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Bajaj V: ‘Heroic’ Bike and Unheroic Choices of Marketing?

CASE STUDY, BRAND MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 11 Pages

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Bajaj V: ‘Heroic’ Bike and Unheroic Choices of Marketing?

 

On January 26th 2016, Bajaj Auto Ltd. (Bajaj) released a teaser film of Bajaj V bike, keeping in mind the patriotic enthusiasm in the country on the occasion of the 67th Republic Day. Bajaj procured metric tons of scrapped metal from INS Vikrant – Asia’s and India’s first aircraft carrier, which was used for manufacturing the bike.1 On the next day January 27th 2016, after launching its video film, IB Commercials Pvt. Ltd. (IB Commercials)2 alleged that Bajaj had neither obtained an NOC from them nor had acquired the rights of using the dismantling video footage for promoting its bike.

Bajaj as a family played a strong role in India’s independence struggle and made a mark for itself in the country since Bajaj Auto’s inception. Though the idea of taking a  patriotic route to manufacture bikes out of the scrap was considered as a good marketing idea, what surprised the automobile industry analysts was commercializing the  scrap bought. Critics remarked that using scrap material Bajaj intended to make profits of millions of rupees. Was it unethical for Bajaj to use the dismantling video footage as a part of its advertisement to sell its ‘patriotic’ bikes? Analysts opined that the government should establish ethical and legal boundaries in marketing the bike. Can such a one-off controversy and the negative publicity play a huge role in Bajaj V’s make or break scenario? Would the negative impact have a possible dent in Bajaj’s production and its stable of products?

 

Indian Automobile Industry: The Two-Wheeler Segment
The Indian automobile industry is one of the largest in the world and accounts for 7.1% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).3 The industry is divided into several segments namely, the two-wheelers segment comprising motorcycles, geared/ungeared scooters, electric-scooters and mopeds, the three-wheelers segment comprising commercial vehicles (light, medium and heavy), passenger cars, Utility Vehicles (UVs) and tractors.....


  • 1Aditi Saxena, “INS Vikrant fuels war of words between Bajaj Auto & I B Commercials”, http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/51049565.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst, February 19th 2016(accessed date: March 22nd 2016)
  • 2 Headquartered in Mumbai, IB Commercial is engaged in ship breaking activities and trading of movable and immovable assets. It purchased INS Vikrant vessel in April 2014 at an e-auction for INR68 crore.
  • 3 Saaksha Mantoo, “Research Report on Indian Automobile Industry”, http://tmrlive.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Automobiles-Report.pdf, January 8th 2016 (accessed date: March 9th 2016)


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Teaching Note Preview

Bajaj V: ‘Heroic’ Bike and Unheroic Choices of Marketing?

 

Synopsis

Bajaj as a family has been an integral part of the independence struggle in India and the company, Bajaj Auto, made a mark for itself in the country since its inception.  Though the idea of taking a patriotic route to manufacture bikes out of the scrap was considered as a good marketing idea, critics remarked that the company planned to use the scrap material to cash in profits of millions of rupees. What surprised the automobile industry analysts was commercializing the scrap bought. Was it unethical for Bajaj to use the dismantling video footage as a part of its advertisement to sell its ‘patriotic’ bikes? Should the government establish ethical and legal boundaries in marketing practices and enforce stringent rules to stop monetizing any entity of national importance? Can such negative publicity have a possible dent in Bajaj’s reputation or in its production and stable of products?

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding (PCU)/Before the Classroom Discussion

This case study presupposes an understanding of the concepts of Brand Positioning and Brand Differentiation. Accordingly, the participants were asked to  read the following chapters to better connect the concepts:

    • -Kevin Lane Keller, et al., “Brand Positioning”, Strategic Brand Management, 3rd Edition, Pearson Education Inc., 2011 – To understand the concepts and guidelines of Brand  Positioning
    • -Philip Kotler, et al., “Managing a Holistic Marketing Organization for the Long Run”, Marketing Management, 14th Edition, Pearson Education., 2013 – To examine the ethical choices of marketing a product/service

Further, the participants should have a basic understanding of the Indian Automobile Industry, the two-wheeler industry segment and its respective players.

Case Positioning and Setting

This case study can be used for the following:

  • -In MBA Program: This case study can be used for Brand Management course and for Marketing Management course to understand the role of identifying and establishing brand positioning in enhancing brands’ equity and to understand how business processes come under attack because business situations face ethical dilemmas
  • -In MDPs/EDPs: This case study can also be used in Management and Executive Development Programs to examine the ethical choices of marketing and branding a patriotic product/service

 Assignment Questions

  • I. What are the various segments of the Indian automobile industry and who are the leading players? Discuss the relationship between Commoditization and Differentiation in the two-wheeler segment.
  • II. What do you understand by brand positioning, Points of Parity and Points of Differentiation? Analyze Bajaj’s new product launch, Bajaj V from these  perspectives.
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Case Study Analysis and Classroom Discussion

Preamble to this Case Study Analysis

This case study provides an opportunity to learn the basics of brand positioning in the light of Bajaj V. Bajaj resorted to using the scrap, bought from sale of the decommissioned aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, in manufacturing its motorcycles. The dismantling video footage of the aircraft carrier was also used in  advertisements without obtaining a NOC, which provides a cue on how the choices of marketing and branding play an important role in Brand Positioning.  Accordingly, this case study was discussed, [Exhibit (TN)-I]...........

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Abstract

This case study is meant to discuss the pros and cons of Bajaj Auto’s innovative practice of combining patriotism with commercialism. When Bajaj Auto purchased the scrap of India’s first aircraft carrier – INS Vikrant, industry observers wondered the logic. The astute businessman that Rajiv Bajaj has been with his omni-present ‘differentiation paradigm’, brought a fresh, yet controversial, perspective to integrating patriotism with commercialism. Though the idea of taking a patriotic route to manufacture bikes out of the scrap was considered as a good marketing idea but critics remarked that by using scrap material the company would turn it to profits of millions of rupees. What surprised the automobile industry analysts was commercializing the scrap bought. This case study enables a discussion on whether Bajaj should have resorted to using the scrap bought from sale of the decommissioned aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant in manufacturing its motorcycles and later using the dismantling video of the aircraft carrier without obtaining NOC for its advertisements. Can such negative publicity have a possible dent in Bajaj’s reputation or in its production and stable of products?



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand the industry structure and the business dynamics of the Indian automobile industry especially the two-wheeler segment
  • To have an overview of identifying market segments and establishing brand positioning including establishing Points of Parity and Points of Differentiation with the help of Bajaj V’s brand positioning
  • To examine the patriotic choices of marketing and branding and to understand how Bajaj V came under attack in the light of these guidelines

Case Positioning and Setting
This case study can be used for the following:

  • In MBA Program: This case study can be used for Brand Management course and for Marketing Management course to understand the role of identifying and establishing brand positioning in enhancing brand equity and to understand how business processes come under attack because business situations face ethical dilemmas
  • In MDPs/EDPs: This case study can also be used in Management and Executive Development Programs to examine the ethical choices of marketing and branding a patriotic product/service


    • This Case Pack Includes:
      - Abstract
      - Case Study
      - Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
$4.57
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