Ayushi Anand
Nov 08, 2013

‘Mars is the fastest growing player in the fastest growing market’

Q&A with Raghav Rekhi, marketing director, Mars International India

MV Natarajan (L), Arjun Rampal (C) and Raghav Rekhi (R)
MV Natarajan (L), Arjun Rampal (C) and Raghav Rekhi (R)

Strengthening its chocolate portfolio in India, Mars has announced the launch of Galaxy, its tablet chocolate brand. To announce the launch, Galaxy has signed actor Arjun Rampal as its brand ambassador. Campaign India spoke with Raghav Rekhi, marketing director, Mars International India, to know more about the marketing plan, celebrity endorsements, expectations from the launch and opportunities in the India market. Excerpts:

What was the thought behind launching Galaxy in India now?

It wasn’t a sudden move. We have a very wide portfolio of brands, products, different SKUs, different packed formats globally. When it comes to India, we have designed everything in India for India, whether it’s packaging, innovation or innovations in our communication including using celebrities. We launched Snickers in India about two-and-a-half years ago. And in the moulded segment, tablets in India contribute 50 per cent of category sales value.

Quite clearly, we knew it was an opportunity for us. Given that we do have the biggest tablet chocolate brand in the world, it really wasn’t a sudden move for us. It was a carefully planned and orchestrated move.

I am quite confident that India over the course of the next few years will prove to be a major contributor to Galaxy’s global growth. As regards other markets, we will continue to access opportunities that present themselves globally, not just in Asia but beyond.

What is your marketing plan for Galaxy?

This is largely a TV-led campaign to drive mass reach. We are going to underpin those reach building efforts with selective use of digital. We are going to use very few but selective platforms in digital; video-on-demand, using portals like YouTube, would be a part of that strategy. For us, our strategy is clear – it’s about driving mass reach with the widest possible audience. Print would not be a near term focus for us.

How do you see India as a market for Galaxy?

India is a very high potential market. Galaxy is now the fifth biggest chocolate brand in the world.  It’s the biggest brand in its segment. It is a multi-billion brand in terms of sales value. India is the fastest growing chocolate market in the world, growing at over 20 per cent year-on-year for the last four years or so - that’s a trend we see continuing. Mars is the fastest growing player in the fastest growing market. We are very happy with our performance and I think Galaxy should help us keep that growth on the same trajectory over the course of the next few years.

What are your expectations with the product?

Mars has a history about two and a half years in India. We have really been focused on establishing our brands and that continues to be the focus for Galaxy. It is about establishing the brand, establishing its credentials and raising brand awareness so people really get what it stands for and what makes it so special. If people start understanding what the credentials are all about - that it is creamiest chocolate - and then try it, for me that will be market success.

How will Galaxy add to the Mars portfolio in India?

Galaxy is quite differentiated from Snickers. Snickers is not only in the bar format but it is also being positioned around the hunger satisfaction platform. Galaxy is a very different proposition.  Galaxy is more indulgent as opposed to functional. There is far greater emotional connect between the consumer and Galaxy. It will add to our portfolio by differentiating our offering to the Indian consumer, which has been designed for the Indian consumer.

Galaxy gets us into the tablet segment that is very price-accessible. It adds a lot of meat to our portfolio as we are addressing different consumer segments by being present in different segments.

You have used celebrity endorsements for Snickers and Galaxy. Why?

We used a celebrity for the launch of Snickers. And now we have used Arjun for the launch of Galaxy. He compliments the characteristics of the brand Galaxy and help us get noticed at this very important stage, when we are developing the brand in India.

After Snickers, and Galaxy, what can we expect from Mars?

At this stage, we continue to develop Snickers in India. That was the first brand we launched. Now, we are going to stay focused in building and developing Galaxy. We continue to assess opportunities and pursue them when the time is right.

Also read: Galaxy promises consumers a ‘more special than silk’ experience

Campaign India

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