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Getting well with a Gold Flake

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Getting well with a Gold Flake

by haobuhaow » Thu Aug 06, 2020 1:11 am

AS BRAND extensions go, greeting cards are as far removed from cigarettes as chalk is from cheese.

But that did not deter tobacco major ITC from extending the name of `Gold Flake', its popular brand of cigarettes, to greeting cards, now being test-marketed in Chennai.

The company has been extending its popular cigarette brands into related products. A holiday package product is already associated with the name `Gold Flake'. If inhaling the smoke from a wad of tobacco, suitably rolled in a piece of paper, is a `fun' statement, associating the same name to holidaying could legitimately be regarded as a logical extension of the underlying `fun' attribute implicit in the name. But the link to greetings cards could only be tenuous.

ITC's decision, the report suggests, was undoubtedly influenced by the immense strides the industry has made in recent years Carton Of Newport 100S. For long, the business of conveying an individual's sentiment for another has largely been the preserve of the Post and Telegraph Department, though it holds a simplistic and somewhat archaic view in the matter of messages and greetings. According to the P Department, if the bride's father is to be greeted on the occasion of his daughter's marriage, what better way to convey one's sentiment than with a simple, even if staid, message: `May heaven's choicest blessings be showered on the young couple'?

For sheer simplicity and a certain shoot-from-the-hip directness, it is hard to match. It leaves the recipient in no doubt whatever about the feelings of the sender. But the trouble with this approach is it is so dull that it is calculated to appeal only to those who cannot afford to be seen as indifferent to the event.

In other words, the P approach is unlikely to trigger the kind of impulsive expressions of sentiment between parent and a child Cheap Cigarettes Free Shipping, or among lovers, friends and siblings, that is so essential for volume growth. It is difficult to imagine your average run-of-the-mill Romeo serenading his lady love clutching a P greeting printed on newsprint quality paper. The anticipated effect would simply be missing Newport Cigarettes Carton Price.

Providing a framework to prospective customers for their impulsive outpouring of affection is not all there to this industry. Business prospects have been given a leg up by other means as well. Marketers in this business have come up with an innovation. They have persuaded people into believing that affection not only needs to be expressed, but preferably through a greeting card. That society has veered around to the view such expressions as mere episodic exercises does not hurt the industry. Thus, mothers are recognised for the valuable role they play in shaping the children by showering them with special resolutions -- greeting cards printed in art paper, on a pre-designated day of the year.

The concept has been expanded to rope in the Father, Brother, Sister, Teacher and all manner of relationships involving human beings with each entity getting one day in a year. The lamp of affection may burn bright deep inside one's heart. But it would not hurt to bring its luminiscence out in the open through the medium of greeting card, seems to be the message of this industry itself.

The biggest beneficiary of this newfound craze for written expressions of love and affection is Archies Greetings Card and Gifts. This company's turnover increased from Rs 20 crore to Rs 70 crore, and profits from Rs 1.6 crore to Rs 13 crore in the last four years. But having said that, the industry is not having things too easy this year. It is facing competition from an unlikely source -- the Internet, in what is yet another case of the real economy facing a threat from the virtual economy.

Customers are increasingly turning to the Net to send their messages of greeting. As computer penetration increases, the competition from this segment to the greeting card industry is only going to intensify. In a way, the industry is being paid in its own coin. They say that if sending a card in printed form is the real thing, sending it in electronic form would serve just as well. Not surprisingly, this is beginning to reflect on the finances of companies engaged in this business, at least going by the first quarter results of Archies Greetings and Gifts. The company has turned in marginally lower sales and profits, which are substantially lower than its performance this time last year.

Viewed in the backdrop of the structural changes taking place in the greeting card industry it might seem that ITC has timed its entry into this business at the wrong moment. It needs a profusion of events, important and trivial, to boost volumes. The flood of get-well cards to the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, after his knee surgery, would not have hurt the industry.

While it would not make good business sense to enter an industry on the expectations of a rash of illness among top politicians, they could drum up custom through other means. The world has enough things -- from AIDS to violence against women -- that could be a source of revenue for this industry Marlboro Cigarettes. All that is needed is for the customers to believe that the occasion, whatever it is, merits their telling someone that they care.

But none of this may matter for ITC. The decision to get into the greeting card industry may pay off in an entirely unexpected fashion. The tobacco industry has come under a lot of regulatory pressure Marlboro Lights. The demand for cigarettes depends on promotion of the product in ever so many subtle ways Buy Cigarettes Online. Thus, advertising becomes the key.

This, precisely, is where the industry could come under more pressure than is the case now. The public broadcasting medium has been shut to promotion of cigarettes, though the cable television medium is available to it. But the Government has armed itself with the powers to regulate advertising on this medium as well. Now, an entry into the greeting card business offers immense possibilities for surrogate advertising. The move could well turn out to be of great strategic significance.
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