Micromax's rise to the top: The gimmicks that drew the crowd

Micromax is the leading mobile phone vendor in the country, at least according to one report on the market, and in the process, it has usurped Samsung from its throne, and along the way, also ousted Nokia in the feature phones ranks.


So how did Micromax get to such a lofty position? Well, it's a combination of giving people what they want (high specs for a low price) and also unleashing a torrent of marketing campaigns to become a by-word for low-cost phones in the country. Micromax is everywhere from TV sponsorships to presenting EDM concerts, but we can never discount gimmicks when it comes to the company. And over the years, we have seen some very interesting ones, that have also played a part in a way, in its rise.


Blow to unlock

This is one 'feature' that we saw last year, but not a single Micromax user we know actually uses this. Micromax pre-loaded an MUnlock app on the Canvas 4, which allowed people to unlock their phones by blowing near the microphone area or by simply shaking their phone. It was meant to be a showstopper, a top-of-the-story feature, but turned out to be a dud.


MAd app

When Micromax rolled out its 'Mad About Ads' campaign, we expected something zany from the company in its next phone. In fact, it turned out to be nothing but a cheap way to earn some revenue from users seeing ads. Micromax gave users points in exchange for viewing ads before making a call, and they could be used to redeem talk time and other value-added telecom services. However, we don't see anyone waiting for a minute before being allowed to make the call. It would have sounded awesome in pre-production stage, but the way the app was executed failed.


True octa core

Micromax became one of the first Indian companies to release a true octa-core phone in the Canvas Knight (see our review) earlier this year. While the phone has a lot going for it, the octa core processor really brought down its final score, if anything. That's because the battery life was abysmal, and heating issues were hampering performance. We would have been better off with a well-optimised quad-core processor, rather than this mess.


Wolverine endorsement

Hugh Jackman is a huge name in Hollywood and in the entertainment business in general, but the way Micromax used his tie-up with the company has been pitiful. Aside from the singular Micromax Canvas Turbo advertisement (one of the better ones in Micromax's history, but we'll get to that later), Jackman has been a missing figure in whatever the company has launched since then. What's happened to the big star and why has been abandoned?


Bad ads

Micromax is decidedly Indian. One only needs to look at the monstrosity that is their Bling series and their crappy Akshay Kumar ads to determine this. But somewhere along the way, the company decided to ditch the desi image and went all phoren (slang intended). It was odd to see shiny foreigners spewing nonsensical lines (enough with the 'can do' motif, guys) with no real context. Surely a sweaty man braving the Mumbai locals while fiddling on his Canvas Turbo would not see sense in these kinds of ads. Micromax has changed in recent times though, if the advertising for the Unite 2 is any indication, but even then it's more cheesy than nice.


You could say some of these are not gimmicks, but what's really not up for debate, is that they have had a major impact. The company is moving to international markets as well, and is also on Google and Microsoft's radars, which is a great success story for Indian manufacturers.

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