Campaign India Team
Jun 29, 2012

Can Voltas’ ‘All weather AC’ weather the monsoons?

Q&A with Deba Ghoshal, Head - Marketing, Unitary Products Business Group, Voltas. The brand claims scorching sales in summer. Can the campaign boost sales in ‘off’ season?

Can Voltas’ ‘All weather AC’ weather the monsoons?

What is the seasonality in AC sales for Voltas, and for the category?

Across the category, 60 per cent of the sales happens from March to June, 25 per cent between July and October, and another 15 per cent between November and February.

Voltas’ spread of sales through the year is slightly better than that of the industry average, as it is a strong brand not just in the consumer segment but also in the institutional (sales) segment, which is not as seasonal as the consumer segment.

How did the all weather proposition come about?

The genesis of this campaign was in research done last year, when we spoke with consumers across the country. We figured they wanted to have something more than just cooling in their ACs. In India, the AC is still the most expensive among durables (like refrigerators and washing machines). So we took the opportunity further and introduced climate control in two models, and put that on top of the trust in the brand and its core cooling proposition.

Every year, Voltas had some proposition like energy savings and sensible cooling. When other players caught up with those propositions, we explored another proposition. Voltas became the expert in climate control through the year, and we de-seasonalised the brand.

Watch the TVC created by Meridian Communications here: 

What was the spread of the campaign, and how has it delivered?

The campaign broke in the second week of March, in print. By the end of March, we had television and print going. In April, we added the radio and digital legs to the campaign. In May, we took it on to IPL, and Voltas was among the top five brands on recall – though we didn’t spend as much as some of the other brands on television.

The sales are showing that the campaign has delivered. It was a challenging business environment for the category this year. In May, brand Voltas was the leader on market share according to Gfk Nielsen’s report (unit volume and value sales in multi-brand outlets).

We expect a spike of over 10 per cent in sales in the April to June quarter (over the same period last year).

What is the spread of the advertising spend for the campaign through the year? Is it aligned with sales, which happens mostly in summer?

Yes, the marketing expenditure is skewed towards the consumer segment, and therefore the spends are skewed towards summer. The focus is to expand the category into the households, because the penetration of ACs in India is at just 3 per cent.

Having said that, we do expect a slight shift in spends to stretch the campaign to the monsoons and the festive season. But it has to be at a localised level, depending on which region offers the potential for it.

Will the ‘All weather’ positioning be something you stick with for longer?

We would like to stick with this positioning for two years.

How the proposition delivers should not just be judged by the sales of ‘All weather ACs’ alone. The flagship model or range in any category does not account for more than 5 per cent of the sales. We see the consumer mindset switching towards Voltas, leading to overall share, not just ‘All weather’ model sales.

The delivery will also be through increased contribution of monsoon and winter sales to the total; leading to an increase in market share in the off season.

Was the use of media any different for the campaign, over previous years?

We went digital after a gap. On radio, we didn’t have customised creatives, but took the television creative down to radio in select markets. We used outdoor as a reminder medium after two or three years. So we did spread the investment across different media for this campaign.

When we look at stretching the campaign through the off season, our focus would be more on digital, radio and print, which lend themselves better to localisation.

Campaign India