Sunday, April 23, 2006

Nataraj Pencils : Aur Yeh Lega Sixer


Brand: Nataraj pencils
Company: Hindustan Pencils
Agency: O&M

Not much has been written about pencils these days. Pencils have always been an integral part of ones academic life. From the lower kindergarten to the class where students are allowed to use pens, Pencils were our "comrade in arms". Now those who read this blog may be using pencils now at the office (some times more than a pen) after a long gap. I have seen many of senior executives use pencils rather than pen in scribbling their notes ( not for official circulation). Still this pencil is ubiquitous. May be if we plot the usage of pencil in ones life, it will be some thing like this
0-4 : no pencil
4-10 : only pencil
10-19 : pencil only for drawing/graphs etc
19-35: Pencil what is that? May be for bank exams.
35-55: Pencil for scribbling ( if u are in a senior position in corporate)
Nataraj is a brand from Hindustan Pencils Ltd which is one of the largest pencil manufacturers in the country. Nataraj is their oldest brand. Nataraj is famous for its quality and its feature of not breaking easily . The brand was positioned as the " pencil with special bonded lead". The old cartoon ad and the jingle " Nataraj still champion " is still having some recall with the public. Nataraj took a break from ads for the past five years. Now they are planning to relaunch the brand in the Indian market where Camlin is the market leader.
Pencil market is sustaining in the Indian market because there is a restriction in using pen in the lower primary schools. Even in China , pens are taking over the market. The time is not far enough for restrictions in using pens in lower classes to be lifted. Then where will the pencil go.
Pencils are used in schools mainly to improve handwriting. We know that despite using pencils ours are not better so is there any point in this restrictions? Secondly wooden pencils are harming our nature (Iam no Medha Patkar, but isn't it so).
Hence just like what Hercules did to cycle market ( discussed in my previous blog) there has to be a redefinition of this product. Already there are pencils which have plastic body and lead refills. Camlin have segmented the market and have launched Exam Subbrand for pencils to be used during exams ( a smart move). But when pencils are not going to be used at all , what is the solution? Is it going to be a tool only to be used for drawing? If there are no pencils , what about erasers and sharpener?
Frankly I dont have an answer. It is going to be like scooters, it took Honda to redefine the scooter market.
Pencils : How long will they be in Crease?