Aggressive new in-store iPhone marketing clouds Apple’s retail message

Following its four-day Black Friday shopping event last month, Apple has continued to incentivize customers to purchase a new iPhone with limited time discounts through the Apple GiveBack program. The trade-in offer, which was initially promoted with increasingly pervasive online marketing, has also made its way to Apple’s physical stores in an unprecedented way.

Starting this week throughout U.S. stores, Apple co-opted its Genius Bar Displays in classic locations, Apple TV demos, and Today at Apple Forum Displays to promote iPhone XS and XR deals. Rolling out Wednesday, animated video demo loops play on the displays, followed by text similar to Apple’s online copy: “Limited Time. iPhone XR from $449. Trade in your current iPhone and upgrade to a new one.” While Apple has used similar wording for in-store promotion of its Back to School offer, the advertising has traditionally been limited to desktop wallpapers on display Macs.

Until recently, Genius Bar Displays were used to showcase product tips and Apple Support videos. Last month, Apple began highlighting upcoming Today at Apple sessions on the displays. The change brought consistency to Apple’s message at every location. In updated stores, the Video Wall serves a similar role and runs playlists of curated artwork when not in use. Forum Displays, when idle between sessions, also highlight each store’s Today at Apple schedule. Marketing of limited-time offers is outside the scope of their original intended use.


Juul said it wasn’t Big Tobacco. Now it’s considering money from the maker of Marlboro

A JUUL vape 

Brianna Soukup | Portland Press Herald | Getty Images
A JUUL vape

Juul has prided itself on its independence from Big Tobacco. It may not be able to much longer.

The e-cigarette maker is in talks to sell a stake of the company to Altria, a person familiar with the matter tells CNBC. Earlier this fall, Juul paused efforts to raise money from private investors because of regulatory uncertainty, people familiar with the matter say. The fundraise would have valued Juul at more than $20 billion, these people said.

The change of course highlights the existential crisis in which Juul finds itself. Its fruity flavors, questionable past marketing and explosive popularity among teenagers have invited critics to compare it to Big Tobacco and the days of the Marlboro Man and Joe Camel.

Altria rallies on report the company is looking to acquire minority stake in Juul   2:49 PM ET Thu, 29 Nov 2018 | 03:42

Juul designed its devices to look completely different from cigarettes. The company has used its autonomy — and its purported purpose of eliminating conventional cigarettes — to brush off those comments. That wasn’t enough to prevent attention from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Today, Juul is able to market itself as an enemy of Big Tobacco, simply trying “to improve the lives of the world’s 1 billion adult smokers.” That will become much harder to do if it sells part of itself to Altria, the maker of top-selling cigarette Marlboro. However, in teaming up with Altria, Juul would gain regulatory expertise to help it manage the tricky waters that are becoming even choppier as the agency cracks down on rising rates of teen vaping.

Surging sales, growing scrutiny

Over the summer, Juul closed a $1.25 billion round that valued the company at $16 billion after a year of explosive growth for the company. At that point, Juul’s dollar sales had skyrocketed 783 percent in the 52 weeks ended June 16, reaching $942.6 million, according to a Wells Fargo analysis of Nielsen data. The e-cigarette category as a whole grew 97 percent to $1.96 billion in the same period.

Juul now represents more than 75 percent of the e-cigarette market, according to the Nielsen numbers. But Juul faced a growing and glaring problem: Anecdotal reports suggested many of its customers were teens. Federal data later proved a surge in teen e-cigarette use was underway.

All the while, Juul maintained its argument it was a health-focused company that wanted to help adults switch. And it wasn’t associated with any tobacco companies.

“We’re the No. 1 e-cigarette in the United States,” Juul’s Chief Administrative Officer Ashley Gould told The New York Times in April. “And we’re not a big tobacco company. We’re an independent company.”

Weeks after the story, in a rare move, the FDA issued a 904(b) letter requesting a slew of company materials, including marketing documents and research on whether certain products’ design features, ingredients or specifications appeal to different age groups.

In September, the FDA went even further, declaring teen e-cigarette use an epidemic and placing the blame on Juul and four other brands, including Altria’s MarkTen. Commissioner Scott Gottlieb ordered the companies to come up with a plan to reverse these trends.

The same month, federal authorities showed up at Juul’s San Francisco headquarters unannounced, seeking more information on the company’s sales marketing practices. They seized more than a thousand pages of documents. Juul CEO Kevin Burns in a statement said the company walked regulators through “every part” of its business, including its marketing practices and age-verification tools used on its online shop.

As the FDA scrutinized Juul and debated its next steps, the outcry grew even louder. Federal data proved parents and teachers weren’t wrong. In just one year, the number of high school students who used e-cigarettes increased 78 percent, equating to 20.8 percent of high school students.

It could not be determined how much of Juul’s business is teens, but some estimate it is significant. The FDA regulation could therefore represent pressure to Juul’s business. Meantime, Juul is spending millions of dollars to combat underage use and conduct clinical studies in order to prepare for an application it will eventually need to file with the FDA.

Weeks before the FDA announced how it would try to curb youth use, Altria in October said it would remove its MarkTen pod-based products and will stop selling all flavors except for menthol or tobacco in its cig-a-like products until the FDA reviews and approves them.

Juul said it suspended sales of fruity flavors in retail stores while continuing to sell these flavors on its age-verified website. Two days later, the FDA said it would restrict where these flavors can be sold, limiting them to age-verified stores such as tobacco and vape shops.

A fresh batch of skepticism

On its own, Juul has made a number of missteps. It tried to roll out a Juul-sponsored e-cigarette lesson plan in schools that critics have said is right out of Big Tobacco’s playbook. In this instance, Juul’s Gould told The New York Times the company wasn’t aware tobacco companies had also tried this tactic because Juul didn’t build its management around former tobacco employees.

Altria has decades of experience in handling regulatory and legal issues. Similar to Juul today, Altria faced enormous public pressure in the 1990s. It helped craft a deal between manufacturers and state attorneys general, known as the Master Settlement agreement, which established fixed amounts tobacco companies would pay annually and limited marketing in exchange for ending a wave of ongoing lawsuits.

But partnering with a cigarette maker exposes Juul to skepticism from those who have questioned the company’s mission to end cigarette smoking from the beginning. Each Juul pod contains as much nicotine as one pack of cigarettes.

“If Juul really wants to eliminate cigarettes, why would they even consider partnering with a company that not only makes the best-selling cigarette brand among kids, but has repeatedly fought efforts to reduce smoking?” Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement.

Selling a portion of itself to a tobacco company could also spark internal backlash among people who joined Juul to execute its stated mission: “eliminate cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers with a true alternative to combustible cigarettes.”

Juul co-founder James Monsees told CNBC in an August interview that one of the biggest pride points at the company is having already converted more than 1 million smokers from combustible cigarettes. He said Juul is trying to attract people who could also work at tech companies like Tesla, Facebook, Google and Apple.

“And what that meant was for someone to come here instead, especially in the early days, they’d have to truly believe in our mission and want to be here to end smoking and to have one of the biggest impacts on public health in the history of the world,” he said.

Since spinning off from vaporizer maker Pax Labs last year, Juul has raised money from just a handful of investors, including Tiger Global, Fidelity Investments and Tao Capital markets. Despite being in the backyard of Silicon Valley investors, Juul has struggled to raise money from them.


Entering A New Industry? 8 Ways To Break In Successfully

It’s never easy to get your foot in the door of a new industry. Whether you’re looking to start a business venture or simply collaborate with a brand in that market, the process of breaking in is a tricky one that must be handled with care: You can’t expect to be welcomed with open arms without proving yourself to industry veterans.

We asked eight members of Young Entrepreneurs Council about what it takes to successfully enter an unfamiliar industry. From making the right connections to offering a prototype or free services, here’s what they had to say.

All images courtesy of YEC members.

Entrepreneurs share tips for entering a new industry.

1. Talk To Industry Veterans, Potential Customers And Advisors

When it comes to getting a firm grasp on a new industry, one of the best ways is to leverage the experience of the veteran entrepreneurs in your industry. If you meet with them and ask many questions, you can learn quickly what it took them years to learn. If you combine this with reading books, the effect compounds. The next step is to meet with customers in the industry to understand their pain points to determine how you can innovate and differentiate yourself in this new space. Write down notes and reflect on the stories you hear to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The last step is to find a problem to solve and make an assumption you can measurably test to validate your business idea and meet advisors who can guide you before you go fully commit yourself. – Dan San, Meural

2. Partner With An Industry Leader

In my career, I have had many opportunities to enter into a new industry I really knew nothing about. Then I developed a mentality I like to call, “don’t buy it, sell it.” Why purchase a product or service you know you can sell, with just a little more knowledge and understanding? If you partner up with the right person or company, not only do you gain access to an unlimited supply of whatever that product or service is, but you also gain access to knowledge that you cannot read in FAQ or terms and conditions. Sometimes, the best way to break into anything when it comes to “the unknown,” is to admit your own ignorance to yourself, bite the bullet, and ask for help or advice. And, anyone will let you sell their products or services in exchange for more information. – Jason Criddle, Jason Criddle and Associates

3. Offer Free Or Discounted Services At First

One awesome tactic to break into new territory is to offer to do the project for free, or at a reduced rate, in exchange for feedback. This allows you to work with a client who will help you understand the industry. You will be upfront that this is your first project for this industry, but you are applying the same knowledge from other industries so it should work out fine. The client is getting great work, but at a discounted rate. You are getting inside knowledge on how to build a better service or platform. If there are any mistakes, both you and the client know this is a first time and so expectations are not as high. It takes a good client to make this work, but can be a success for both parties. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

4. Network With Anyone You Can

The best strategy for breaking into a new industry is to meet people in that industry. Research industry organizations and get involved. Become a member, join a committee, go to the events. Meet your new peers, learn about their work, care about their work and then show them your struggle. People want to help. Obviously, you don’t want to reach out to a potential competitor. However, you can reach out to just about anyone else. The best referrals that I have ever received came from someone random. Not the “big fish” everyone is always trying to meet at networking events. Especially if you are among other business owners, we’ve all been there, ask for help. – Allyson Case, Integro Rehab LLC

5. Be Continually Curious

Who said curiosity killed the cat? Following your curiosity is the key to learning a new industry. We hold the library of Alexandria at our fingertips with the internet today. It has never been easier to become more intelligent than 99 percent of the population on a given subject. I start by going down the Google rabbit hole. I open 10-15 tabs, watch the top rated YouTube videos, add the expert’s names to an Evernote file and circle the subject like a shark. If the idea is to understand autonomous cars, Google the biggest companies, top YouTube videos, “why autonomous cars will change world,” and on you go. Once you start watching experts and realize you know what they are about to say, you’re an expert. – Codie Sanchez,

6. Create Prototypes To Showcase Your Industry Knowledge

I always believe in creating some prototype software to showcase my knowledge and understanding of an Industry. When I wanted to reach out to a transportation industry, I first talked to a few people and figure out the issues they are having. Then based upon the issues, I created a prototype and showcased to C-level executives. It takes around one month to build a prototype, efforts pay off as I can use it to earn business. Don’t be afraid of barging into new verticals, all that is needed is energy to learn and solve problems. There is always a beginning. – Piyush Jain, SIMpalm

7. Make A List Of Questions You Have, Then Find The Answers

When I want to dive into a new venture, I start going to the bookstore to learn everything and anything on the subject. Then I create a list of what I want to search online and the questions I have pertaining to the venture. Before you know it, I am looking into forums and connecting with people who have already succeeded in the particular venture. I want to be able to learn from them and areas of improvement as well. For example, I was looking to create a new travel app that made it easy for young women to coordinate their travels. I connected with travel agencies, started reading books about travel journeys to get inside the head of a traveler, and reaching out to a network of well-traveled young women. The community of women was how I was able to build traction for the app. – Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

8. Connect With Trusted Influencers And Get Their Endorsement

One of the best ways to make your brand or business well-known or respected in any space is to connect with a brand, website, or influencer who is already trusted and has a massive following. This is something we are commonly seeing in the world of social media, and specifically on Instagram, where visual content is king. No matter what it is you have to offer or sell, simple brand association can go a long way when trying to connect with a new audience. The important thing here to remember is that you don’t want to go in too strong and come off as just a paid placement or advertisement. Instead, it should be able to the value provided and blending in with the user experience that is expected from the people or brands they are already following. – Zac Johnson, Blogger


UK gambling regulator calls on industry to stamp out sexism

The UK’s gambling regulator will on Monday call on the industry to stamp out sexism, warning that women attending an annual conference taking place this week are “expected to wear nothing more than swimsuits”.

Gambling Commission chief executive Sarah Harrison will warn that the regulator could boycott the ICE Totally Gaming event, the world’s largest gambling industryconference, unless attitudes change. Past guests at the conference have said companies hosting stands frequently use “scantily clad” women to attract people to their product displays.

Harrison’s warning comes amid fierce debate about the treatment of women employed to provide hospitality at events, following revelations about the men-only Presidents Club dinner, where female staff were allegedly groped and sexually harassed.

Formula 1 last week took the decision to stop using “grid girls” – models who display sponsor and driver names at Grand Prix – while darts events have scrapped so-called “walk-on girls” to escort players to the oche.

Harrison will say that last year’s ICE event inspired her to urge senior figures from the world of gambling to follow suit by addressing a “significant stain on the industry’s reputation”. “This is an industry where we have a number of talented, powerful and successful women,” she will tell the International Casino Conference, an event held on the eve of the ICE event.

“Yet from walking around the exhibition you wouldn’t know this. Instead you saw men representing their companies wearing expensive tailored suits whilst their female colleagues were expected to wear nothing more than swimsuits. I say bring this to an end now.”

“And to go further, any future participation by the Gambling Commission in events like this will depend on there being change,” Harrison will add.

Previous guests at the ICE conference, held at the ExCel conference centre in London’s Docklands, told the Guardian that event was renowned for the use of underdressed women, including Playboy models, to advertise gambling products.

“A lot of the promotional activity involves attractive young ladies, often not wearing that much,” said one previous delegate. “It’s not all skin, but there’s quite a lot on show typically. Girls in body paint and not much else. One company had a Playboy-themed slot machine on display and they brought along Playboy centrefolds.

“You had paunchy slot machine buyers going up to get their pictures taken with them. It was a bit pathetic, but I’ve never seen any predatory behaviour like the Presidents Club.”

As the industry prepared for the event, the European Casino Association (ECA) and Clarion Gaming, which organises the ICE conference, urged companies planning to exhibit to be aware of potential allegations of sexism.

“In the spirit of the 21st century, when both women and men play strategic and decision-making roles in businesses, we encourage all exhibitors to mindfully represent support staff promoting their products at the show in a non-offensive and non-stereotyping way,” they said in an open letter.

“For both organisations, it is clear that presenting a modern and diverse gaming industry should be at the heart of the show. For this to be successful and ensure that all participants feel equally welcome, the respectful representation of genders is crucial,” the letter added.

ECA chairman Per Jaldung said: “It is imperative that our industry presents its positive image … Our industry is modern and inclusive, and we call on exhibitors to showcase the great products and services they offer in a respectful manner that does not rely on outdated stereotypes.”

Ewa Bakun, head of content strategy at Clarion Gaming, said: “We have been exerting a soft pressure on our exhibitors and educating the ICE audience on the ways the industry can evolve to create a more inclusive culture and improve gender diversity across all organisational levels.”

In Harrison’s speech on Monday, she will point to the fact that the UK’s highest paid chief executive is Denise Coates of gambling company Bet365, who paid herself £217m last year. And she will say that a push for greater diversity is “not about political correctness” but will help businesses respond better to customers’ needs.


RBI’s New Norms On Bad Loans A Wake Up Call For Defaulters, Says Government

Image result for RBI's New Norms On Bad Loans A Wake Up Call For Defaulters, Says Government

Banks will face penalties in case of failure to comply with the guidelines, RBI said.

New Delhi: In a bid to hasten the resolution of bad loans, RBI has tightened rules to make banks identify and tackle any non-payment of loan rapidly, a move the government said should act as a “wake up call” for defaulters. The Reserve Bank of India abolished half a dozen existing loan-restructuring mechanisms late last night, and instead provided for a strict 180-day timeline for banks to agree on a resolution plan in case of a default or else refer the account for bankruptcy.

Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said the new rules are a “wake up call” for defaulters.

“The government is determined to clean up things in one go and not defer it. It is a more transparent system for resolution,” he said,” he told PTI here.

Under the new rules, insolvency proceedings would have to be initiated in case of a loan of Rs. 2,000 crore or more if a resolution plan is not implemented within 180 days of the default.

Banks will face penalties in case of failure to comply with the guidelines, RBI said.

Financial Services Secretary said the RBI’s decision would not have much impact on provisioning norms for banks.

The revised framework has specified norms for “early identification” of stressed assets, timelines for implementation of resolution plans, and a penalty on banks for failing to adhere to the prescribed timelines.

RBI has also withdrawn the existing mechanism which included Corporate Debt Restructuring Scheme, Strategic Debt Restructuring Scheme (SDR) and Scheme for Sustainable Structuring of Stressed Assets (S4A).

The Joint Lenders’ Forum (JLF) as an institutional mechanism for resolution of stressed accounts also stands discontinued, it said, adding that “all accounts, including such accounts where any of the schemes have been invoked but not yet implemented, shall be governed by the revised framework”.

Under the new rules, banks must report defaults on a weekly basis in the case of borrowers with more than Rs. 5 crore of loan. Once a default occurs, banks will have 180 days within which to come up with a resolution plan. Should they fail, they will need to refer the account to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) within 15 days.

Last year, the government had given more powers to the RBI to push banks to deal with non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans.

The gross NPAs of public sector and private sector banks as on September 30, 2017 were Rs.7,33,974 crore, Rs. 1,02,808 crore respectively.

“In view of the enactment of the IBC, it has been decided to substitute the existing guidelines with a harmonised and simplified generic framework for resolution of stressed assets,” RBI said in the notification.

As per the revised guidelines, the banks will be required to identify incipient stress in loan accounts, immediately on default, by classifying stressed assets as special mention accounts (SMAs) depending upon the period of default.

Classification of SMA would depend on the number of days (1- 90) for which principal or interest have remained overdue.

“As soon as there is a default in the borrower entity’s account with any lender, all lenders – singly or jointly – shall initiate steps to cure the default,” RBI said.

The resolution plan (RP) may involve any actions/plans/ reorganisation including, but not limited to, regularisation of the account by payment of all over dues by the borrower entity, sale of the exposures to other entities/investors, change in ownership, or restructuring.

The notification said that if a resolution plan in respect of large accounts is not implemented as per the timelines specified, lenders will be required to file insolvency application, singly or jointly, under the IBC, 2016, within 15 days from the expiry of the specified timeline.

All lenders are required to submit report to Central Repository of Information on Large Credits (CRILC) on a monthly basis effective April 1, 2018.

In addition, the lenders shall report to CRILC, all borrower entities in default (with aggregate exposure of Rs. 5 crore and above), on a weekly basis, at the close of business every Friday, or the preceding working day if Friday happens to be a holiday.

The first such weekly report shall be submitted for the week ending February 23, 2018, the notification said.

The new guidelines have specified framework for early identification and reporting of stressed assets.

In respect of accounts with aggregate exposure of the lenders at Rs. 2,000 crore and above, on or after March 1, 2018 (reference date), resolution plan RP should be implemented within 180 days.

“If in default after the reference date, then 180 days from the date of first such default,” the notification said.


Hero XPulse First Look Review — A Pulsating Adventure Motorcycle

Hero XPulse First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images

World’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp has unveiled the XPulse adventure motorcycle at the Auto Expo 2018. It is also India’s first 200cc dual-purpose motorcycle targeted towards young and thrill-seeking riders. The motorcycle looks to be in its production form and will replace the Impulse in India. We bring you the first look review of the Hero XPulse, the most affordable adventure bike in the country.

Hero XPulse Design

The overall design of the Hero XPulse is of a typical adventure bike with a tall stance and minimalistic body panels. Up front, the Hero XPulse features a full-LED headlamp, a windscreen to avoid wind buffeting and a high-set beak-shape fender. The adventure motorcycle also gets knuckle guards to protect the levers in case of a fall.

Hero XPulse First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


The Hero Xpulse features a simplistic fuel tank design with no additional bodywork. There are not much body panels, and the design is clutter free. The single-piece seat is sculpted for lower ride height and the slightly front set foot pegs offers a commuters riding posture which is good for an adventure motorcycle. The enduro-style foot pegs add to the raw look of the Hero XPulse.

Recommended Video – Watch Now!
    Honda XBlade First Look Walkaround, Specs, Details, Features – DriveSpark
    Hero XPulse First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


    The tail section of the Hero XPulse sports an LED tail light, but the large plastic rear mudguard feels out of place and does not go well with the adventure styling. The upswept exhaust enhances the looks of the motorcycle and also has impressive water wading capacity. The XPulse also gets a rear luggage rack. The bike also gets a skid plate to protect the engine during off-roading.

    Hero XPulse Sheet

    Expected Price Rs 1.12 lakh
    Engine Type Single Cylinder, oil cooled
    Fuel Used Petrol Only
    Engine Displacement 200cc
    Power 18.1bhp
    Torque 17.2Nm
    Transmission 5-speed
    Hero XPulse First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


    Hero XPulse Engine Details

    The Hero XPulse draws power from an all-new 200cc air-cooled, fuel injected engine producing 18.1bhp and 17.2Nm of peak torque. The engine comes mated to a 5-speed gearbox. The same engine does the duty on the recently unveiled Xtreme 200R naked street fighter. But Hero might tweak the power output accordingly to suit the XPulse adventure motorcycle.

    Hero XPulse First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


    Hero XPulse Features

    The Hero XPulse is a modern adventure tourer with a host of features. The XPulse sports a new fully-digital instrument cluster, full-LED headlamp, clear lens turn indicators and sleek LED tail light. The prominent feature of the XPulse is the first-in-segment turn-by-turn navigation system which is extremely useful for a touring motorcycle. The motorcycle also gets off-road button tyres which enhance the looks of the Hero XPulse.

    Hero XPulse First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


    The suspension duties on the Hero XPulse are handled by telescopic forks at the front with the travel of 190mm and ten-step adjustable gas-charged mono-shock suspension at the rear with the travel of 170mm. The motorcycle is equipped with a 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear wheel with a ground clearance of 220mm. The XPulse features disc brakes at both the ends.

    Hero XPulse First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


    Hero XPulse Rivals

    Currently, the entry-level adventure motorcycle segment does not have many players in the Indian market. The only offering is the Royal Enfield Himalayan, but with a bigger 400cc engine. The Hero XPulse will be the most affordable bike in the segment with a 200cc engine. KTM is also planning to launch the 390 Adventure which should spice up the things in the entry-level adventure bike segment.

    Hero XPulse First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


    DriveSpark’s Thoughts On The Hero XPulse

    The Hero XPulse is an adventure motorcycle with a simple design and advanced features. The XPulse will replace the popular Impulse which was retailed with a 150cc engine. The Hero XPulse will be a game-changing product in the country with its features and design. Hero MotoCorp is expected to launch the XPulse in India by the end of 2018 or early 2019 with a price tag of around Rs 1.2 lakh ex-showroom.


    UM Renegade Duty S First Look Review — A Tough American Cruiser

    American Motorcycle manufacturer UM Motorcycles launched the new Renegade Duty S cruiser in India at the Auto Expo 2018. The UM Renegade Duty S is priced at Rs 1.10 lakh ex-showroom (Delhi). The Renegade Duty S is an all-new cruiser with new design language and engine. Let’s find out more about the newly launched UM Renegade Duty S in this first look review.

    UM Renegade Duty S First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images

    UM Renegade Duty S Design

    The UM Renegade Duty S sports a rugged look with minimalistic body panels. UM is branding the Renegade Duty S as a dual-purpose cruiser which can be ridden both on and off-road. The overall design language revolves around that strategy and features a raw look. The Duty S is finished in a matte green colour which further enhances the looks of the motorcycle.

    UM Renegade Duty S First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


    Up front, the UM Renegade Duty S features a classic round headlamp with a blacked out housing. The front mudguard is sleek, and it exposes the front tyre for a butch look. The telescopic front forks get black cover and LED lights and reflectors on either side. The sloping fuel tank design is the key element of the overall design language.

    Recommended Video – Watch Now!
      Auto Expo 2018: Aprilia RS 150 – Full Specifications, Launch, Price – DriveSpark
      UM Renegade Duty S First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


      The engine, side panels, alloy wheels, muffler and suspension, are blacked out which gives an aggressive look to the UM Renegade Duty S. The step-up seat is wide and large and is very comfortable for both rider and pillion. The rear section also features a chopped mudguard which adds to the raw appeal of the Renegade Duty S.

      UM Renegade Duty S Fact Sheet

      Price Rs 1.10 lakh
      Engine Type Single Cylinder, oil cooled
      Fuel Used Petrol Only
      Engine Displacement 223cc
      Power 16bhp
      Torque 17Nm
      Transmission 5-speed
      UM Renegade Duty S First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


      UM Renegade Duty S Engine Details

      The new UM Renegade Duty S draws power from an all-new 223cc single-cylinder, an oil-cooled engine which produces 16bhp and 17Nm of peak torque. The engine comes mated to a 5-speed gearbox sending power to the rear wheel via chain drive.

      UM Renegade Duty S First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


      UM Renegade Duty S Features

      The UM Renegade Duty S is loaded with several premium features such as new analogue instrument cluster with digital display for gear position indicator, odometer and fuel gauge. The motorcycle also gets LED headlight and tail light and also a LED strip on the front forks to improve the visibility at night. The UM Renegade Duty S also sports a ground clearance of 180mm.

      UM Renegade Duty S First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


      The UM Renegade Duty S is equipped with 41mm telescopic forks at the font and dual-hydraulic spring suspension at the rear. Braking duties are handled by 280mm disc at the front and 130mm drum brake setup at the rear. The Duty S gets 17-inch alloy wheel at the front and 15-inch wheel at the rear.

      UM Renegade Duty S First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


      UM Renegade Duty S Rivals

      The UM Renegade Duty S is the latest cruiser from the American brand, and it features a new design language and engine. The Renegade S is pitched as a dual-purpose cruiser which can handle a bit of off-roading as well. The UM Renegade Duty S rivals the likes of the Bajaj Avenger series.

      UM Renegade Duty S First Look Review — Design, Specifications, Features And Images


      DriveSpark’s Thoughts On The UM Renegade Duty S

      The UM Renegade Duty S spots an all-new design which leans towards rugged looks with minimalistic body panels. The raw look of the Renegade Duty S is the highlight of the motorcycle. The new engine and several new features add a premium touch to the UM Renegade Duty S. With an affordable price tag; the Renegade S will be a tough competitor to the Bajaj Avenger series.


      Byron Sharp’s new ‘marketing’ textbook is a fiery trip down under

      That’s not a marketing textbook. This is a marketing textbook. Or so Byron Sharp might say.

      After university, my first full-time job in 2002 before I became a reporter was as a staff assistant at the Beacon Hill Institute, an economic think tank at Suffolk University in Boston. The organisation – like the executive director, economics department chair Dr David Tuerck – has an extremely libertarian and laissez-faire point of view.

      One day, when the staff were having some beers after work, I asked him why the department’s textbooks and institute’s reports did not give equal consideration to all other economic systems – such as socialism and communism – as well.

      “Communism doesn’t work,” he replied. “It’s been proven. There is no reason to consider it. Would we offer competing ideas to the theory of gravity just to be neutral?”

      All professors must decide how to educate the next generation. Should they be neutral and let students make up their own minds or advocate for the positions that they think are wise and correct?

      Some years later, when I studied and then went into marketing after my time in journalism, I read marketing textbooks such as those by Philip Kotler that took the neutral approach. As usual, the theories, models, and case studies were typically presented from various sides without opinion.

      Now, Sharp, the director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science at the University of South Australia, has done something similar to what my former boss does. He recently released a new edition of his Marketing: Theory, Evidence, Practice textbook and, upon request, sent me a copy for review.

      “Current textbooks don’t cover important issues like media, shopping, and metrics – things that marketers have to know about to do their jobs,” he told me in an interview. “They also tend to be ‘theory’ heavy, such as on the product life cycle, and short on facts and patterns.”

      The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute aims to be “the home of evidence-based marketing” and uses its methods to answer questions such as “Are big brands dying?” and “Does the iPhone defy the double jeopardy law?”

      Sharp, whose previous work includes How Brands Grow, includes many of the institute’s findings in his textbook. Of course, the book contains all of the material that these texts always have. But what makes this one different is that it advocates for opinionated and controversial ideas on a wide variety of topics.

      If you agree with Sharp, the book will be the best thing to come out of Australia since Kylie Minogue. If you disagree, the proclamations will paint with too broad of a marketing brush and leave a bad, Vegemite-like aftertaste. Regardless, the book’s assertive tone adds some Jungle Rain chilli sauce fire to the usually dry material in marketing textbooks.

      Note: the paperback version of the text is 796 pages. For brevity, I will focus on the book’s take on some of the topics that I have discussed in this column over time.

      Consumer behaviour is mindless and habitual

      In an early chapter, the textbook discusses how everyday people – those who do not work in marketing – approach brands.

      The findings: most purchasing is mindless repeat-buying. Loyalty programs do not work. Buyers do little research themselves, even with the internet today. Product loyalty comes naturally with use because people gravitate towards the same brands to simplify their lives.

      “Many marketing textbooks tend to gloss over these facts about habitual buying, overemphasising rational decision making and thinking,” the text states. “For the majority of brand buying and store choice, habit and convenience drive our behaviour.”

      There is a cafe close to my flat in Tel Aviv where I eat lunch, hold meetings, write columns and prepare conference presentations in my work as a marketing speaker. I have gone there for almost three years now – longer than all of the workers and managers except for the owner.

      Why did I go there the first time? It was close. The food was good, the people were nice, and it was not too loud to work, so I kept going back. One day last year, the manager told me that I would get a 10% discount every time. As a consumer, I took the offer and thanked her kindly. But as a marketer, I knew that I would cost them 10% in unearned revenue with every order. I would have continued to go there without the discount.

      In a larger example, I usually fly on Turkish Airlines for conferences and clients because I think the company has the best lounge and business class in the world. Of course, I joined the loyalty programme. But I would have continued to fly with them without getting a free flight once in a while and costing them unearned revenue.

      Secondly, many marketers – especially in the digital world – believe that consumers want to have “relationships” with brands, that people often research products extensively before purchasing, and that brands should take positions on the political and cultural issues of the day.

      The text implies or outright states that all of those ideas are utterly wrong: “Marketers have to accept that our brand is a small part of the lives of most of our customers.”

      We need “sophisticated mass marketing”

      One of the battles in marketing is between the ideas of segmentation versus penetration.

      In basic terms, segmentation aims to divide the market into some number of targeted customer groups based on sets of characteristics. Penetration argues that the best results come from broad and repetitive mass marketing to anyone who might be relevant. Segmentation tends to create individual marketing mixes for each group while penetration will usually use take a one-size-fits-all approach.

      For those who might not know, Sharp is one of the fiercest advocates of penetration.

      “Segmentation encourages managers to think of differences rather than look for bigger commonalities or look for ways to be inclusive,” the textbook states. “This is anti-scale and potentially anti-growth, and could reduce competitiveness.”

      “Brand-specific segments generally do not exist – rival brands usually compete as perfectly interchangeable options in what for them is a single, unsegmented mass market. There is no support for the idea that competing brands each appeal to a unique subset of users that look different from the customer bases of competitors. Unfortunately, few marketers are aware of this fact.”

      Sharp also criticises the use of database-driven targeting to focus on the customers who purchase the most. “The logic is wrong: marketing efforts should not be concentrated on the heaviest, most profitable customers, but on those who collective will have the biggest differential reaction.”

      A common idea is that 20% of customers are responsible for 80% of revenue and that marketers should focus on that smaller group. But in the textbook’s opinion, the key to growth is not to focus on getting existing customers to purchase more but on convincing those who are not customers to buy a product one time. This idea informs many of the book’s ideas on numerous topics.

      Sharp argues that marketers should not be over-targeting and instead do “sophisticated mass marketing”. The text’s 11-step process for doing so can be summarised by the idea of segmenting only when absolutely necessary – when the differentiating characteristics relate directly to buying behaviour. Men and women, for example, buy different clothes, so that differentiation is usually important. Location and income, in contrast, are usually less relevant.

      “Segments that are non-intuitive, complicated, or mysterious are unlikely to be of practical value,” the text states.

      The reality of online versus offline

      In this column and at marketing conferences, I frequently discuss the merits and drawbacks of direct response versus advertising. In terms of long-term ROI, Sharp’s textbook argues for advertising.

      “While the likes of direct mail offers or programmatic buys online appear to give high returns on investment numbers, they typically skew to those who already buy the brand and are thus inefficient to underpin a strategy of growth,” the text states. “So, for most marketers interested in growth, mass marketing is more cost-effective than targeted approaches.”

      Sharp, for example, writes that television advertising costs two to three cents per person, which seems to be a reasonable expense when the alleged fraudin online display advertising is taken into account.

      Further, Sharp’s textbook states that as for online retailing, “in some categories, it seems to have reached its peak”. In the UK, one chart reports, only 24% of households shopped online for groceries in 2014. Those households shopped online an average of 14 times that entire year. That does not bode well for those who insist that marketers should be digital-first or even digital-only.

      In the chapter of media mixes, the text notes that Australians watched 20.7bn minutes of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on traditional television compared to 325m on digital video and 68m on social media. That is billions compared to millions. Clearly, television is not dying.

      In addition, the chapter lists the pros and cons of various traditional and digital media – as well as a section on the aforementioned online ad fraud. Sharp is dismissive of “earned media” on networks such as Facebook – the unpaid posts that reach a company’s followers – because “research showed that such earned media was not of high quality as it only allowed brands to reach their most heavy buyers – which were the easiest audience to reach anyway.”

      What the book misses

      No textbook is perfect, and each one will always demonstrate the biases of the author – especially in this case. That being said, there are a few issues that I would like to see addressed in future editions.

      The book is heavily biased towards marketing in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies. Most of the examples involve large consumer brands even though, in one example, Forrester estimates that the B2B e-commerce market in the US will be twice the size of B2C e-commerce by 2020. Most of the B2B examples are small blurbs at the end of sections or chapters. Furthermore, Sharp’s textbook does not discuss marketing in the high-tech, SaaS, or startup worlds– where the practices, for better or worse, are often radically different.

      Public relations is barely mentioned. There are entire chapters or large sections devoted to the advertising, personal selling and direct response tactics within the promotional mix, but PR is mentioned almost as an afterthought on only a few pages. And when PR is discussed, it is only in the context of media relations and publicity – even though that is only one type of PR. (Too many marketers think PR and publicity are the same things.)

      While Sharp discusses social media and search engine advertising, I am still waiting for a textbook that covers “organic” search engine optimisation. It is an important topic because, in one analysis by Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin using data from marketing analytics platform Jumpshot, 95% of the clicks that follow Google US searches are in organic results and 5% are in search advertising. An analysis of the top 10,000 websites in the world by SEMrush, a competitive marketing intelligence platform, found that 87% are in organic results and 13% in search advertising. I will probably wait for such a textbook for a long time because while most marketers understand the principles of media mixes and advertising waste, few know about technical SEO concepts such as schema code and robots.txt files. (For a primer, see this prior column of mine.)

      Many of the case studies consist of Australian brands. Examples are easier to understand when the companies are known, so the textbook might be less valuable for the men at work who are not from the Land Down Under. However, it is undoubtedly a culturally positive thing for people to have more knowledge about Australia than what comes from Crocodile Dundee movies.

      I have always argued that marketers of all experience levels should read less of the fluff in the blogs of too many marketing companies and more trade publications and quality textbooks. Sharp’s new tome certainly qualifies. But just remember that his strong opinions are not the only ones out there.

      The Promotion Fix is an exclusive biweekly column for The Drum contributed by global marketing and technology keynote speaker Samuel Scott, a former journalist, consultant, and director of marketing in the high-tech industry. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Scott is based out of Tel Aviv, Israel.


      Lionsgate’s ‘Wonder’ Tops DVD, Blu-ray Disc Sales and Rental Charts

      AUGGIE (Jacob Tremblay) and JACK WILL (Noah Jupe) in WONDER. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment.

      Lionsgate topped the national home video sales charts the week ended Feb. 17 with “Wonder,” the acclaimed drama about a child with Treacher Collins syndrome – a genetic disorder characterized by deformities of the ears, eyes, cheekbones, and chin – who is trying desperately to fit in.

      The film debuted at No. 1 on NPD VideoScan overall disc sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, the film earned more than $131 million in U.S. theaters (and $290 million worldwide) on a budget of $20 million.

      Universal Pictures’ “A Bad Moms Christmas” slipped to No. 2 on both charts its second week in stores, after having bowed at No. 1 the prior week.

      The Sony Pictures’ firefighter drama “Only the Brave” slipped to No. 3 on the overall chart and No. 6 on the Blu-ray Disc sales chart after debuting in second and third place, respectively, the previous week.

      Top 10 Home Media Magazine rental chart for the week ended 2/18/18:

      1. Wonder (new)
      2. A Bad Moms Christmas
      3. Roman J. Israel, Esq. (new)
      4. Only the Brave
      5. Geostorm
      6. Blade Runner 2049
      7. Boo 2! A Madea Halloween
      8. It (2017)
      9. American Made
      10. Jigsaw

      For complete sales and rental charts, visit


      Global smartphone sales fall for the first time in more than a decade

      A customer purchases the new iPhone X at an Apple store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California.

      Getty Images
      A customer purchases the new iPhone X at an Apple store on November 3, 2017 in Palo Alto, California.

      Global smartphone sales fell by 5.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 — the industry’s first decline since 2004, according to a study from research firm Gartner.

      Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi were the only vendors in the top five to experience year-over-year growth in the quarter, respectively by 7.6 percent and 79 percent.

      “Upgrades from feature phones to smartphones have slowed down due to a lack of quality ‘ultra-low-cost’ smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones,” said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. “Replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer.”

      “While demand for high quality, 4G connectivity and better camera features remained strong, high expectations and few incremental benefits during replacement weakened smartphone sales,” Gupta said.

      Samsung maintained the number one spot for global sales, growing market share from the fourth quarter of 2016, despite a 3.6 percent dip. Apple sales fell 5 percent year over year and Oppo sales fell 3.9 percent.

      All five top vendors grew in global market share in the fourth quarter of the 2017, widening the gap between the leaders and the rest of the industry.

      Smartphones sales for all of 2017 increased by 2.7 percent from the previous year to 1.5 billion.