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Converting Consumers

Oscar Foulkes November 28, 2009 Uncategorized No comments

India’s 1.1 billion population is one of the world’s prime targets for marketers, even if hundreds of millions live on the mythical dollar-per-day. Just the point-one part of its population is double that of South Africa.

The estimate of David Banford, founder of The Wine Society of India, is that India is home to about 25 million potential wine consumers. In the context of a billion-plus population that number barely amounts to a rounding error.

He faces many challenges in developing a wine culture, not least of which is the cost of wine as a result of outrageous federal and provincial taxes applied to wine. As a rule of thumb, a product that leaves the winery at $3.00 will cost the consumer a multiple of at least 15 times that by the time it appears in a shop.

I understand that trade negotiations are in progress.

Another company busy with a conversion drive is Proctor & Gamble, which probably has a bigger marketing budget than an accumulation of the entire world’s wine industry. While they face similar cultural issues as The Wine Society of India, they don’t get beaten up by India’s Revenue Service. They have dropped the price of the Gillette Mach 3 to Rs 125 (about $2.70), which is a quarter of the price of the same item in South Africa.

This week Gillette/P&G launched W.A.L.S. – Women Against the Lazy Shavers – with Bollywood actresses Neha Dhupia, Mugdha Godse and Manisha Lamba as ambassadors. Basically, what these hotties are communicating is “lose the mooch or there’ll be no smooch”.

It’s a clever way of changing cultural attitudes towards shaving, which is not as widespread a practice in India as they would like. Short of offering The Very Sexy Shiraz to his members, Banford may not have the same options open to him.

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