Thursday, August 03, 2006

Alpenliebe : From the Alps

Brand : Alpenliebe
Company: Perfetti Vanmelle
Agency: McCann Erickson
Brand Count : 108

In the 1200 crore sugar confectionery market, Alpenliebe is the single largest brand in India estimated to be worth around 160 crore. The brand is positioned as a family candy and has been one of the most successful brand in a highly competitive market.

The brand came to India with the entry of the global giant Perfetti in India in 1994. Van Melle came to India in 2001. In 2001 the Italian and Dutch companies merged together to become Perfetti Vanmelle ( PVM).Now the Indian venture is the second largest of their global portfolio next to China.

In the products of PVM, Alpenliebe is the star. With effective and aggressive brand building , this brand has grown to become the single largest brand in the segment. The brand is a unique case study because of its peculiarities ie the name and the size.

Alpenliebe is a very complicated name. I searched for half a day to understand what it means. Their website does not have the answer nor do other marketing sites.
Then a friend of mine suggested that it is related to mountain Alps. Taking half hour on the , I found Liebe means Love. So by all probability Alpenliebe means From Alps with Love ( its my guess, inputs are welcome).

So it is a Herculean task to teach Indians ( with 24 languages and a million dialects) pronounce a brand name that does not have a meaning. Theory says that the brand name should be simple, reflect the brand values and easily pronounced. Alpenliebe broke all rules.
It is said that the initial 30 second ad of Alpenliebe pronounced the name 5 times to ensure that the TG pronounce it correctly. Why such a complicated brand name is another question all together. But this risk paid of in that the name became the biggest differentiator and reflected an International image. It is known fact that Indians are crazy about foreign brands and Alpenliebe capitalised on that.

The shape was also unique because most of the candies at that time was rectangular or cylindrical but Alpenliebe came out with a round shape.
More than the shape and the name , the product was really good .The company changed the taste of this brand to suit the Indian Palette making it more Caramelliar ( my usage) than the international one.
The brand is available in three flavours: milky caramel, Cream strawberry, Chocolate. A lollipop extention was launched last year.
Perfetti knows the method to build the brand. It is not hesitant in spending lot of money on Alpenliebe through high decibel interesting ads. The brand is positioned as a Family Candy with kids and elders sharing the limelite. The ad where the boy imitates the "father at Home and Office" is a hilarious one.
The market for Candies is expected to degrow in coming years. We have to see how Alpenliebe copes with this.

Alpenliebe is a classic case of marketers defying the theory and also highlights a simple truth " If You have money to spend, you can make a consumer sing in your language without understanding a bit of it . " anything is possible"
Source: Businessline, Agencyfaqs, Strategic Marketing