Thursday, May 02, 2013

MeriiBoy Ice cream : Fighting Frozen Desserts

Brand : MeriiBoy
Company : Cousin's Group

Brand Analysis Count : 524

MeriiBoy is a brand from my home state Kerala. The brand is an interesting marketing story because it virtually changed the perception about ice-creams in the consumer's mind to a certain extent. The brand was created in 2003 as a part of the diversification of the parent group which was in the plastic moulding business.

MeriiBoy is interesting because it is on a task of educating the consumers about " real" ice-cream. The brand is positioned on the fact that it is made of pure milk and hence it is THE ice- cream. Most of the brands that is perceived to be ice-creams are " Frozen Desserts ". 
So what is the difference between Frozen Dessert and Ice Cream.
According to Prevention of Food  Adulteration Rule 1955 , Ice-cream is a product which contains not less than 10% of milk fat while Frozen Dessert contains vegetable fat ( source Business Line)

Many so called ice-cream brands are selling frozen desserts in the pretext of ice-creams because of the perception factor. No frozen dessert brands have advertised themselves as a part of the frozen dessert category and played on the consumer's inclusion of frozen desserts as a part of the ice-cream category. And till brands like MeriiBoy began to advertise the difference between the ice-creams and frozen desserts, consumers were not much bothered since these tasted quite similar .  
What Meriiboy has done was to run campaigns not only highlighting the difference between these two products and also subtly hinting that frozen desserts are less healthy than ice-creams since it contains vegetable oil (fat). Many frozen dessert's marketers has since then objected to this pitch with complaints to ASCI. 

However, the campaign has  created lot of buzz in the consumer's mind. MeriiBoy succeeded in creating a space in the consumer's mind as a brand which is " real" ice-cream . Ofcourse brands like Amul also was in the fore-front in creating the perception of " real ice-cream" . Infact Amul ice-cream's tagline itself is " Real Milk, Real Ice-cream". But in terms of share of voice, MeriiBoy has been quite vocal about the claim of being a real ice-cream.

Will this strategy work in the long term ? 

Having the positioning of  " real ice-cream " is a credible proposition now since not many brands now can claim that positioning. The task is to convert the awareness generated by the campaigns to real sales. This can be done only with a strong distribution back-end. Now although MeriiBoy has a presence in major shopping centres, it has not been able to built strong dealer network in the state. Given a choice between a frozen dessert and ice-cream, my hunch is that consumers will prefer an ice-cream. But the brand ought to be available to give that choice. That is not an easy task for a small brand like MeriiBoy.