Monday, November 24, 2008

Bru : Happiness Begins with Bru

Brand : Bru
Company : Hindustan Unilever
Agency : O & M

Brand Analysis Count : 359


Bru is a power brand from the HUL's stable. A brand which pioneered the instant coffee category in Indian market in 1969 is also an example of many successful marketing practices. According to HUL, Bru is the market leader in coffee segment with a value share of 46.9 %.

Prior to 2004, HUL had many brands in the coffee category. It had Deluxe Green Label and Bru instant as the main brands and small brands like Dilkush, Cafe and Cafe Gold. In 2004, as a part of the power brand strategy, HLL decided to phase out Dilkush and Cafe brands . It then consolidated the coffee brands under the masterbrand Bru.

Bru before becoming the family brand was positioned as a coffee that tasted just like filter coffee. But after the elevation to master brand, Bru took the positioning around happiness.


Bru was synonymous for instant coffee and had an astounding 21% market share in the first year of launch itself. All these years, the brand has been fighting for the numero uno position with Nestle whose iconic Nescafe brand was the market leader. But in 2008, the brand pushed Nescafe to the second position.
Much of the success of Bru can be attributed to following factors

Innovation in new products
Innovation in packaging &
Aggressive campaigns

Nestle lost out because of lethargy. The company failed to consistently invest in its Nescafe brand. I do not seeing any memorable campaigns from Nescafe in recent past. This has cost the brand dearly.

HUL's marketing acumen is vivid in the rise of Bru as the market leader. It has never stopped innovating for this new brand.

Bru was able to give new offerings to customers on a regular basis. One of the recent successful new product was the cappuccino packs. The new flavor gave the brand a new thrust in the market. The new flavors even prompted hardcore tea lovers like me to try out these flavors . The best part was that these cappuccino was available in single serve sachets which prompted consumers to test the flavors.

Another innovation was the cold coffee. Bru launched the cold coffee variants which again captured the attention of the consumers.
These thrusts in new product development and roll out is visible when one visits a super market. The coffee section is full of various flavors and packs of Bru which itself creates a positive vibration for the brand.

Another factor which made Bru successful was the campaigns. The brand is famous for two campaigns. One featuring Amritha Rao was a big hit. The theme revolve around the shy girl wanting to introduce her boyfriend Sagar to her father.
Watch the TVC here : Bru Sagar

Another campaign which was highly popular was the 'little cup' ad. The ad shows the wife announcing the " good news " through a symbolic ' little cup'.
Watch the ad here : bru Little cup

Bru is positioned on the theme of happiness. The brand has the tagline " Happiness begins with Bru ". The positioning and communication has been consistent with the brand's promise of kickstarting one's day with a Bru.

These slice of life ads put Bru in a growth orbit. Consumers started loving the brand for its innovation and campaigns. For the Bru Cappuccino, it had roped in the Bollywood Director Karan Johar to endorse the brand.

Another critical factor that aided Bru's success was the innovation in packaging. The brand made the entry barrier low by launching small affordable SKUs. There are single serve and large packs at different price points making the brand affordable .The brand although is positioned as an aspirational brand is priced affordable thus making it a perfect example of a Masstige brand.

Recently the brand has yet again came out with a customer centric innovation in the form of a flavor lock. Most of the customers worry about losing the flavor of coffee powder once the pack is cut open. The flavor lock is a plastic clip which will lock the flavor from escaping. More than actually locking the flavor, the lock gives a psychological belief that the flavor will not the lost.

This little plastic lock also gives more convenience to the home maker. Typically when buying powders in packs, home makers have to transfer the powder to a container to preserve it for long. This lock effectively eliminates the need for such a container.

Bru is a brand which has reached the commanding position following methodologically all the critical elements for marketing success : customer centric innovation, aggression and new product development