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Bridgestone ups marketing budget by 20% in 2012

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MUMBAI: Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone India has upped its marketing spends by 20 per cent to Rs 300 million this calendar year with 40 per cent of the total spends set aside for television, according to a company executive.

In the previous year, the company had a marketing spend of Rs 250 million, half of which was allotted for television.

The company, which is a heavy user of sports as a marketing platform, believes its recent tie-up with World Series Hockey (WSH) coupled with its sponsorship of Sachin Tendulkar-led Mumbai Indians will pay it rich dividends. The tyre manufacturer announced earlier this week its title sponsorship of WSH for the first season of the tournament.

“Partnering any form of sports is a natural extension of our marketing philosophy; we have been doing it for so many years now ever since Bridgestone Corporation was conceptualised. It helps us to connect to our target audience and in achieving our marketing strategy as well,” Bridgestone India GM PSR Sales & Marketing Vaibhav Saraf told Indiantelevision.com.

He further added, “We started advertising in India in 2011 last year around April and the first thing we did was partnering with Mumbai Indians as associate sponsor. So we are quite keen on tying-up with sports events in India mainly from the perspective that it goes directly to our audience and that is a much salient way of putting your brand to your customers.”

Bridgestone has a three-year sponsorship deal with Mumbai Indians effective till 2014. As the title sponsor of WSH, besides getting the title naming rights of the event, the tyre brand will also have on-air rights as part of a combo offer.

Globally, the tyre manufacturer is associated with events like National Hockey League, National Football League and World Golf Championship. Its long-term association with F1 ended in 2010.

The company counts youth as its core target group and, hence, the connect with sports. "In India, all guys with car are part of our TG and in terms of age of course male 25+ Sec AB and R1 (top social rural class),” Saraf explained.

The brand hopes to derive the same mileage out of WSH sponsorship as it did from the IPL association through Mumbai Indians. Saraf expects WSH to deliver return on investment of at least Rs 100 million in terms of brand awareness.

The hockey association, the company believes, will help in the North Indian market where it is weak and the game has been traditionally popular. The company also sees its 2000 dealers across India as a major consumer touch point.

“Our evaluation is that we expect to get returns of at least Rs 100 million in terms of brand awareness and that’s the reason we have partnered WSH. The North belt has been a weak link for us and Hockey is tremendously popular there. We are also trying to tap into that segment which is not very keen on IPL and GEC. They have their own flavour, so we are trying to address those customers from Hockey,” Saraf held.

Bridgestone’s marketing activity around the league will be limited to BTL since there is not much time left for the tournament. “Most of our ATL activity will be taken care by Nimbus and Neo Sports, we will not spend much on ATL activities. But for the BTL activities, which will be mainly to drive traffic to the stores, we will be spending on campaign and a lot on sales promotional materials,” Saraf affirmed.

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