I am no marketing guru or profess to be anything of the like, but when a brand which I admire and one I actually have a pleasant user experience with dramatically changes its brand image, it seems to affect me. So when my telecom operator decides to drastically change its colour scheme, I do feel that something has changed. But when my telecom operator (or as is the case in Bombay, my to-be telecom operator) decides to brand itself Pink, I am a bit flabbergasted. I know that ToI had done a story on the future colours of Hutch two days ago, but the story still gave me some hope - they said Pink and Blue.
But Hutch has gone Pink! All Pink! Of colours in the world, they had to choose Pink! OK, so its a Dark Pink, but its freaking Pink none the less. And the citizens of India are soon going to be inundated with a pink campaign.
And by the way, in case you didn't know - the Orange brand's days are numbered in Bombay, because Hutch will return the rights to the brand to France Telecom in a couple of months. So from Orange, Bombay will go Pink. In even better news, because Essar bought over BPL Mobile and Essar are important stakeholders in Hutch and I assume Hutch would like to consolidate all its companies under one roof before they go for an IPO, plus I don't think Essar would like to pay the BPL money to use their brand, expect BPL Mobile also to go Pink soon.
Hutch might well roll out this new branding and colour across the world, with India just being the tip of the iceberg. After all, India is going to become Hutchison Telecom's largest market - if it isn't already with over 10 million Hutch (and Orange Mumbai) users. Vodafone is Ferrari Red, Orange is well, Orange and now Hutch is Pink. But ah, here we have a problem, because Duetsche Telecom is also Pink! But these are different pinks and the branding is also wildly different.
Anyway, I am rather sure that Hutch and O&M will come out with a killer advertising campaign soon and sell me the idea of Pink (Have you seen the brilliant Irfan Khan adverts for Hutch ka Chhota Recharge?). Well, their website hasn't changed as yet, but I guess by tomorrow morning, we'll be singing a different (Pink?) tune.
PS : One quick automobile brochure type disclaimer : The colour of the logo as seen on your screen may be nothing like the colour that Hutch actually uses, but let me assure you its pink all right!
EDIT : Why has Hutch gone Pink? and other similar questions are the most popular keywords for this blog, so as a service to everyone, I'll explain things a bit more. In 1995, Max Industries controlled by Analjit Singh acquired one of the two cellular licenses for the Bombay circle. Actually, Max Industries had acquired the license for Delhi but they swapped licenses with Bharti - which is an interesting bit of cellular telephony history in India. Now, when Hutchison Max was established they had acquired the rights to the 'Orange' brand for the period of ten years (if I'm correct) from Mannesmann, the German publisher which operated 'Orange' in Europe. However, Mannesmann, being a publisher obviously saw the telecom business as a non-core business and wanted to get out of it (plus the fact that they lost a lot of money). They tried to sell to Vodaphone in 1999, and Vodaphone AirTouch acquired the company but wanted out.
In 2000, the complication began. Orange got sold to France Telecom for a whopping $37 billion. This was the era of highly overpriced telecom acquisitions, and this wildly optimistic acquisition loaded France Telecoms books with a lot of debt. Now ironically, France Telecom at that point of time held 26% in BPL Mobile, but because of the deal that Orange had struck, the brand had been licensed for a certain period of time (10 years would be a good guess) and since HutchisonMax had spent a bomb promoting the brand they weren't keen to kill it. So you ended up with the strange situation that the brand of one of the partners in one of Mumbai's cellular networks was being used by the other network. Make sense of that if you will. On top of that, as both Hutchison and Orange have 3G operations in competing countries, this co-opetition thing was rather weird. So much so that Hutch executives who went to global Orange brand summits were locked out of certain meetings.
France Telecom exited BPL Mobile a long time ago, and today BPL Mobile is owned by Hutchison's main partner in India - the Essar Group. Some people (including me) feel that the BPL Mobile brand will be killed in favour of Hutch sometime around the IPO. After 10 years, France Telecom obviously decided not to renew their license agreement with Hutch and the Orange brand had to be killed. According to some stories I'm hearing, Orange didn't want the colour Orange to be used in the Hutch logo. Hutch had to be different - Red was out since Red is Airtel, Blue was BPL Mobile and Yellow was Idea. Hutch needed a high impact colour and sadly Pink seemed to be the only one available it now seems or what Hutch's brand managers thought that Pink was the only colour available.
Which is still unacceptable - even Green would have been better - maybe Lilac. The Hutch store's all over the place look godawful.