Saturday, May 23, 2015

Brand Update : Maggi Noodles in a soup !

Its a worst nightmare come true for a marketer, the brand getting into a health controversy. India's favorite noodles brand Maggi landed in its biggest challenge of its life when the health officials from Uttarpradesh FDA asked the company to recall one batch of noodles of a suspected high levels monosodium glutamate (MSG).The news spread like a wildfire both in social media and mainstream media . 

The company sprang into action by denying any addition of MSG to its noodles however with a caveat that glutamate may have occurred naturally to noodles because of some ingredients. ( really !). Another news that went viral is that Maggi Noodles contains excessive quantities of the metal lead and hence it is going to be banned. Again the company its its clarification says that they test noodles for lead content and it is within the permissible limit ( really !) .

Its a crisis for a brand which is having more than 70% share in the Indian market but with competition hotting up. A big blow to the brand which off late has been harping on health platform. 

What is worrying is that the complaint has not originated from a consumer or an activist but by a government agency. Hence the perception of  seriousness of the finding is more and the damage is also grave for the brand. The main stream media also cannot ignore the issue because it is from a government department. Another issue is that since it is  a government department that initiated the complaint, the brand cannot hope for a speedy solution. 

It is interesting to observe how Nestle has responded to the crisis. The first reaction would be of denial. The brand had denied the finding of MSG stating that it has not added MSG to the noodles. The entire episode was amplified in the social media and Nestle was also actively engaging the conversation in the social media. ( Read a good commentary  by Karthik Srinivasan) . The twitter handle of the brand and the brand's micro-site has been updated with the brand's version of the events.

As Karthik has stated in the blog, the brand may be readying its brand ambassador Madhuri Dixit to convince the customer that it is safe to consume. Since Big B has also endorsed the brand, Nestle may rope him also since he already have experience in helping the brand survive such controversies   ( pun intended).

It almost 24 days since the issue began. The brand may be waiting for an independent test by a lab for further action or is it waiting for the issue to die down ? 

As a consumer since my child love noodles, there is a ban on noodles at home as of now. Because whether added or not, Nestle has confirmed presence of MSG or Glutamate and  lead metal inside - whether within permissible limit or not . Ofcourse we will continue to eat other foods till it is found guilty.
So what will happen to Maggi ?
The consumer's memory is short. So he will forget all these after sometime. Can Maggi wait it out ! The brand already had commented that it will challenge the order.

The larger issue is of trust. If one read between the lines of the company's version ( here) there is an admission that the food is not healthy but it conforms to legal norms. The company already knew the presence of glutamate and lead in it but the news came out with the controversy. It would take sometime for Nestle to rebuild its trust especially the health positioning.

It would be interesting to see how Nestle would be handling this crisis. The current strategy seems to be waiting for further clarification from independent lab tests and government actions. Probably the company  would be using the independent lab test to convince the customers that lead metal and MSG is within permissible limits and then continue telling stories of Taste Bhi , Health Bhi !.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

RUOSH : Pity We Don't Make Shoes for Women

Brand : RUOSH
Company : Sara Suole Pvt Ltd

Brand Analysis Count : # 557

Ruosh is an interesting brand. The brand came to my notice through some good print ads in the TOI supplement with a very intriguing tagline " Pity we don't make shoes for women". I wondered how a brand can put such a tagline with a risk of offending women consumers.

Ruosh is a premium brand of shoes from a little-known Bangalore based  company - Sara Suole. Although the company is little known to the consumer world, Sara Suole has been a supplier of shoes to some of the well known global brands like Espirit, Kenneth Cole, Louis Phillippe etc. The company which was established in 2001 is a leading exporter of shoes and soles.

Its natural that a quality product supplier would want to establish its name in the branded world rather than remain as a little-known supplier of shoes. We have seen companies like Mirza Tanners launching their own brand (Red Tape).

RUOSH was thus born. The brand which started small in select cities is now fast expanding its footprint in both online and offline stores. 

RUOSH brand is positioned as an expert in leather shoes. The brand's value proposition is its quality and design. The branding tries to highlight through some interesting cheeky campaigns. The tagline " Pity, we don't make shoes for women" is also an interesting experiment. First it catches your attention and in a subtle way polishes the ego of men through exclusivity. 

Ruosh is currently running its TVC. 
Watch the ad here : Ruosh 1  
                                Ruosh 2

The ads are smart , humorous and conveys the message quite elegantly. Men would definitely like the way RUOSH conveyed the message. The brand has done all the right things in the branding front. The brand is priced little steeply at around Rs 4500 +  to fight it out in the premium space. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Brand Update : Sada Sexy Raho with Set Wet !

Set Wet has now a brand ambassador in the form of Aditya Roy Kapur. Since the take over of the brand by Marico, this is the first major shift in the strategy for Set Wet brand. According to media reports, Marico intends to position this brand for the youth and concentrate on hair styling products. The brand now has the endorsement from the upcoming star Aditya Roy Kapur.
Watch the ad here : Set Wet Aditya Roy Kapur
The brand has retained the " Be Sexy " positioning but added some more class to the brand campaign.  The brand has also changed the tagline from " Very Very Sexy " to  " Sada Sexy Raho " meaning be always sexy.
Despite the much used Sexy positioning, I liked the way Set Wet has used this theme. The brand is perceived to be a cool brand and the latest campaign emphasizes this coolness. I liked the execution of the ad and brings in a freshness to the brand. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Brand Update : Alia Bhatt to Perk Up Cadbury Perk

Cadbury Perk is a confused brand. Perk came into limelight with an epic fight between KitKat and Perk. Then both these brands went to two trajectories. While KitKat was able to find a direction in terms of positioning , Perk was totally a confused brand. Nestle then launched Munch to fight Perk. Perk kept on experimenting with advertising themes and positioning and still has not found its mojo. 

Really I miss the magic of the launch campaigns of Perk . From this classic ad, the brand went to meaningless campaigns and later somewhat settled into its glucose energy focus. While KitKat focused on Have a Break positioning, Perk was no where in the picture.

Now Perk is again trying a new positioning featuring the Bollywood star Alia Bhatt.  The brand is running the campaign featuring the new celebrity endorser. 

Watch the ad here : Alia Bhatt Perk
Along with the new ad, Perk now has a new tagline " Jiyo Lightum Light"  which probably means to live life freely. 
From the ad, I have a feeling that the campaign was created around the celebrity rather than the brand. The thinking would be like , let us make an ad that fits Alia Bhatt ! 
My feeling is that Perk is struggling to find the right positioning. The new positioning lacks a connect with the product and the practical joke theme and the bubbly girl character has been heavily used by many brands in the past. 
Its sad to see the standards of the Perk's ads go down compared to the earlier ones ( featuring Preity Zinta). 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Brand Update : Live-in makes Ajay Devgn say " Can't Live Without"

After some unworthy advertisement campaigns, Live-in has come out with a new campaign featuring the actor- Ajay Devgn. The brand is currently running the new campaign featuring the celebrity.
The brand had come to the limelight with some smart campaign featuring Dino Morea with the focus on comfort as the USP. 
Later the brand changed track and produced some averagely creative campaigns and faded into the clutter.

This time around, the brand is putting its future on Ajay Devgn.
The choice of the celebrity is interesting since he does not feature in the young brigade of celebrity endorsers. So wondering whether the brand is taking the risk of alienating the young consumers.
The brand has retained its tagline " Can't Live Without "
The  new campaign is somewhat ordinary without any wow factor. The presence of the actor gives some freshness to the otherwise forgotten brand other than that the new rejuvenation exercise delivers not much. Along with the new ad, the brand also has a new logo . 
My opinion is that this brand faded into oblivion because of lack of marketing investment from the owners. After the initial high profile branding, there was no  note-worthy campaigns for this brand. Even at the stores, this brand was virtually invisible. Hopefully the brand will receive more sustained investment in days to come. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Brand Update : This summer, Frooti gets a major makeover

This summer, the 30 year old Frooti has got a bold makeover. Frooti has re-branded itself with a new logo, new packaging and ofcourse new brand communication. Frooti has a commanding 80% + share in the tetra-pack segment of the Rs 3500 crore Indian mango drink market. But the overall market share of the brand is only 11% in the total market. This is because the market is dominated by PET packs

The brands like Maaza and Slice dominate the market with their PET bottle variants. More over, the company feels that Frooti is perceived to be a kid's brand thus alienating the young/teen consumers who now form the majority of the consuming class of these products.

So along with the re-branding, Frooti has also changed the product formula with more juice pulp added to it. The re-branding also saw a change in the advertising agency . The company has roped in Sagmeister  & Walsh for this exercise.
The result is a bold logo, new color for the packaging and a new campaign.

Watch the tvc here : Frooti life

The brand has retained SRK as the endorser.

The ad uses the stop-motion animation and frankly I didn't get the plot until I read the detailed story line in an article

The theme revolves around the tiny people in a tiny world living a Frooti Life.
The brand which brought back the classic " Fresh'N'Juicy " tagline has dropped it in the new scheme of things. The new tagline it seems is " The Frooti Life".

The packaging is bold and refreshing. The ad is amusing because of the stop-motion animation but I am not sure whether it has the wow-factor enough to cause the youngsters to flock to it. The brand has attempted a laddering up from the highly functional FreshNJuicy proposition. But I feel that the plot is not that clear. 

While the brand has made a refreshing change, I am wondering what next for the brand ? How is the brand going to take the " Frooti Life " forward ? Just being amusing is a dangerous goal in a re-branding and re-segmenting exercise. 
The 2013 campaign was so good and bought back the freshness to the brand with SRK boosting the presence. A drastic change in the whole branding and segment is something which is quite intriguing.
Some how I feel a disconnect between the tiny people and SRK and Frooti Life ! May be  because I am out of the TG.