The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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MTV on scent of a new market
Nikhil (top), Nafisa: Brand VJs

Goa, April 29: Russians prefer them as ‘revolvers’ and ‘bombs’ and Europeans often use them as a refreshing substitute for baths. But as far as Indians are concerned, it is the long-lasting kind they want, with a touch of uniqueness and a wide variety. A recently-released fave-fragrance list includes “provocative, daring, tempting, confident, and sensual” for women, and “strong, persuasive, powerful, modern and invigorating” for men.

Fragrances — read perfumes and deodorants in this case — might still be a relatively underdeveloped sector in India, but not for long. With a music channel (boasting a nose for the needs of GenX) as partner, Scion International, a Dubai-based fragrances and cosmetics company, has entered the market with a ‘Boom’ and caused a ‘Flutter’, with facts and figures to prove that MTV Plugged has struck the right ‘Chord’ with the people.

A maximum price tag of Rs 250 for the MTV Plugged range, made from essential oils imported from Italy and France, has ensured a revenue of around Rs 5,000 per day per counter, in the first week of launch in March, in several key city stores in India, including Calcutta.

It’s all about brand positioning, explains Alex Kuruvilla, managing director of MTV India.

“Research shows that the earliest age at which a person is exposed to a logo is at about two-and-a-half-months old. They are bombarded with them almost every day of their lives. So, by the time they become teenagers, they are very aware of all that is available. It is a tough task keeping up, especially with our target audience of the youth, who prefer choice to brand loyalty.”

With the aim of “being ever present in the life of the consumer”, perfumes were the “next logical step”. “First we had the compilations, then the clothes range, the credit card and now the perfumes. While ‘M’ will always stand for music, we want the customer to wake up and switch on MTV, wear MTV clothes, splash on some MTV perfume, listen to MTV music on the way to where ever, and at the end of the day, have a good time out with the MTV credit card,” he explains, during the official launch of MTV Plugged at Zanzi Bar, on Baga beach, south Goa.

Hence, the constant innovation with sub-brands. “The merchandise are an extension of that category. Even our programmes and VJs are separate sub-brands. MTV Bakra and Fully Faltoo have different appeals, just like Nikhil Chinapa, Cyrus Broacha, Nafisa Joseph and Shenaz Treasurywala are symbols for different issues,” Kuruvilla adds.

And the time was ripe for the launch, with people wisening up to the pros of perfumes. “Traditionally, perfumes and deos are not a very popular product in this country, because ‘freshness’ usually means a bath and a liberal spray of talcum powder,” says Partha Mukherjee, marketing director of Scion. “But a market survey, of a group of around 500 in Mumbai, showed that they want to use fragrances primarily for freshness and as a mood lifter — either for a dash of romance or energy — because it makes them want to ‘go out and have fun’. And the preferred smells were spicy, fruity, floral and oceanic.”

The scent of a perfumed partnership led Scion to MTV. “It is the brand of the youth and the packaging of the product range is very important since it creates the right image. We are targeting the masses by offering international quality at an Indian price.”

Next on the list are city-specific launches in six metros, and then on to the rest of South Asia and then maybe to Africa. After that, if all goes well, it’s time to create a cosmetics craze, so the MTV viewer/listener/wearer can then become a ‘complete person’.

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