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Brand Goa misused for marketing [Goa] [Times of India]
[January 25, 2014]

Brand Goa misused for marketing [Goa] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) PANAJI: Goa of late has been promoted as a place where anything goes and brand 'Goa' is being used and abused as a marketing strategy without any monitoring by the state government.

The latest product to flaunt the label is a nicotine based chewing gum called 'Goa Nicofix', which is being widely advertised all over the internet - with an active facebook page - and is even funding a celebrity cricket league.

The food and drug administration (FDA) in Goa claims there is no company in the state that manufactures such a product. "This product is certainly not gone through us and we have no knowledge of any company in Goa that manufactures nicotine based chewing gums," an official at the FDA said.

"Only a pharmaceutical company is allowed to manufacture such a product. As a doctor who deals with nicotine addicts I do prescribe such products as an implementation of the 'nicotine replacement therapy, however, these are only from a licensed company (CIPLA) based in Verna," said Dr Shaheen from the district hospital at Mapusa. "Even the 'kwiknic' product launched by ITC is not recommended, how can a tobacco company prescribe a de-addiction drug?" she asks.

The issue with 'Goa Nicofix' is a much larger one dealing with the abuse of the word 'Goa' as a branding strategy. "It is imperative that the Goa government intervenes and takes necessary action to put a stop to this, however complicated or long drawn out the process may seem," demanded Roland Martins, convenor of GOACAN. The consumer organization has written a memorandum to the chief minister and other concerned authorities asking them to constitute a committee and issue a policy document that would monitor the use of the brand name 'Goa'.

'Goa Nicofix' is being promoted as a product that would help someone who wants to reduce or quit the habit of smoking or chewing tobacco. Ironically, the choice of words and language on the website home page - like their tag line 'Find Your Kick' could work more as an incitement for people to try nicotine than stay away from it, opines Dr Oscar Rebello, who echoed similar sentiments on the issue.

"Any attempt to reduce cigarette smoking in our society is welcome and nicotine gum is a time tested way to do so, having said that the misuse and scurrilous references to our state in various brand positioning in the market is extremely disturbing," Rebello said.

A few years ago, it was Goa gutka and Goa pan masala, two brands that tried to induce its clientele with the word 'Goa', and now the same company (Manikchand) have come up with a different way of attracting people to the drug. The employee manning the contact number mentioned on the product website was abusive and unentertaining when contacted by TOI.

"From gutkhas to scandalous references to Goa in various movies, our land is a veritable free for all. We keep endorsing bohemian lifestyle of casinos and alcohol to all, so it is no surprise that everyone perceives us as a people perennially intoxicated and doped out. If we want people to take us seriously, we need to fix this brand image of 'Goa," Rebello asserted.

(c) 2014 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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