Ferrari five: How to recover control of the traditional channel in Colombia?

Armando Borda, Gonzalo Guerra García, Carlos Cordova, Miguel Cordova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Learning outcomes: The learning outcomes are as follows: to analyze host market characteristics and consumer behavior to develop sound value propositions; to distinguish the characteristics of traditional retail as opposed to the ones of modern retail; to identify the potential benefits and challenges of working with traditional retail; to discuss how informality may affect business relations; and to identify potential avenues to align divergent interests between the focal firm and traditional retailers. Case overview/synopsis: The case described the situation faced by French International Company (FICO), a leading manufacturer of cigarettes, after the acquisition of Fosforera Colombiana (FOCOSA) in Colombia. FICO aimed to leverage the leadership position of FOCOSA and of its flagship brand Ferrari Lights that possess a 60% market share. However, after just a few months, it was clear that the acquired subsidiary was not performing adequately. The financial results obtained were disastrous. To face this situation, FICO appointed as the new marketing director to Waldo Tarantini who has experienced dealing with informal markets. To be aligned to the Colombian consumption pattern of five cigarettes daily, Waldo decided to launch a new presentation of the leading brand denominated Ferrari five, a package of 5 cigarettes at COP 1000. Considering that more than 60% of the sale can be explained by traditional retail, it was mandatory to secure its participation. Nevertheless, traditional retailers obtained up to 56% margin by selling single sticks. Waldo and his team rapidly needed to craft a commercial strategy to secure the participation of traditional retailers in a market plagued by informality, smuggling products and lack of control from national authorities. Complexity academic level: The case is intended to be used at the early stages of post-graduate studies and in executive education programs addressing issues such as emerging markets, informality, the base of the pyramid, trade marketing and product launches. In particular, the case can be used in MSc in Marketing’s students, first-year MBA students or executives following short courses. The field of studies in which the case should be taught is marketing or trade marketing in particular when analyzing emerging economies. Supplementary materials: Teaching notes are available for educators only. Subject code: CSS 8: Marketing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalEmerald Emerging Markets Case Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2020


  • Bottom of the Pyramid
  • Channel management/relationships
  • Emerging Markets
  • Informal Markets
  • International marketing
  • Latin America
  • Marketing
  • Marketing models
  • Retailing
  • Trade Marketing

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