Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Cadbury Perk : Time to Perk Up

Brand : Perk
Company: Cadbury's
Agency: O&M

Brand Count : 132

Perk was Cadbury's foray into the chocolate wafer bar category. Indian Chocolate market is estimated to be around Rs 500 crore. Although there is huge potential for this market, the penetration of this product category is very low. The percapita consumption of Chocolate in India is 160 gm compared to 8 kg in UK. The urban penetration is abysmally low at 15%.

Perk was launched in 1995. The product gained immediate consumer attention because of the nature of the product and some smart advertising. During my MBA days the competition between Nestle Kitkat and Perk was a hot topic in the marketing sessions. 11 years after the launch, Perk has not made a headway into this market. Reports suggest that both Perk and Kitkat is facing issues of stagnation.

Perk is a quasi chocolate product with wafer coated with chocolate. The product launch was a classic case of smart advertising. The brand was launched not as a chocolate brand but as a " Smart Snack" that can be had any time, any where and whenever you feel hungry. That was an awesome positioning and execution was perfect with Preity Zinta endorsing the brand. The tagline " Thodi Si Ped Pooja" was a classic tagline to have.

While Perk was taking about snacks , Kitkat was busy teaching its customers how to eat a Kitkat. Both campaigns propelled both brands into a great start. But soon both of these brands faced stagnation.

Perk tried to getover the stagnant market by launching a price led intiative. Like sachets, the brand launched variants at a price as low as Rs 5. This offensive prompted Nestle to launch Kitkat at a lower price.
Although the reduction in the price expanded the market to certain extent, the growth was not as expected. Primarily this is because of the characteristics of Indian market where Chocolates are not as popular as in the west and there is competition from the lower priced " Mithais".

Talking about the brand Perk, after the initial excellent start, the brand failed to capitalise on the positioning of the brand. Inorder to create more excitement, the brand tried to experiment with its successful positioning and changed the positioning to some bull shit.
I again wonder why brands change their successful positioning. Perk as a snack is one of the best positioning you can have. Preity is one of the best brand ambassador and both the brand and the model gel with each other.
From the " thodi si ped pooja" the brand took the positioning " kabhi bhi , kaise bhi" and then to some other taglines which I don't remember. The latest ad of Priety's encounter with Yamaraj again is a Damp Squib and is not funny as it is intended. The tagline is also not catchy and it says " baki sab Bhula de" meaning " forget all else".The problem with Perk ads is its over reliance on being funny. After the funny campaigns from Perfetti, every brand is trying to make the customers laugh. Humour if not carefully used will create a negative impact. Perk's initial campaign had a very light humour or a rightword will be playfulness or bubbly exemplified by Preity. But when the brand tries to be outright funny, the entire campaign becomes a flop. Perk has fallen to the trap of trying to be funny while the brand does not need to be funny.

Perk is having serious competition from Kitkat and Munch. The current positioning of Perk is similar to that of Munch which is endorsed by Rani Mukharjee. Perk can have solace that Munch ads are also lousy.
The fact that the market is stagnating shows that the brand is not able to create a place for itself in the mind of the customer( read Positioning) and it is competing with other full chocolate brands like CDM. Perk's initial positioning had they continued it could have helped the brand to have a space for itself different from other brands. Perk could have encouraged its customers to keep a Perk always at home and with them because no one knows when they will be hungry.
Source: superbrandsindia,agencyfaqs,businessline, strategicmarketing