth and draws their empathy as a result.
Levi’s brand rational associations
In addition to the brand personality, Levi’s has a set of rational associations that also
has to be communicated as part of a left-right brain strategy. The rational associations are:
• Original – Levi’s has innovated throughout the history of jeans. Levi’s product will
lead the way in redefining jeans and jeans-related apparel.
• Simple – Levi’s will always prefer a simple solution to a complicated one. Levi’s
seek to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary can speak.
• Reliable – Levi’s product does not let people down. They set about their task with
quiet efficiency day in and day out, week in and week out.
• Strong – Levi’s products will not be distracted from their tasks by a light knock or
scrape. They are tough, strong and resilient.
Youth Marketing 44
• Long lasting – Levi’s products last for years. They are life-long companions and
share their owner’s experiences, achievements and frustrations.
Levis brand positioning
From the combination of brand personality and values, and its rational associations,
the positioning for the brand is derived. The Levi’s brand positioning (sometimes referred
to as brand soul), is embodied in the statement: The original and definitive American jeans
(rational) that celebrates all the great things about being young (emotional). The ultimate
Targeting youth in Asia
Levi’s acknowledges that young people make their own decision as to which
brands to buy and that these decisions are influenced by a mixture of rational and
emotional appeal. But, Levi’s also agrees that peers and role models that youths look up to,
with respect o both their believes and behavior, influence all young people. There is
therefore a targeting hierarchy that exists.
Opinion leaders certainly influence their peers in all markets, and youth is no
exception. They will trigger buying by Early Adopters, and the brand (particularly the
fashion brands) will then be picked by the Late Adopters, and lastly, the Mass Market.
There is a trickle down over time.
Youth Marketing 45
The Levi’s brand strategy is not to appeal directly to the consumers most
responsible for volume, rather to aim at opinion formers and peer group leaders, including
the top portion of early adopters. This might seem rather odd when logic would suggest the
reverse, trying to influence the bulk of the market not to take new brands.
Levi's say that the top end of the triangle is their "creative target" whose thoughts
and actions will be overheard by the "broader target." If the creative target can be
convinced to keep Levi's in their wardrobe, then the rest will do the same. And Levi's
found that the opinion leaders often kept classic brands in their wardrobe as well as the
latest fashion brands. Research sampling, therefore, reflects the creative target rather than
the user base.
Brand communications strategy and local adaptation
Levi's created a communication mission statement to summarize the task: To
enhance brand equity by finding fresh and innovative ways of communicating to
consumers Levi's Core Associations, both rational and emotional. By doing this, everyone
involved in brand communications has to focus on the mission and values. There is no
room for error.
Levi's always stays true to its brand personality despite incredibly different and
very creative ways of portraying this. The first thing it did when entering Asia was to re-
establish and reconfirm the brand values. However, like any sensitive global brand it does
make adjustments for local circumstances. On a broad scale, recognizing that the
advertising culture is less sophisticated in Asia and that people do not see some of the
innuendoes and subtleties that would be perceived in the west, Levi’s made the messages
more literal. Nevertheless, Levi’s produces a range of advertisements that play the Levi’s
brand- value chord differently depending on cultural differences. For instance, as rebellion
in Japan is not culturally acceptable, that value is played down. All of the values are
rotated carefully in an integrated communications strategy, so that over time the audience
is exposed to all of them. (Chapter 8 gives a fuller explanation of this way of projecting
brand values). In targeting the opinion leaders, Levi’s also put on events for them, on an
Youth Marketing 46
invitation-only basis, and the words the company uses are always the language that the
opinion leaders themselves use.
Levi’s has certainly done well in Asia among the 15-29 year olds, as recent brand
Levi’s past successes do not automatically mean that the future is the safe for it. As
the apparel market is continually changing, Levi’s strategy will erode if it is not
continually refreshed and made “market – right”.
Currently, Levi’s observes that the global apparel market is shifting towards new
fabrics, fits and finishes. Smaller cult brands and designer labels are cashing on these
trends. The traditional denim jeans product that Levi’s sells inevitably is losing the
limelight in the eyes of the consumer. These trends are most marked in the U.S. and
Europe. Interestingly the Levi’s brand is holding its appeal far more strongly in the Asian
How should Levi's respond?
Levi's strategy has never been to follow the vagaries of fashion. Creating a
positioning that transcends fashion and has classic status will always be its objective. The
market is circular clothes that were popular will become popular once again and Levi's feel
Youth Marketing 47
confident that denim jeans will naturally recover much of their appeal. The brand has come
through more stormy times, in late 1970s in Europe, for example, to emerge stronger than
That said, there are significant plans in place for Levi's to insure that its popularity
endures. Research is playing a key role in understanding how and why consumer tastes are
changing and what that means for the brand. Market segments are being re-examined,
communication being retuned, and new product possibilities considered.
In the figure below, the consumer perceptual map indicates where Levi's intends to
create a portfolio of brands and sub-brands based on the two principal consumer decision-
making factors. New products and new communications campaigns are central to the
whole repositioning exercise. The marketing of the brand in the Asian region may require
less fundamental change as a more solid base of consumers appears to have been built in
Youth Marketing 48
Lessons from Levi's
Levi's is a global brand that has won acceptance in many very different cultures,
and the following points are relevant to any Asian country wanting to do the same. This
case also provides important learning points for those companies wishing to enter the vast
The same principles apply to building brands in Asia as anywhere else in
• Companies must generate consumer insight.
• Having a vision or mission for the brand is vital.
• Creative execution must reflect the brand personality and desired consumer
Understanding the fashion dynamic in any market is critical:
• Lead, do not follow
• Target the front-end consumers
• Use research wisely, as an aid to judgment, not a substitute for it
Appreciate the main issues affecting the brand in the market context, in this
• Consumers are fickle
• Youth is stressed
Each company has to decide between efficiency and relevance:
Youth Marketing 49
• Efficiency means providing one communications solution across a region,
giving cost advantages, but losing some local relevance.
• Relevance means providing multi-solutions for different audiences, but
looking for similarities in attitudes and behaviors.
Summer wave – Heats up the Cola Brigade :
Youth – the Decision – Makers and the Purchasers
Indian teens alone buy nearly 60% of
the cold drinks, chocolates, and jeans sold in
India. ''Every company is planning its future
growth looking at the youth market,'' says Ajit
Balakrishnan, founder of India's top-ranked Internet portal Rediff.com. As a
result, retailers are changing how they market to this group. They are turning to
hipper advertising and product lines. In addition, companies competing to hire the
best and brightest find they need to lure young graduates as employees by offering
career paths to overseas posts.
Multinationals, with their broad range of experience, lead the pack.
Cadbury Coca-Cola and Pepsi are leaders. All three companies are using famous
actors, sports figures, and catchy slogans to woo youth. Pepsi's advertising slogan
in India, ''Yeh Dil Maange More,'' or ''This Heart Demands More,'' has become a
catchphrase of India's young. Coke is using ‘Piyo Sir Utha ke’ as its current
tagline where their brand ambassador refers to having coke with pride. When
Indian soldiers recaptured a Himalayan mountain peak from Pakistan in the recent
military conflict in Kashmir, a 26-year-old captain who led the team sent a coded
message to his superiors, urging them to let them capture more peaks: ''Yeh Dil
Maange More,'' was what the message read.
Currently one sees a plethora of cola advertisements plashed all round the
place. They all have one name to get the ‘youth’ to hooked on to their brand.
Celebrity endorsements (Sachin, Saurav, Amitabh, Hritik , Aishwarya…and the
list goes on), V.Js (Cyrus), and models – all teen crazes are roped in to lure the
Youth Marketing 50
youth. Advertising is currently a battle of mud slinging between two major soft
drink giants, each who want a share of the confused youth.
Coke Launches Site, Myenjoyzone.com
Soft drink major Coca-Cola India has joined the e-bandwagon. E-initiative,
aims to bring Coca-Cola closer to its largest consumer segment – youth. “Coca-
Cola tries to harness every opportunity to connect to its target consumers,
especially through media vehicles which are as popular as the Net. Approximately
65 per cent of brand Coca-Cola’s volumes are consumed by the youth segment.”
Coca-Cola also plans to leverage its numerous consumer programmes by
extending them onto the site with an objective of building an active online
community. Also, the key account activities like McDonald’s and cinema halls
among others will also be covered in the site. With its site, Coke hopes to hit 600
cyber cafes in India. Roadshows in colleges, youth hang-outs and key accounts are
in the pipeline.
The company has also launched an online promotion where it is offering
over 1,000 prizes to be given every month. Consumers will be given “Coke
Crownz” - a virtual currency in every interactive section they enter. The consumer
with the highest number of “Coke Crownz” wins a grand prize every month
including a Sony Playstation for the gaming section, creative jukebox for the
music section, a year’s supply of movie tickets for the movie section, etc.
With such initiatives and marketing plans targeted towards the youth both
the cola companies are trying to get the extra percentage in their sales and the
trying to capture the market share. The benefit from the confused state of mind of
the youth and target the youth and children because they are their basic audience.
The advertisements always refer to Youthfulness, enjoyment, happiness, etc which
are emotions associated with the youth. Thus the cola brigades try to get the youth
Youth Marketing 51
working for them and for this they spend huge amounts on their advertisements
plans and also on the various schemes and contests they launch to boost their
sales. Along with it sponsoring sport tournaments such as Cricket matches and
also advertising in movies has become a very common thing for the companies
because they have realized that the youth is influenced by sports and movies in
MTV – Feels The Pulse
Marketing Forum on “Feeling the Pulse of the Indian Youth Market” conducted
by MTV & Brand equity.
Few Highlights relevant to our study
According to a survey by the National Council for Applied Economic
Research (NCAER) 30% of urban Indians are below 30. Whatever its
demographic implications, for marketers it means just one thing: there's a huge
opportunity waiting out there for those who target the young.
In this context, the recently concluded MTV & Brand Equity Youth
Marketing Forum comes at an appropriate time. Among its findings:
The Indian youth is no longer confused
The voice of the youth is not heard in advertising
The loyalties of the youth segment are transient
The forum was divided into four sessions, the first topic first being
'Appealing to the young mind: Sachin or Shah Rukh?' The others were 'Tuning
Youth Marketing 52
into their wavelength', 'Looking beyond the big city lights', and 'Youth in
India: a mass niche'.
In the first session, Vibha Rishi Paul, executive vice-president of Pepsi
Foods, spoke about how young people wanted more out of life. This, according to
her, was behind the company's latest `Yeh Dil Mange More' campaign.
McCann-Erickson consumer insights director David McCaughan's
presentation was about the four cornerstones of the teenager
2) source of 'cool',
3) hanging out and
MTV India research manager Sangeeta Gupta outlined ten trends, the most
significant perhaps being that the young today are reveling in a 'khichdi' of Indian
and western cultures, a pointer to marketers on how they should be
In the next session, Highlight Films director Prasoon Pandey said that the
best way of tuning into the wavelength of the young was to give them an approach
that was new and surprising. Interestingly, Indrani Vidyarthi, manager at Quest
(the qualitative research wing of ORG-Marg), felt that most Indian marketers still
hadn't found a way of communicating to the youth. According to her, young
people felt that marketers portrayed them in a one-sided, childlike manner: loud,
self-centered, and rebellious. On the other hand, she said, they saw themselves as
concerned, fun-loving and responsible.
Bhaskar Das, vice-president at Times Response and brand manager at The
Economic Times, said that though the youth market was heterogeneous, it did have
a few homogeneous motivations like the sense of self or the need to be cool. He
felt product-based brands were anachronisms and the day belonged to 'philosophy
brands', that is, those which expressed an attitude towards life, like Nike.
The third was 'Looking beyond the big city lights'. Adarsh Gupta,
executive director of the Liberty group, and R.L. Ravichandran, vice-president at
Youth Marketing 53
Bajaj Auto, touched upon the peripheries of the subject. Shunu Sen, marketing
guru and CEO of Quadra Advisory felt that the one big change that was taking
place beyond the city lights was the changing family structure where the father
was becoming more of a companion and less of the stern patriarch -- a fact
marketers should keep in mind.
In session four, Rama Bijapurkar talked about the necessity to move youth
marketing from a niche activity to the mainstream. She was of the opinion that, as
gross domestic product (GDP) grows; today's poor youth will turn into tomorrow's
consumers. According to her, the segment 'rich brats' in SEC (socio-economic
class) A1 (top 23 cities) accounted for 0.5 million. There were 4.1 million in the
`consuming class' in SEC A&B (top 23 cities), and if that was "stretched a bit"
there could be as many as 10.6 million in this category. The second speaker was
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, chairman & managing director of BPL Telecom. Kanwaljit
Singh, general manager (marketing) at Intel India, said you could reach out to the
target group in their language, with the same message, but through a new medium,
for example, through cricket or music.
Concluding remarks were made by Raghav Behl, director of CNBC Asia,
Jaideep Bose, executive editor of The Economic Times and Sudhanshu Saronwala
of MTV India.
The forum ended with the presentation of this year's youth marketing
awards which were bagged by NIIT (youth marketer of the year) and Chiclets
(youth campaign of the year).
While there's no doubt that the audience left the forum with quite a few
insights, one couldn't help get the feeling that the participants used it to also
deliver their sales pitches.
MTV - Enjoying its 3-D outlook on youth
MTV’s marketing Plan with a 360 degree Dimension
Touch and feel the channel.
Youth Marketing 54
Shape perceptions and
Drive eyeballs to the channel
To touch the life of youth everywhere they turn to-be it home,
college, office or hang-outs. Main Aim is to provide topical content which
the youth in India wants.
MTV is fairly successful in this attempt, without compromising their
identity as a music channel.
The Story behind the success
MTV has positioned itself as a complete entertainment solution for
youth with innovations like morning music, MTV dressing for colleges and
offices, a Web site to browse through during working hours, MTV hang-outs
for the evenings and back to the channel in the night. With these, MTV has a
complete gamut of things that touch the life of youth 24 hours a day, seven
days a week and 365 days a year.
The channel has been successfully promoted by an all-round
marketing strategy with topical event-based programmes on the ground
supported by promos in print and other media. "This helps MTV to be seen
around the ground and finally they have the channel that beams the events.
The aim is to make the Indian youth participate in the event and identify with
With this in mind that the channel has been hosting events and shows
like Dirt Busters, Bacardi Blast and War of the DJs. Dirt Busters was a good
example of how the interests of youth can be brought to bear on social and
Youth Marketing 55
environmental issues. Majority of the Indian youth is not concerned about
issues like ozone depletion. But, if you can communicate with them in their
language against the issues of concerns, they will sure respond to it. Dirt
Busters have proved this point unequivocally.
MTV appeals mainly to the teeny-boppers because it speaks their
language. The titles of most of the programmes are also inspired by the
every-day street language. So you have MTV Filmi Fundas which deal with
the idiosyncrasies of Bollywood, right from wet saris to chummas to Ek Do
The channel has almost trebled its distribution in the last 12 months.
When most television channels are facing a severe financial crunch MTV is
having a whale of a time. Some of India's largest youth brands "Pepsi,
Colgate Gel, Levis, Candico, Phillips, Coca-Cola, Eveready, Dabur and Elle
18"advertise on the channel.
MTV added a whole bunch of new veejays, including the hugely
popular Cyrus Broacha and Nikhil Chinapa and Shenaz Treasurywalla, as part
of an image change. MTV’s success is also mainly because of a three-
pronged programme "humanizing, weirdness quotient and an Indianised
content. They have a lot of career and interactive shows. "Because of the
wacky language and content MTV has become a youth icon in 73 countries."
MTV's success can also be attributed to the fact that the crowd working for
the channel is very young. People who are with them are engineers, law
graduates, advertising students but who are passionate about their work.
Icing on the Cake
The strategic decision has finally yielded dividends. Less than two
years after MTV decided to go desi, the music exclusive channel has started
attracting advertisers and sponsors in a big way.
Rating of the channel picked up significantly once it recast the
content from a typical European one to 70:30 formula, where 70 per cent
content is based on Indian themes and topics. This pushed MTV to top slot in
Youth Marketing 56
the segment and with our quality and topical content MTV is currently way
ahead of the competition.
SMS - its shrt'n'swt, its gr8 fun, & evn bd splng wrks!
If you are able to read through that sentence without
blinking, then you are one of the millions across India who are avid
fans of SMS, or short messaging service-that natty feature on your
mobile phone which lets you keep in touch with anyone around the
world for almost nothing.
With estimates of SMS sent in India every day pinned at 70 lakh (GSM, the
wireless industry body, puts the number of messages sent in the first six months of
last year at 50 billion), corporates and techies are coming up with novel means and
uses for what is turning out to be the killer application of the mobile era. Cellular
networks staggered and many got jammed on New Year's Day as greetings zipped
through the lines. "It's a surprise that no network collapsed," says a cellular. The
statistics demonstrate that SMS has become an integral part of urban
lifestyles, mainly youth.
With its ease of use, it is redefining the way people communicate with
friends and family not only in India but across the globe."
Young executives stuck in boring board meetings 'text' each other jokes and
comments about the boss. The very people who often complained that having a
mobile phone is like being on call 24 hours a day have woken up to the potential
Business magnates and celebrities, like Ekta Kapoor, now give mobile
numbers to dealers, associates and colleagues, and request not to be called, but
messaged. "Message me, that's the best way to get in touch," says Rohit Bal,
India's top fashion designer. An official at Hutchison says, “And it is a great
means to communicate, since it does not intrude on your privacy, is not specific to
a time zone and provides value for money."
Youth Marketing 57
A vital aspect behind the success of SMS is that from Rs 2 in some circles
to 50 paise or even free in others, it comes cheap. And messages can be sent to
virtually anywhere, from one mobile to another or from a PC (popular Websites
like mtnsms.com) to a mobile phone.
Operators across India also have been promoting SMS-ing. Nokia recently
held the So Much Stuff challenge competition in cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai
and Delhi to promote SMS. Many youth brands, especially Coke, Pepsi and
Channel V, have been running SMS promos to hook in their target audience.
Television shows like Indian Idol, Super Singer, etc. and many shows use
the SMS service to get the votes for the participants and also engage the viewer to
participate in various contests. In this way the hook the customers and make them
pay a premium for the service they are utilizing. Kids, youngsters and women are
the target audiences for these services. E.g. Service providers like 8888, 2424, etc
are tying up with various shows and hooking the audience by asking them to sms
to vote or participate in various contests.
"SMS will eventually become UMS or 'unified messaging service', where
there would be one way of doing many services. SMS is new buzzword among the
youth and a great opportunity for the marketers. “R u lisnin?”
Youth Marketing 58
Marketing to Youth (children & teenagers)
If the last ten years have taught us anything, it is that the industry is dominated by
the companies who respond most to the needs of younger smokers.
(Imperial Tobacco, Canada)
Since ages the tobacco companies worldwide have been targeting the youth market
for its products. The importance of youth market has been realized by the industry and thus
directly and indirectly, legally and illegally, etc. and via several means they have been
targeting children and teenagers to hook them to smoking. The case study shows that how
some of the major US tobacco companies have been hooking the youth since as early as
the 50’s. The various events has been mentioned order of their occurrence in the case
Publicly the tobacco companies have always maintained that they do not target
youth, but the market logic of selling to teenagers is overpowering - teenagers are the key
battleground for the tobacco companies and for the industry as a whole. Their response has
been that peer pressure is the most important aspect in children smoking. But internal
documents sharply contradict this, by showing that they set out to aggressively advertise to
youth, and even manipulate peer pressure to make people smoke their brand.
The industry knows that very few people start smoking in the teenage years, and if
you can "hook" a youngster early on they could well smoke your brand for life. Indeed,
independent surveys show that approximately 60 per cent of smokers start by the age of 13
Youth Marketing 59
and fully 90 per cent before the age of 20. This is the paradox of the cigarette industry – it
is both socially and legally unacceptable to advertise to under-age teenagers and children –
yet it is to this precise age group that it has to advertise to in order to survive.
The case study shows that the tobacco industry:
• Thought about using honey and comic strip, as well as advertising, to entice
youngsters to smoke.
• Looked at ways of preventing teenagers from quitting.
• Undertook studies how to manipulate pubescent/teenage anxieties into making
people smoke. Examined the attitudes, aspirations, and lifestyles of the young and
how to exploit them.
The case study also shows that:
• Advertisers set out to equate cigarettes with rebellion, self-expression, self-
confidence, independence, freedom, adult identity, masculinity for boys and
femininity for girls.
• Two of the most successful advertising campaigns: Marlboro’s Cowboy and RJ
Reynolds’ Old Joe Camel pitched their appeal directly to youth.
• The companies advertised in sports magazines and sponsored motor racing as new
ways to market to youth
What is known - key facts about marketing to children
• Cigarette advertising reaches children as young as three. In one study six year olds
were as familiar with Joe Camel as Mickey Mouse. Other studies have found that
Joe Camel appeals more to kids than adults.
• Children were most aware of the cigarette brands which are most frequently
associated with sponsored sporting events on TV.
Youth Marketing 60
• Nine year old children are receiving the positive message from cigarette
advertisements at the age when they are most likely to try their first cigarette.
• The most commonly remembered brands by 11 year olds are the most heavily
• In one study, a third of the 10- and 11-year-olds and more than half of the
secondary school children were able to name cigarette brands and sponsored sports.
• Advertising campaigns targeted at older teenagers and young adults are likely to
present qualities which younger teenagers find attractive.
• Teenagers consume the cigarettes which most dominate sports sponsorship.
The great fallacy promoted by the industry is that by avoiding marketing that is
childish, they are somehow avoiding an appeal to children. In fact, advertising to children
and teenagers works precisely because it identifies smoking with adulthood. The teenage
years are a time of great aspiration and insecurity, smoking can become a badge or
signifier of certain positive values - these are remorselessly nurtured by tobacco industry
What the industry said and what it knew
1957: A Philip Morris Executive writes that "hitting the youth can be
more efficient even though the cost to reach them is higher, because
they are willing to experiment, they have more influence over others in
their age group than they will later in life, and they are far more loyal to
their starting brand."
The cowboy –
out to capture
Late 50’s: Philip Morris starts using the Cowboy image on its
commercials, because the image "would turn the rookie smokers on to
Marlboro, the right image to capture the youth market’s fancy, a perfect
symbol of independence and individualistic rebellion"
As one executive who worked on Marlboro recalled "When you see
teenage boys - people the cigarette companies aren’t supposed to be
Youth Marketing 61
targeting in the first place – going crazy for this guy, you know they’re
hitting their target.
1968: Philip Morris produces Virginia Slims, a cigarette targeted
exclusively at women, running the slogan: "You Have Come Along
Way Baby". Within six years of the Slims launch, the percentage of
teenage women who smoked had nearly doubled.
Youth share 1969: 23 May: A report for Philip Morris identifies that over 15 per
cent of female smokers aged 15, and 23 per cent of male smokers aged
15, smoke Marlboro.
means I am no
Autumn: A draft report to the Board of Directors of Philip Morris
"A cigarette for the beginner is a symbolic act. I am no longer my
mother's child, I'm tough, I am an adventurer, I'm not square … As the
force from the psychological symbolism subsides, the pharmacological
effect takes over to sustain the habit".
the need to
appeal to youth
1973: 2 February: Claude Teague, Assistant Chief in R&D at RJ
Reynolds, writes a paper: "Some Thoughts About New Brands of
Cigarettes for the Youth Market":
"At the outset it should be said that we are presently, and I believe
unfairly, constrained from directly promoting cigarettes to the youth
market … if our company is to survive and prosper, over the long term
we must get our share of the youth market. Thus we need new brands
designed to be particularly attractive to the young smoker, while ideally
at the same time appealing to all smokers. Perhaps these questions may
be best approached by consideration of factors influencing pre-smokers
to try smoking, learn to smoke and become confirmed smokers."
"thus a new brand aimed at the young smoker must somehow become
the ‘in’ brand and its promotion should emphasise togetherness,
belonging and group acceptance, while at the same time emphasising
individuality and ‘doing one’s own thing’. The teens and early twenties
are periods of intense psychological stress, restlessness and boredom.
Youth Marketing 62
Many social awkward situations are encountered. The minute or two
required to stop and light a cigarette, ask for a light, find an ash tray,
and the like provide something to do during periods of awkwardness
and boredom. The fragile, developing self-image of the young person
needs all of the support and enhancement it can get …This self-image
enhancement effect has traditionally been a strong promotional theme
for cigarette brands and should continue to be emphasised … a careful
study of the current youth jargon, together with a review of currently
used high school American history books and like sources for valued
things might be a good start at finding a good brand name and image
theme. This is obvious a task for marketing people, not research
Use comic strip 12 April: A RJR document articulates that:
"In view of the need to reverse the preference for Marlboros among
younger smokers, I wonder whether comic strip type copy might get a
much higher readership among younger people than any other type of
copy. It would certainly seem worth testing a heavy dose of this type of
copy in a test market to get a research reading on percentage of
readership and copy recall."
Study as young
18 May: The Philip Morris Marketing Research Department highlight
"Probability sample of 452 teen-agers ages 12-17" finds that 13 per cent
smoke an average of 10.6 cigarettes per day and how "the data from the
study are consonant with the findings of other such studies, both at
Philip Morris and without."
of young as
30 September: A RJR marketing plan for 1975 outlines "Key
Opportunity Areas" to
"Increase our young adult franchise ... in 1960, this young adult market,
the 14-24 age group, represented 21% of the population ... they will
represent 27 % of the population in 1975. They represent tomorrow's
cigarette business. As this 14-24 age group matures, they will account
for a key share of the total cigarette volume -- for at least the next 25
years ...Thus our advertising strategy becomes clear for our established
Youth Marketing 63
brands: Direct advertising appeal to the younger smokers. For Winston,
we’ve followed this strategy in developing the new ‘candid’ advertising
campaign. It is especially designed to appeal to young adults .."
appeal to young
26 November: An internal RJR document outlines its primary
"Marketing Goals" for 1975. These include
"Increase our Young Adult Franchise: 14-24 age group in 1960 was
21% of the population; in 1975 will be 27%. As they mature, will
account for key market share of cigarette volume for next 25 years …
We will direct advertising appeal to this young adult group without
alienating the brand’s current franchise".
Target 15 year
12 December: A B&W document highlights that the
"Target audience for the sampling effort on KOOL King Size" includes
both Men and Women in the 15-24 age group."
growth rate due
A report by a Philip Morris researcher Myron E. Johnston to the head of
Research at Philip Morris, Robert B. Seligman outlines that:
"Marlboro's phenomenal growth rate in the past has been attributable in
large part to our high market penetration among young smokers ... 15 to
19 years old . . . my own data, which includes younger teenagers, shows
even higher Marlboro market penetration among 15-17-year-olds …
Marlboro smokers, being on the average considerably younger than the
total smoking population, tend to have lower than average incomes ..
the decline in the popularity of Marlboro Red among younger smokers
will probably continue and , thus, further reduce its rate of growth"
for 14-18 year
olds to maintain
15 March: A RJR document outlining "Planning Assumptions and
Forecasts for the period 1976-1986" outlines that:
"Evidence is now available to indicate that the 14-18-year old group is
an increasing segment of the smoking population. RJR-T must soon
establish a successful new brand in this market if our position in the
industry is to be maintained over the long term".
The purpose of Project 16 (Imperial Tobacco Canada) is outlined:
"Since how the beginning smoker feels today has implications for the
future of the industry, it follows that a study of this area would be of
Youth Marketing 64
much interest. Project 16 was designed to do just that - to learn
everything there was to learn about how smoking begins, how high
school students feel about being smokers, and how they foresee their
use of tobacco in the future."
Peer pressure is
important at 11,
but may want to
quit by 17
The summary of the findings of Project 16 are that:
"There is no doubt that peer group influence is the single most
important factor in the decision by an adolescent to smoke …Serious
efforts to learn to smoke occur between ages 12 and 13 in most case.
However intriguing smoking was at 11, 12 , or 13 , by the age of 16 or
17 many regretted their use of cigarettes for health reasons and because
they feel unable to stop smoking when they want to. By the age of 16,
peer pressure to initiate others to smoking is gone."
1979: A Philip Morris memo states that:
"Marlboro dominates in the 17 and younger age category, capturing
over 50 percent of the market"
Today’s teen is
1981: A Philip Morris researcher Myron E. Johnston sends a memo to
Robert B. Seligman, then Vice President of research and development
at Philip Morris in Richmond:
"It is important to know as much as possible about teenage smoking
patterns and attitudes. Today's teenager is tomorrow's potential regular
customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to
smoke while in their teens ….it is during the teenage years that the
initial brand choice is made: At least a part of the success of Marlboro
Red during its most rapid growth period was because it became the
brand of choice among teenagers who then stuck with it as they grew
Joe Camel ads
as young as
The Journal of the American Medical Association finds that adverts for
Joe Camel are effective in reaching children. In one study more than
half of the children aged three to six who were presented with a variety
of products matched the Joe Camel logo with a photo of a cigarette. Six
year olds were found to be nearly as familiar with Joe Camel as Mickey
Mouse. The study finds that when children were shown Joe Camel
adverts, 96 per cent correctly identified the brand, compared with only
Youth Marketing 65
67 per cent of adults.
Then sports are
a reason for
A report for Imperial Tobacco of Canada states:
"Starters no longer disbelieve the dangers of smoking, but they almost
universally assume these risks will not apply to themselves because
they will not become addicted. Once addiction does take place, it
becomes necessary for the smoker to make peace with the accepted
hazards. This is done by a wide range of rationalizations. The desire to
quit seems to come earlier now than before, even prior to the end of
high school. In fact, it often seems to take hold as soon as the recent
starter admits to himself that he is hooked on smoking. However the
desires to quit, and actually carrying it out, are two different things, as
the would-be quitter soon learns …the single most commonly voiced
reasons for quitting among those who had done so was …sports."
drawn to youth
1984: A RJR report, entitled "Young Adult Smokers: Strategies and
Opportunities" states that:
"Younger adult smokers have been the critical factor in the growth and
decline of every major brand and company over the last 50 years. They
will continue to be just as important to brands/companies in the future
for two simple reasons: The renewal of the market stems almost entirely
from 18-year-old smokers. No more than 5 percent of smokers start
after age 24. The brand loyalty of 18-year-old smokers far outweighs
any tendency to switch with age. Once a brand becomes well-developed
among younger adult smokers, ageing and brand loyalty will eventually
transmit that strength to older age brackets. Brands/companies which
fail to attract their fair share of younger adult smokers face an uphill
battle. They must achieve net switching gains every year to merely hold
share... Younger adult smokers are the only source of replacement
smokers. If younger adults turn away from smoking, the industry must
decline, just as a population which does not give birth will eventually
critical to our
The report continues… "Younger adult smokers are critical to RJR’s
long term performance and profitability. Because of the sensitivity of
the younger adult smoker market, brand development / management
Youth Marketing 66
performance should encompass all aspects of marketing mix and maintain a long-
term, single minded focus to all elements – product, advertising, name,
packaging, media, promotion and distribution. Marlboro’s key imagery
was not masculinity; it was younger adult identity/belonging –the brand
for average younger adults, popular and acceptable among younger
adult friends, not ‘too different’."
Motor racing is
a fast, trendy
sport for the
November: Gordon Watson, General Manger of BAT in Hong Kong on
sponsorship of the Macau Grand Prix :
"We’re not handing out money for nothing. We have gone into this very
thoroughly and the entire publicity is built around motor racing, seen as
a fast, exiting, trendy sport for the young and, if you like, the young at
heart. That’s who we are aiming at in the local market and early
indications are that we’re on target".
Smoking is for
RJR runs a series of adverts aimed at telling children that smoking is for
"We don’t advertise to children. First of all, we don’t want young
people to smoke. And we’re running ads aimed specifically at young
people advising them that we think smoking is strictly for adults. Kids
just don’t pay attention to cigarette ads, and that’s how it should be."
aware of brands
A study published in the Health Education Journal finds that:
"Children were most aware of the cigarette brands which are most
frequently associated with sponsored sporting events on TV. This
demonstrates that the TV sports sponsorship by tobacco manufacturers
acts as cigarette advertising to children and therefore circumvents the
law banning cigarette advertisements on TV".
smoking by 13
years - 90%
before they are
A study into Tobacco Advertising and Consumption by Joe Tye,
Kenneth Warner and Stanton Glantz remarks that:
"Approximately 60 per cent of smokers start by the age of 13 and fully
90 per cent before the age of 20. These statistics translate in to the need
for more than 5,000 children and teenagers to begin smoking every day
to maintain the current size of the smoking population."
Industry 1987/ 88: Imperial Tobacco’s (Canada) marketing plan states:
Youth Marketing 67
young – need to
"If the last ten years have taught us anything, it is that the industry is
dominated by the companies who respond most to the needs of younger
smokers. Our efforts on these brands will remain on maintaining their
relevance to smokers in these younger groups in spite of the share
performance they may develop among older smokers. Re-establish clear
distinct images for brands with particular emphasis on relevance to
younger smokers. Shift resources substantially in favour of avenues that
allow for the expression and reinforcement of these image
appeals more to
kids than adults
1991: A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association
finds that Joe Camel appeals far more to children than adults. Thirty per
cent of three year olds and 91 per cent of six year olds knew that Joe
Camel was connected with cigarettes . The researchers found that: "Old
Joe, the cartoon character promoting Camel cigarettes had the highest
recognition rate among the tested cigarette logos. Market researchers
believe that brand awareness created in childhood can be the basis for
product preference later in life. It has been shown that children prefer
the brands they see advertised …The children in this study
demonstrated high recognition rates of brand logos for products that are
targeted to both children and adults. Cigarette advertising no longer
appears on television and very young children cannot read. Yet by the
age of 6 years, Old Joe is as well recognised as Mickey Mouse".
designed to stop
Another study published in The Journal of the American Medical
"The tobacco industry’s sponsorship of sporting events, such as the
Camel Superiors motorcycle race, should be seen in relation to its need
to discourage teenagers from quitting.
Our study provides further evidence that tobacco advertising promotes
and maintains nicotine addiction among children and adolescents. A
total ban of tobacco advertising and promotions, as part of an effort to
protect children from the dangers of tobacco, can be based on sound
So much A review of "Direct Tobacco Advertising and its Impact on Children"
Youth Marketing 68
in the Journal of Smoking Related Diseases concludes that
"There is now so much evidence that children identify sports
sponsorship and brand-stretching as cigarette advertisements, and that
advertisements aimed at adults have an even greater effect on under-age
children, that statements from the tobacco industry that it does not
advertise to children are irrelevant."
Joe is attractive
Ex Philip Morris executive said:
"You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to work out what’s going on. Just
look at the ads. Its ludicrous for them to deny that a cartoon character
like Joe Camel is attractive to kids"
greater factor in
kids to smoke
1995: A study carried out by the University of California finds that
tobacco advertising is a stronger factor than peer pressure in
encouraging under 18 children to smoke. One of the authors, Dr.
Pearce, says: "It is not that children see an ad and start smoking, but
seeing the ads and handling the cigarette packets and the promotional
gifts lessens their resistance, weakens their resolve, so later on they will
be somewhat more willing to accept a cigarette from a peer when it is
They got lips,
we want them
Terence Sullivan a sales rep in Florida for RJ Reynolds:
"We were targeting kids, and I said at the time it was unethical and
maybe illegal, but I was told it was just company policy".
Sullivan remembers someone asking who exactly were the young
people were that RJR were targeting, junior high school kids or even
The reply was "They got lips? We want them".
The case study shows that how youth marketing has been used since a very long
time and it can be a double –edged sword. Youth marketing when can be beneficial for the
society than it can also be used as an unethical tool to influence children and teens. The
tobacco companies have been doing so since decades even after knowing that it is socially
and legally unacceptable. But they are just bothered about their profits and not the society.
Thus, youth marketing also has its disadvantages and therefore should be used for ethical
Youth Marketing 69
purposes and to enhance the knowledge of the youth and also benefit the companies at the
Understanding the Rural Youth
from Marketing Perspective
In the recent years a changing pattern in the buying behaviour of rural
families has been observed. The role of male rural youth in the purchase decisions
of the family has been becoming more and more significant. Moreover, the
marketers have always found it easier to target youth for a whole range of product.
Understanding the male rural youth with the following objectives:
Media habits of the rural youth.
The aspirations of rural youth
The role and influence of the youth in buying decisions of the family for
various categories of products
The stage in their life after which the opinion of the youth is considered
Youth Marketing 70
The most important age group of male rural youth that has a major
influence in family buying decisions and are also concerned about latest brands
and products is the age group of 20 to 22 years.
The best media to communicate the message are television and cinema. The
favourite slots can be cricket matches (especially when India is playing and
excellent when India is playing with Pakistan) and movies preferably action
movies being featured on television or a latest action movie running in cinema
halls. DD1 and DD2 have the highest reach due to lack of cable television facility
and Sony where cable television has reached. Radio and newspaper are not popular
amongst rural youth except to access cricket news.
The ad recall is high of action sequence or a very unique idea like Mirinda
clones. Their endorsement of a product by their favourite cricket and media stars
may not be enough to influence them to buy a product but it definitely increases
the registration and recall of the ad. Tendulkar has a very high recall in rural areas
as well. So, he can be used effectively for both.
The role models of male rural youth are elder members of the family who
have been successful in big towns, cities or metros. So, this theme can be used to
The western attire has become a part and parcel of male rural youth’s dress
code. But, branded clothes and shoes have not been able to make any mark here.
The male rural youth prefers sober wear and there is a huge potential as has been
proved by major rural sales of Arvind Mills brand Ruf & Tuf. Arvind Mills
positioned its brand Ruf and Tuf by creating a Macho image .Used Akshay Kumar
as the Ruf and Tuf guy to promise the brands USP i.e. Durability .
Rural youths are the major consumer of cold drinks in these areas. Thus, if
the chocolate, confectionery, wafers, noodles companies have to enter these
markets youth are their only gateway. Parle-G or Tiger biscuits have become
family consumption products but it will take a long time for premium products
Youth Marketing 71
like Marie Gold or Milk Bikies to enter these markets and even that can be only
possible through youth or teenagers.
For FMCG products especially the personal care products like toothpaste,
soap, toothbrush, shampoo, shaving products etc. male rural youth are the prophets
Motorcycle is the favourite two-wheeler amongst rural youth. It is
important to realize that the rural guys look for the same attributes as any other
youth and are the most important category to be targeted in rural areas. Here they
should encash on the macho image associated with a bike for these guys.
Hero Honda is tapping this to the hilt by cleaver advertising featuring the 2
famous icons Saurav & Hritik, TVS has followed suit with Sachin as the Brand
Mahindra and Mahindra, a company that has left a mark in the rural areas
came up with Mahindra MAXX in 2001 that focused on satisfying the emotional
and rational flank. Mahindra conducted a national wide survey to find out the
needs of the rural customer especially the youth.Some of the insights that emerged
from the survey which were implemented for the product launch:
Rural customers needed a vehicle that was spacious, sturdy, rugged, tough and
inexpensive, one that provided more value and a more aspirational image.
For family durable like television, audio system and refrigerator youth can
be an important influencer though not the ultimate decision-maker. At the same
time the big brands will have to fight the local and spurious brands on various
fronts price, reach, relationship marketing and after sale service.
All the decisions related to agriculture and agriculture durable are a
prerogative of the head of the family or the elders of the village.
One of the most convenient categories for rural market research is the
male rural youth in the age group of 15 to 25 years. The important locations
Youth Marketing 72
to spot male rural youth for interviews and group discussion are cricket
playgrounds and young retailer’s shop/STD booth.
THE INTIMACY MARKET &
ITS RELEVENCE TO THE INDIA YOUTH
Unlike Westerners, whose lifestyles the upper income classes in India so
often assiduously try to imitate, a great majority of Indians, by any stretch of
imagination, are not traditionally known to be intimate people, at least not very
overtly. In fact, the continued existence of the joint family system in many parts
of the country, even after a great deal of urbanization, and the traditional shyness
and coyness associated with both males and females here (especially when
interacting with one another which in itself tends to be mainly within the family
and relatives circles) have always been considered major inhabitants.
This is an important reason why the usage of personal care products like
deodorants, mouth fresheners and perfumes is still low in India compared to the
potential purchasing power of the masses in urban and rural areas. These products
are used extensively in the West by people of all ages and both sexes as items of
daily consumption and are meant to make the user feel good and enhance his or
her attractiveness with the opposite sex.
Youth Marketing 73
In India, marketers have informally identified a major market segment
today, which is growing by leaps and bounds, thanks to the changing lifestyles,
higher aspirations and increasing purchasing power of the urbanized middle
classes. It would not therefore be wrong to broadly term this market as the
‘Intimacy market’, since the basic premise of this market segment is that there is a
growing demand for commodities that can enhance the need and desire for
intimacy for the consumer.
Consider a common (by Western standards) personal care youth product
like a mouth freshener, which would have been considered absurd to use a few
years earlier in India. Today you have brands like Prudent, AM to PM, Johnson
and Johnson Mouth Rinse, Close Up Acti-Rinse along with the old faithful
Listerine being extensively advertised on TV and in the press. The fact that even
today these brands are requiring a tremendous amount of marketing effort to be
widely accepted by its target audience is a clear indicator of Indians indifference
to intimacy enhancers. Recently we witnessed the arrival of internationally known
brand of breath freshener Clorets making its entry in India.
However, a fact that such products have been considered viable to launched
on a big scale in India is in itself quite a revelation. While Indian mouths are like
most others in the world, neither very scented nor particularly foul-smelling, the
crux of the matter is that, today, a lot more people are finding it necessary or
desirable to enhance or maintain their attractiveness. The reasons for this are
many, the primary ones being the increasing influence of western lifestyles as seen
on TV networks like Star TV, BBC and Cable and an equally important trend, the
greatly increasing number of women entering the white collar work force. It is an
indisputable fact that the intimacy market has received a major boost in India due
to these changing trends in society.
In India, a product like condom has always been perceived to be a hush-
hush one, more talked about than seen, and certainly not one you could or should
splash on the pages of all national newspapers and magazines. Its usage was
advertised more as a necessity, like a medicine. Moreover, it was always regarded
Youth Marketing 74
as a convenience tool, not as a means by which consumer should seek to enhance,
their pleasure or get more intimate with one another. Yet in the Kamasutra brand
of condom campaign devised by India’s premier ad agencies, Lintas, the product
was positioned as offering much more than mere utility. A similar strategy has
been adopted in positioning other brands like Moods, Adam and Kohinoor. Also,
consider the flurry of activity that is happening in male cosmetics market and you
will notice the quest to look and smell good. You already have products like under
arm deodorants, deodorant body sprays, cologne and aftershave. Even a
multinational like Levers realizes the importance of this market and has
introduced Rexona Deodorant and Denim Cologne and Aftershave.
There are many more recent examples of how some of the most successful
marketing outfits are trying to cash in on the growing desire for intimacy among
an increasing number of younger and older people.
Product brands like Archies Cards which have found it worthwhile to
spend crores on advertising in order to attract the urbanized youth to spend on
their products which are meant to further intimacy and convey feelings among
members of the opposite sex, besides other occasions. The card market, in fact,
has really taken off especially among young collegians all over India who throng
such stores. The Archies Card ad suggests how a young, urbanized collegian who
has lost his girlfriend could win back her love and affection by sending an
attractive Archies card.
Lifebuoy has introduced a variant, Lifebuoy Personal, primarily positioned
as deodorant soap and its advertisement is targeted at the male who faces rejection
because of body odor. Or consider the Ivana brand of perfumes launched by
Lakme. The ads try to convey a strong sense of intimacy between the couple who
are holding each other and dancing closely.
The Titan range of watches also recently flashed an ad which showed a
young lover presenting his beloved with Titan Watch while the band in the hotel
played her favorite tune. A watch was thus shown as a gift of love rather than
merely a staid and sober time-keeping device.
Youth Marketing 75
The growth of the intimacy market would well be much faster and more
widespread in the future because as the economy becomes much more
internationalized and westernized, the market for such products (which has been
lying largely untapped till now) will simply explode. In the 1980s, the market for
women’s cosmetics had opened tremendously compared with the earlier decades as
many more women entered the official work force. Now the intimacy market, if
one may say so, is set to take off. Marketers will benefit a lot by introducing
intimacy enhancing brands and also making their existing brands appeal to the
intimacy conscious segment. As the youth of this country become much more
image and fashion conscious and begin to intermingle more freely with the
opposite sex, especially in India’s innumerable smaller towns and cities,
marketers could well be laughing all the way to the bank.
CURRENT YOUTH FLAVOUR - TURNING YOUR
BRANDS INTO CELEBRITIES
In India today, the use of celebrity advertising for companies has become a
trend and a perceived winning formula of corporate image-building and product
marketing. Associating a brand with a top-notch celebrity can do more than perk
up brand recall. It can create linkages with the star’s appeal, thereby adding
refreshing and new dimensions to the brand image.
Celebrities have proved to be the ideal way to ensure brand prominence.
Synergizing personality with product and message can create an instant
breakthrough. Result? Brand buzz. People begin to notice, opportunities come
about. People want to be a part of the brand. Touch It. Feel it. Experience it.
‘Celebrities as Brands’ is a concept-selling challenge, as the current notion of
celebrity management is far from ideal — it’s perceived as a business that merely
attaches the celebrity to the brand to get that added advantage. However, the
actual job is not mere brokerage — it’s about selecting a spokesperson whose
characteristics are congruent with the brand image.
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In India today, the use of celebrity advertising for companies has become a
trend and a perceived winning formula of corporate image-building and product
marketing. This phenomenon is reflected in the recent market research finding
that 8 out of 10 TV commercials scoring the highest recall were those with
A few examples: Sachin Tendulkar - Adidas, Sourav Ganguly -
Britannia, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati - J. Hampstead, Shah Rukh
Khan - Pepsi, and Aamir Khan -Coke.
The effectiveness of the endorser depends upon the meaning he or she
brings to the endorsement process.
There is a three-stage process of meaning transfer which involves the
formation of the celebrity image, transfer of meaning from celebrity to brand and
finally from brand to consumer. This is what leads to effective celebrity
The selection of a celebrity for a brand is done primarily on the basis of a
marketing brief prepared either by the corporate or the advertising agency. Once
the relationship between the brief, the brand and the celebrity is established, the
association is accomplished.
For example, when S. Kumar was to launch its new range of readymade
garments, Tamariind, there was the realization that one brand of apparel couldn’t
be very different from the others, and what would make the difference was the
packaging. So in came teen heartthrob Hrithik Roshan. The brand personality of
Tamariind matches that of Hrithik — Tamariind being a new brand and Hrithik the
new heartthrob. The idea behind Tamariind is the ‘flavor you wear’ — a brand
catering to the fun-loving and adventurous youth. And the ambassador chosen
Hrithik Roshan is a successful and extremely exciting personality — a youth
icon of today’s times. So the marriage is apt and justified.
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It is also important for one to be completely clear about why a brand should
use a celebrity. Is it to boost sales or to boost image? Or is it just to keep the
brand alive? If the objective is increase of sales, the celebrity should be used for
short-term promotions and brand activities.
“A classic example is the Rani Mukherjee campaign for Bata which is believed
to have helped boost sales for the ladies’ footwear brand, Sundrop, by a
whopping 500 per cent.”
Note of Caution: There’s one fact that advertisers using celebrity endorsements
need to keep in mind — never let the celebrity become your brand. In doing so,
one runs the risk of killing the brand no sooner has the hype and hoopla around the
Words from the wise
“Youth symbolizes dynamism, a way forward, positive attitude but we still have
long way to go as far as education and global awareness goes and that’s the only way
forward for the Indian youth not to cut things out of the west but be able to study what
happens in the west, imbibe the positive aspects of it combining the family values that we
have been bought up in India to put together an Indian youth that is a world leader on the
global stage “
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“If you feel there is a sense of involvement and responsibility with the country ,if
you feel you want to be a part of a project ,part of that journey, part of their excitement
:then each one of the youth has to contribute feel 100 % committed to India and feel
enough and strongly for the country and be a part of the country’s success story”
“Youth and Film Industry to me is a two way street” .We film makers get
influenced by today s youth in terms of what they wear ,what their language is like ,what
words they use; and they also in turn get influenced by the stuff what we show in our
MR MANECK PATEL
Senior Vice President
Taj Group of Hotels
“The youth has always played a very important role. the whole structure has
changed from a more healthy conservative individuals from a more younger generation
who have the spending capacity and they the ones who dictate the trends that go through
in the hospitality industry”
CEO, The Economic Times
"Brand Equity has consistently presented new trends to emerge in the world of
marketing, advertising, media and consumer research. The youth are the demographic
group with the most rapid evolution of preferences and a constant challenge to
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“We the channel which is of the youth, for the youth and by the youth “
Everything what we do in the channel is governed by the whims and fancies, the
dreams, the desires of the youth .Most of the team is a young team. It’s a very young
channel .We know what the youngsters want because we do a lot of research to figure out
what exactly are their hopes ,aspirations and ambitions
Indian Youth – The Final Say
CNBC's Storyboard has studied in depth the Indian Youth Market There
was a time, Storyboard said, when the youth market was considered a niche:
Today, the niche is the market. There are 100 million young Indians today, the
program pointed out, and their attitude is `have money, will spend'. It helps that
globalization has ``brought in a bunch of goodies''. The youth market is booming,
and marketers are right out there taking advantage.
Still, there are huge opportunities that marketers in India are missing out
on, especially when it comes to global brands. Anyone who can manage to connect
with the mass of this generation has everything tied up. It is not that simple
though: The advantage that several of these brands have is that they are
aspirational, and the moment they start to become common, they will no longer
As Mr. Harish Doraiswamy of Adidas said: ``the moment we start being all
things to all people, the appeal of the brand vanishes''. It is an observation that is
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borne out by the study that the Indian Market Research Bureau conducted for
MTV and Pepsi recently: The moment something becomes common, it stops being
Besides the aspiration to wear a brand like Adidas or for that matter an
Oakley needs to be balanced by purchasing power. After all, when it comes to the
crunch that really is what counts. No wonder so many of these brands has fared so
miserably in India.
While young people as such do no have enormous direct purchasing power
in India, they have enormous influence in purchase decisions - thus, when a car or
a washing machine is bought, the young people in the house are consulted.
The youth represent a growing market. Today's niche can become tomorrow’s
mainstream. And savvy marketers who catch them young and hold on to them despite their
idiosyncrasies will reap enormous benefits.
Books & Magazines
1. Marketing Management - Rajan Saxena
2. The Marketing Whitebook 2005 (Businessworld)
3. Branding in Asia – Paul Temporal
4. Contemporary Marketing Wired - Boone and Kurtz
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