K&N-smallSeen this logo? I see it every single day, outside almost every single  roadside automobile mechanic in Bangalore. Remember seeing this logo in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and other cities as well!

Its the logo of a brand of automobile air filter, called, of course, K&N. I’ll go not go into the kind of brand it it – there’s enough about it online.

What baffles me is that this logo is also prominent in many cars…back of cars, to be precise. On many bikes too! Now, why would automobile mechanics and car/ bike owners want to display this brand’s sticker? Its just a brand of air filter, one of the many things that go into a vehicle! If car mechanics plaster this sticker after a repair work, what is their incentive to do so?

Unless I’m missing something here, what K&N has achieved here seems like an equivalent of Intel Inside campaign, where they elevated an otherwise-boring processor to a superstar.

Is K&N really a brand worth so much hype? Even as a product category, it sounds largely ‘internal’ and boring. Do people ask for K&N filter by name? Across my ownership of 2 bikes and 3 cars, I don;t even know if there’s a filter inside any of my vehicles – hopefully there’s one!

The air filter is not even like a visible car part like a tyre, which people, at least these days, ask by brand name. I did a Google Groups search and there are many mentions of K&N brand name, tagged along with specific vehicles! How did this happen?

In Intel’s case I know for a fact that it is largely to do with an obscenely expensive and intelligent marketing campaign – remember that Intel jingle/ logo before almost any PC ad on TV? Intel bought itself the ‘Inside’ recall – how did K&N pull this off?

Plus, how does one explain the massive number of promotional items listed on their website? Heck, they even have a premium apparel line!!