Saffola’s last TV commercial was in 2000. The plank was health and well being. But somehow, the heart care factor did not come out strongly. Ashish Bhargava, Marketing Manager - Saffola, Marico Industries states, “Though the campaign worked for Saffola in a limited sense, it was realised that the dimension of health was not clear.”
There was a lull in overall edible oil advertising, with Saffola being no exception. However, the brand is back on the airwaves. As per Bhargava, “It is true that fewer edible oil brands are advertising today – but monies spent have not gone down vis-à-vis the number of advertisers reducing. It is limited number of advertises spending larger monies. Regional brands advertise only regionally. National brands prop up the market. Dhara for some reason is less visible these days — as far as brand communication is concerned. Major national spenders are predominantly Sundrop and Saffola.”
Prathap Suthan of Grey Worldwide has conceptualised the new campaign. The TVC, directed by Ram Madhwani of Equinox, focuses on a little girl who goes to various groups comprising four people and gives one a heart shaped balloon. Explains Bhargava, “As per the estimates based on various reports, one out of every four Indians suffers from a heart problem. Hence, the campaign conveys the message: improve your health today. It encourages people to have a healthy lifestyle.”
The brand returns to its earlier proposition of heart care. The new focus is the result of introspection and research. It was found that though diseases like AIDS and cancer evoke a feeling of awe, heart disease is a silent one. It, however, leads to a change in lifestyle and the entire family is under stress. “There was a social responsibility in addition to commercial gains,” states Bhargava. Raising the bar on heart awareness and bringing focus on the criticality of heart care, as per Bhargava, are two objectives of the new campaign.
Bhargava states that it has been clinically proven in Japan that oil with Saffola’s ingredients reduces cholesterol by 26% (Saffola Nutri Blend has a blend of Kardi and rice bran in 70:30 ratio).
Did abstaining from heavy-duty advertising affect the brand’s sales and salience? “No,” replies Bhargava. “Though there was not much advertising in the last couple of years, it has not impacted the sales. Genuineness of the brand was not forgotten. We have never made incorrect promises like other brands.”
Most edible oil brands today claim to be healthy. Has it reduced the differentiation between Saffola and other brands? Replies Bhargava, “The consumer is discerning, and has faith based on personal experience. We are not a me-too brand, so we don’t need to worry. Our brand promise is genuine and there is no confusion on brand identity. Brand track indicates that the brand is associated with heart care. Though we do not have a huge franchisee, the loyalty element is very high.”
To some extent, it can be attributed to Saffola’s ground activity. Saffola Healthcare foundation is taking heart care to masses. It was established in 1993 but has been very active since 1997. It is nationally active.