Reliance Brands partners with Diesel

Italian fashion brand Diesel will launch in India by the third week of March in partnership with Reliance Brands Ltd, a unit of Reliance Industries Ltd. Diesel SpA has been trying to enter India since 2007, but its previous joint venture with Arvind Mills Ltd fell through.

The premium apparel and accessory brand will have five stores—two in Mumbai, and one each in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Positioned as an “alternate to luxury”, it will take on brands such as Hugo Boss and Paul Smith, starting with its debut spring-summer collection.

Experts said the fact that Diesel is reasonably well known within its upmarket target group, especially for its denims, will make its jeans, priced at Rs8,000-17,000, the brand’s primary driver. The Diesel range starts at Rs2,000 and goes all the way up to Rs50,000. While it may be too expensive for the average Indian, it is priced on par with its international range and the firm is confident of its pricing strategy.

Darshan Mehta, chief executive officer of Diesel Fashion India Reliance, disagrees with the opinion that a cheaper entry-level pricing may resonate well with the consumer.

“A lot of our research shows that so long as you are giving them what I call the ‘real thing’, in the real environment, and something that’s as good as it is in the best place in the world, they’ll lap it up,” Mehta said.

“We’ll throw cool parties, we’ll shock and provoke the consumer, we’ll touch them at points that are most unexpected,” Mehta said. “We’ll juxtapose ourselves in situations where suddenly, being stupid makes so much sense. This doesn’t work like a soaps and shampoo campaign where you say ‘so many TRPs (television rating points), so many GRPs (gross rating points), so many channels, because finally in a country of 1.4 billion people, we are looking at a very small percent’.”

The campaign in India will be executed with the help of Delhi-based agency Happy.

Diesel is used to selling an attitude. But Indians may wear that attitude only if it comes at the right price. Although industry experts have mixed feelings about the brand’s success, Reliance Brands believes it has a good bet going.

In fact, Reliance Brands has much more up its sleeve for 2010. It will launch footwear brand Timberland and sportswear brand Paul and Shark in India by the end of the year and says it has the strategies for these brands also well drawn out.



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