Sunday, August 21, 2011

129- Driving Growth through Changing Palates

129- Driving Growth through Changing Palates

I have been liking the Cadburys, 'Kuch meetha ho jaye' campaign for a while now. The TV commercials are warm, tell a story, softly tugs at your heart - whether its the eloping daughter TVC or the young teen wanting to walk the girl to her house or the young couple sneaking a conversation at the dinner table amidst family members. Over the last year or so i have also witnessed increasing instances of people giving or recieving the chocolate packs during festivals and other occassions instead of the traditional mithai-boxes. The marketing wallas would probably call this product growth through expanding usage. Within expanding usage it would be a case of expanding the number of occassions that the product can be used or consumed. I think this is a brilliant marketing campaign, which has already made a dent on the established social practices - and if the cash registers at Cadbury's are ringing, i am not surprised.

Every product we are told reaches maturity where its growth plateaus after the initial surge forward. India by all accounts traditionally has not been a chocolate consuming society. The chocolate revolution so to say, either as a sin food, or a food (if at all it can be called as food) indulgence has been a recent phenomena. Not many years ago, it was an item for the elite, particularly those who returned from the foriegn shores. Our sweet tooth was satiated by traditional mithais or sweet dishes - whether its the rice kheer and sewainyas of the north, or the pooran polis of the west or the paisam and mysore pak of the south and the innumerable milk based sweets of the east. Every region and community has its signature sweet dishes, which apart from being sweet also had some or the other food value. But chocolate is a different creature. It has limited food value, but much to the chagarin of the many with bursting waist lines, a very high calorie value. The last two decades has made chocolates the most common indulgence for children - and when they grow up, the chocolate mania in them refuses to grow up - mostly.

How does the marketing guy expands usage? Well, he gets an Eureka idea - how about chocolates usurping the space which traditionally has been occupied with the sweet dishes/foods. Imagine if after food people start having chocolates instead of jaggery or kheer or sandesh. Imagine if people start giving chocolates instead of sweets on every auspicious occassion as shagun. Imagine the consumption possible and imagine the market available? Absolutely brilliant piece of marketing.
I remember a marketing anecdote from my marketing classes. In a room full of marketing professionals the Coke head asks - 'Who are we competing against?' No prizes for guessing the answer - 'Pepsi'. The Head says ' No. Water is our chief competitor, so is tea, coffee and nimbu paani. We must mover from the share-of-wallet to the pursuit of share-of-stomach. Every time a consumer wants to drink something he must want to have Coke'. I don't know if the story is true or not but its another example of trying to expand product consumption through playing with the traditional stuff served. The DNA of occasions has been played with, altering the map of what is to be eaten and served. No wonder, the nimbu-paani has practically gone out of the welcome drink for the guest.

Any lessons for what we sell for a living folks? Think about it.


Monday, August 15, 2011

128 Monday Musings - A tale of two citizens

128 Monday Musings -A tale of two citizens

They are separated by a good score years or so and so it can be safely concluded that they belong to two separate generations. The years that yawn between them encompass two stories, keeping together two lives disjointed yet connected, in the sense that where one ends that other ought to have begun.
She is lightly over 60, has very little formal education to boast of, but is well versed in the language of her ancestors. She is literate in a very limited sense, that her Hindi is passable but has no familiarity to English whatsoever. Her life revolves around her family, cooking, washing and buying vegetables. She has spent her entire life fufilling familial responsibilities like millions like her in the social mileu she inhabits. Every Republic day and Independence day she demands a tricolor be brought to her.She would then struggle to climb to the terrace of her house, which is a small hamlet in some inconsequential hinterland of this vast country and tie the tricolor to a unceremonious bamboo stick and unfurl the national flag with the TV antennae acting as the spinal cord that keeps it erect and flying. The family and the nieghbours treated this with indulgence for a while, some even made fun of her fascination, but now have come to accept the ritual twice a year. No one is sure if she understands the concept of a nation, or that there is any background of service to nation that runs in her family or she has had any experience that has drawn her to the strongest symbol of a nation - but come the republic day and the independence day she is resolute that she WILL unfurl the flag.

He is a young progeny of the liberalised India. He has flourished with whatever the country had provided - and amongst his friends is a common refrain, that they had succeed inspite of the country and not because of it. He mocks the government sector for all its shoddiness, ineptitude, callousness, lack of initiative, poor security, overburdening taxes and under delivery of governance. Luckily he is not alone in it. He is educated, articulate and aware. He has read all the history, has all his facts right, knows the major events of the Indian struggle of independence, can argue in favor or against the (controversial) role of all major stalwarts of the struggle with passion and eloquence. One might not be wrong to include him in the resurgent middle class, that is the pride of last twenty years and many argue, upon whom the future of this country depends.

This was a long weekend including the Independence day holiday. She unfurled the flag. He went on a holiday.