Monday, May 07, 2012

Brand Update : Does Limca Really Needs Kareena ?

The summer of 2012 belongs to lemon based beverages. Marketers are all out to woo consumers through high decibel promotions for lemon based beverage brands. These brands ( once neglected) started to be considered as high growth brands. In BCG metrics terms,Question Marks suddenly became Stars ! The reason is the late realization that Indians have a soft-corner for lemon flavor which was long neglected by maverick marketers who wanted the Cola to rule the market.Now lemon flavored segment is growing at 17-20% annually compared to single digit growth for the Cola brands.
The new Star of the block is the iconic Limca brand from Coca Cola. Coca Cola was reluctantly pushing the brand to the forefront through some well crafted campaigns during the last few years. Although the share of voice was less, the sheer quality of the campaigns lifted the brand to new heights. 
Watch some of these ads here : Limca Ads 2006-10

The campaigns used music very effectively and focused on the concept of freshness . All through these years, the taglines keep on changing from
Fresh Ho Jao
Haseen Lamhaon ko churao
Do Pal Taazgi
Maza taazgi ka
Doobo Taazgi mein

The brand conceived a brilliant imagery of water splashing with some soul-warming music which brought back the magic of Limca. 
This summer, the brand mandarins of Coke decided to change everything. The brilliant idea of a celebrity endorser was conceived and executed. Kareena Kapoor was chosen as the celebrity and the brand owners decided to ditch the earlier positioning and imagery and brought in a new higher order attribute to the brand - Pyaas Badhao where the concept is the brand wants its consumers to thirst for more ( success) in life.

Watch the ad here : Limca  Pyaas Badhao

I somehow feel that despite the best efforts and intention, the campaign lacks the magic. The brand seems to be preaching to consumers which was a drastic shift interms of the personality. Earlier campaigns had full of romance and soft imagery. The new campaign completely lacks any romance and is in the backdrop of sports seems so out of touch with the brand's personality. Kareena holding a limca bottle is not going to create any magic for the brand. Infact, Limca's brand equity which survived Coke's assassination attempt does not need to derive any support from celebrities. To be fair to the brand, Limca had earlier roped in celebrities like Salman Khan, Riya Sen etc to endorse it. 
In one of the reports, the brand owners suggested that the change in the brand strategy was warranted by the aggression of competing brands. However, that does not explain the logic of such a drastic shift in the brand's personality.
Brands exhorting the consumers to scale higher heights is not a new concept.Brands like Horlicks, Bournvita etc pitch on similar lines. Hence Limca's new preaching pitch puts it among the usual crowd not different. But the earlier romantic platform was something unique. I don't remember any beverage brand positioning on a romantic platform.
So uniqueness lost, in the clutter , heavily depended on celebrity for power, will be the outcome interms of the branding. Had the brand used Kareena in a romantic mood with water splashing around, Limca would have broken its own Limca Books of Records ! Alas... its preaching time...

Related Brand
Limca : Lime N Lemony