Digital share in our total advertising spends is in double digits: Anuj Rustagi, ITC Ltd

Anuj Rustagi, COO - Chocolates, Confectionery, Coffee & New Categories, Food Division, ITC Ltd, shares insights on launch of Fabelle Trinity - Truffles Extraordinaire and using digital to promote it

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Updated: Oct 23, 2019 9:43 AM


Anuj Rustagi

When ITC Foods, the third-largest foods company in India, says that it exclusively used digital advertising to promote its luxury chocolate brand Fabelle, it underlines the medium’s ability to exclusively target an audience that is on the brand's radar.

Speaking to exchange4media at the launch of their luxury chocolate Fabelle Trinity - Truffles Extraordinaire, Anuj Rustagi, Chief Operating Officer - Chocolates, Confectionery, Coffee & New Categories, Food Division, ITC Limited, shared how marketing in a digital world was now gaining prominence.

Says Rustagi, “For Fabelle, we have been advertising for more than a year, but it is entirely on digital. And we brought target digital in our metros, as a broad reach. Yes, we are not doing national in that manner but all the metros, for a sizable amount of population, more than what will be actual consumers, we advertise the brand and we are happy with the progress we are making there. We are not available in second-tier metros and other cities, therefore there is no point on advertising there. And within the markets we advertise, we are extremely competitive”.

The reason the company chose the digital medium for their luxury chocolate segment, he explains, was because it enabled them to exclusively target the six metros which TV advertising wouldn’t be able to do. “So, even in digital we are targeting 50% of the reach. So, we are not narrowing targeting like three or four per cent because this range for us is building brand equity. There's no point going on TV, apart from where, you know, we have very mass distribution," he adds.

Besides their luxury chocolates, marketing in today’s digital ecosystem is making its presence felt even for their foods division, he elaborates, “See the way we are looking at it clearly is not advertising on digital but marketing in a digital world. And therefore, there is a big frame change. So, yes, our digital spends are much faster than our total advertising spends. Already our contribution on digital is in double-digits of our total advertising spends and it will continue to grow higher but the true power of digital is not just on digital advertising, it starts right from e-commerce and Fabelle was a pioneer in that with ITC where we have a direct to consumer reach.”

ITC’s foray into luxury chocolates, according to Rustagi, was in line with the company’s vision of creating world-class Indian brands. It was three years ago that they entered this segment and they knew even then that they would have to put their best foot forward in terms of creating world-class experiences, world-class quality and even world-class ingredients. He adds how due to factors such as India’s climate conditions and stage of evolution, high-quality chocolate experience as a segment never evolved and consumers were only exposed to it while travelling abroad. “You can see that there is a clear gap in creating great chocolate experiences and that is what became the birth of creating exquisite experiences on chocolate", says Rustagi.

In fact, this home-grown luxury chocolate brand has grown in exclusivity with the Fabelle ‘Trinity – Truffles Extraordinaire’ achieving the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® to become ‘The Most Expensive Chocolate’.

Owing to the response to their luxury range of chocolates, Fabelle, which was available only at the boutiques of ITC properties will now also be available in modern trade stores and the hypermarkets of Reliance and Foodhall. The company is looking at bigger and better as they move ahead, explains Rustagi, “We have made very good progress as what we had earlier set out to do. Obviously, ambition has no roof. So we need more of it and we need to up the ante every year. We are happy with the progress we have made. We want the right experience to be spread across to more and more consumers. Because once you have Fabelle chocolate, you will know the real difference between high-quality chocolate and what you have today. And there's a high probability that you will not go back”

Coinciding their launch around Diwali was meticulously planned, “Diwali and gifting in itself is a big opportunity for chocolates and for a brand like us. We typically do a huge number in Diwali at the luxury end. Therefore, we try to keep our firepower in this season”, shares Rustagi.

ITC Foods has seen several new launches across its portfolio, such as Wonderz Milk and Bingo starters to name a few and many more are in the pipeline. Even though Rustagi remains tight-lipped about growth numbers, he confidently states, “I do think we always want to grow ahead of the FMCG industry. And we want our new launches, and especially new category launches to add over that growth because our ambition is, as you would recall, FMCG to be one lakh crore by 2030 and within that,  foods will play a big role in getting us there. And therefore we are seized with a purpose to launch a lot more categories and you will continue to see that.”

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