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Brands Feb 22, 2012

Indian youth drink, snack and talk, says Brand Equity

By Anant Rangaswami

Brand Equity, the advertising, media and marketing supplement of The Economic Times, published 'the first ever list' the Most Exciting Youth Brands this morning. The list features the top 20 brands.

If one takes the study seriously, 11 of the 'most exciting brands' as far as Indian youth is concerned are beverage brands; three are chocolate brands and five are mobile service providers or handset manufacturers.

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The odd one out is a motorcycle brand.

Only four categories (beverages, chocolates, mobile services/handsets and two-wheelers) in a list of 20 brands boggles the mind, to say the least - can these categories be the most important, let alone the most exciting, categories for youth in India?

As one reads the survey a second time, stunned by the first read, it's time for the fine print. Was there something in the methodology that caused this skew?

"This survey identifies brands that are exciting enough to appeal to the youth. The Most Exciting Youth Brands survey was conducted by the Nielsen Company with a design sample of 2040 across SEC A, B and C, male/female, aged between 15-24 years, across 13 cities: Delhi, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Kolkata Asansol, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru, Vishakapatnam and Trivandrum. The youth brands were divided into three different categories: general youth-centric brands, youth icons and gaming brands. Only categories that were of specific relevance to the youth were selected; as a result hair care and personal wash brands do not figure in the survey," Brand Equity explains.

"Only categories that were of specific relevance to the youth were selected; as a result hair care and personal wash brands do not figure in the survey."

This is stunning stuff. Hair care and personal care brands are of no 'specific relevance' to youth? What other categories of no 'specific relevance' to youth were left out of the ambit of the survey? Music television channels? Social media brands? Laptop manufacturers?

All the brands which do, indeed, feature in the list will be celebrating the recognition. The marketing teams at Bisleri ( the 5th most exciting youth brand in Mumbai) Kinley (7th in Kolkata), Bisleri (9th in Chennai) have certainly done path-breaking work in ensuring that Indian youth see water as an exciting category.

What have the marketing teams at Kodak (3rd in Kolkata), Philips (9th in Kolkata) and Bata (4th in Bengaluru) done, one wonders...

And no Blackberry....

Guess my understanding of brands that youth around me talk about everyday as 'exciting' is very, very different from the notion that the nation's youth have.

by Anant Rangaswami

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