Imagine the fun of having a mango, and associate it with a brand! Frooti is most likely the answer one would come up with. The packaged mango drink comes as the flagship product from Parle Agro, a company which came into existence as one of the three groups born out of disintegration of Chauhan family-owned Parle in 1984. A year later, Parle Agro launched Frooti.
From being the first fruit drink in a tetrapak, to being the first in a PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottle, the brand has maintained a leadership position in its category, both in terms of innovation and volume. Not only that, Frooti’s significance in the growth of Parle Agro is well reflected in words of Nadia Chauhan, Joint Managing Director & CMO, Parle Agro, as she proudly says, “Frooti’s journey has been one of the most successful and fulfilling experiences for us at Parle Agro. Right from its launch in 1985 till this day, Frooti as a brand has set standards, forged memories, created landmarks and made a place in the country’s hearts and minds.”
Though Frooti as a product has remained same for last 25 years, the brand per se has evolved in its look, positioning and targeting. When Frooti came into existence over two-and-a-half decades ago, it came in as a contemporary and youthful drink. From its communication of early ‘80s, where pretty girls in mini-skirts sipped Frooti on TV screens, to its recent ‘Why Grow Up’ TVC, the brand has kept refreshing its communication.
Over the years, the brand has also experienced a series of repositioning. The base tagline, however, completed a full circle from “Mango Frooti, Fresh and Juicy” at its launch to “Mango Frooti, Fresh ‘N’ Juicy” now. In between, the brand used different taglines such as “Frooti – ‘Just like that’, ‘Fresh and juicy! What a beauty! Mango Frooti!”, and “Juice up your Life.” The present ad campaigns, focus on Frooti’s association with mango, while engaging the youth by presenting the brand as trendy and contemporary.
The good old days
When Frooti was launched in a green rectangular tetrapak as a ready-to-serve mango drink, it was a first of its kind in India. Since, the packs could be carried easily and conveniently, the packaging played a major role behind making the product popular. The catchy tagline helped the brand gain an unparalleled recall value in the product category, as Chauhan says, “One of the reasons, due to which Frooti has been able to maintain its leadership position, is the brand’s unique ability to change that has kept it true to its essence, “Fresh ‘n’ juicy.”
The brand, initially was positioned as drink for kids and the product was perceived as a healthy fruit drink by mothers as an alternative to colas. The tetrapak automatically carried benefits like extended shelf life for the fruit juice, which otherwise is a perishable product.
According to industry estimates, by year 2000, Frooti had a majority market share of ` 300 crore tetrapak fruit drink market. However, by that time cola majors like Pepsi and Coca-Cola had also started seriously looking into this drink category. Moreover, with likes of Jumpin and Real, Frooti witnessed heightened competition in its own segment of tetrapak fruit drinks and juices.
From kid to adult
It was time for the 16-year-old brand to restructure its marketing strategy. Targeting to kids was not enough, as Parle Agro realised that while most people loved Frooti as kids, when they grew up, they felt Frooti was for a younger lot. There came a thought for revamping the packaging and positioning of the brand.
As time changed, says Chauhan, “We realised the importance of staying in tune with the expanding ‘young consumers’ in the country. Based on consumer insights and trend forecasting, we felt the need to innovate the brand.”
With Frooti tetrapak firmly established in the market, it was time for the brand to expand the consumption occasions and consumer interaction points. Moving ahead, in 2002, Frooti launched its 250 ml, 500 ml & 1 litre PET bottles, becoming the first beverage to be available in a PET bottle. The rationale was very clear. The three SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) were meant to hit three major consumption occasions. The 250 ml for on-the-spot consumption, the 500 ml for on-the-go consumers and the 1 litre PET for in-home consumption.
“This new packaging format, with rich visible product colour, increased the popularity of the product across all age groups and more importantly made space in the housewives’ shopping basket for her home consumption needs,” says Chauhan.
To capture the low-income group segment, Frooti in 2004 launched a triangular Tetra Classic Aseptic (TCA). An affordable branded beverage at Rs 2.50 was unheard of when the pack was launched. Further, the TCA would come in chains and could be strung from anywhere along with chips or shampoo sachets. Because the pack did not require refrigeration, retailing points for the ‘liquid confectionary’ expanded from tea stalls to fruit shops to even phone booths.
Having done enough on packaging, Frooti in 2005, rode on a major task to don a youth look. It started with a new mango look followed by a bright yellow packaging in 2008.
Giving its logo a youthful look was something that the brand began as a starting point to connect with the youth. To make this effort more impactful, the brand launched successive campaigns to engage with young and adults. But the brand was equally cautious of the fact that the kid segment still constituted majority of its sales. “In our pursuit of finding the acceptance of adults, we couldn’t alienate the child. In the summer of 2009, we launched the thought ‘Why Grow Up’ to turn the problem on its head, while keeping our loyalist kids well within our realm,” says Chauhan.
The statement ‘Why Grow Up’ put Frooti’s communication in a different league from its competitors as the brand established itself as a drink for young-at-heart. “It also laid foundation for a long-term strategy and vision for the brand,” says Chauhan.
The fun factor
So, the new strategy for Frooti focussed on one hand on breaking the image that youth associated Frooti with, on the other hand it tried to communicate with an expanded TG who are essentially fun-loving, trendy and modern.
The first major campaign to engage with a curious youth segment was launched in February 2001. The campaign was about a faceless person Digen Verma. The campaign by Everest created an initial buzz and generated interest among youth but it lacked a long term strategy to engage the audience.
In another advertising campaign recently, called ‘Juicy Mango Surprise’, a nine-foot tall mango was either rolled towards people or dropped very close to them. Their real life reactions and frenzy was captured through multiple hidden cameras and a realty TVC was made out of it. With this, Frooti focused on consumer engagement. “Frooti’s ‘Juicy Mango Surprise’ which was our campaign for 2010, began as an outdoor live stunt, which was extended to television commercials, the web and social media,” says Chauhan.
After last year’s unique OOH formula, which was recognised in Cannes Festival also, Frooti has come up with its reality TVC. The TVC is based on a mango theme-based game show, called ‘Mango Slam Bam Bam Bam’. The entertaining moments from the game show are showcased across media as this year’s Frooti campaign. To keep the brand in sync with netizens, Parle Agro also launched a social media campaign through a microsite that showcased exclusive footage of making of the TVC.
These activities conceptualised by Creativeland Asia, the creative agency for Frooti since 2007, helped the brand establish connect with its target audience and also helped increase the brand visibility.
Chauhan, however, feels that core to each and every communication is the refreshing product that Frooti is. “While we have always moved with the times keeping our communication contemporary and youthful, the one underlying truth which we consciously maintain in all our campaigns is the fact that Frooti is made of real, juicy mangoes,” she says.
While Frooti has evolved a lot in terms of its positioning, the brand still has challenging tasks in hand. Experts suggest that the brand was launched in tetrapak and still the consumer association with the format is very high. Another challenge for the brand is to make the product available in returnable glass bottles (RGB) format, which according to Chauhan, is the biggest form of packaging in the mango drink category.
Parle Agro is, however, unfazed with the growing competition with likes of Maaza and Slice, as Chauhan says that the category is growing and every player stands to gain in this market. “The fruit drinks category in India has been growing at a steady rate. While existing players are investing in this category, it is also attracting a lot of new players. This will only help expand the category exponentially over time,” she says.