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Brand Yatra: Parle-G – Genesis of a genius

06-August-2009
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Brand Yatra: Parle-G – Genesis of a genius

Brand: Parle-G
Past agency: Everest Brand Solutions
Current agency: Grey

Going back in time - Brand History
Born way back in 1939, Parle-G is a good case study in volume players as it has been able to play on the trust, relevance and affordability plank well, thus blunting every hyper active competition.

Brand Parle-G dominates the volume-dominated biscuit market. Even at a time when multinationals are beefing up their operations and trying to change the dynamics of the market, Parle-G’s numero uno position is unchallenged. Its competitors have roped in superstars like King Khan and Sachin Tendulkar, but Parle-G has only gone from strength to strength.

The first agency, which handled the account was Everest Brand Solutions. Grey pitched for the Parle-G account in mid-2006 and has been handling the account since 2007.

Where it stands today - Brand Positioning
‘G for Genius’ has been Parle-G’s positioning line since 2004. In 2006-07, the line was changed to ‘Hindustan ki Taakat’, to assume a bigger platform as the biscuit that stands for strength (taakat) in and for India. But in early 2008, Parle-G reverted to its ‘G for Genius’ line with a little twist – ‘Do Genius’.

Gee, it’s Genius - Agency’s take on Brand Parle-G
Mithun Roy, AVP – Director Client Servicing, Grey, said, “The ad was conceptualised on the fact that Parle-G has always been about fortified nourishment that nurtures an overall development of mind and body and enables mental and/or physical agility. It is about genius kids who demonstrate their genius power by achieving a difficult task or by way of being able to overcome a difficult/ tricky situation. It is typically a combination of physical and mental energy – the mental smartness to come up with a plan and the physical energy to execute it. The energy could be in various dimensions like intangible and implied, physical and quantified, instant, etc. The situation/ outcome is usually humorous. In the same way, for the ‘Supermarket’ ad, Darsheel Safary and Aamir Khan are the protagonists, who plan themselves out of a sticky situation by using their ‘geniusness’, thanks to Parle-G.”

Roy further said, “The core positioning has always been ‘G for Genius’. It’s the snack/ biscuit that gives kids and adults alike nutrition and energy, thereby giving them the power to win/ achieve.”

On the association of Aamir Khan with Brand Parle-G, Roy said, “Aamir is known as the intellectual actor in the film industry. His intellect is reflected in his movies, endorsements and also the social work that he does, thereby making him an apt endorser for Parle-G. Aamir’s ‘Supermarket’ commercial has in essence the ‘G for Genius’ positioning with a twist – ‘Do Genius Ek Taakat’, which basically means that every Parle-G kid and adult is a ‘Genius’ in their own way. In this commercial, both Aamir and Darsheel are the geniuses, who have one common factor of strength – Parle-G.”

He added, “The one quality that makes the ad so endearing is the chemistry and fun that both Aamir and Darsheel share in the ad, and the fact that even though it is humorous, it is not poking fun at anyone.”

A dip that’s become a habit - An Onlooker’s Perspective
Prathap Suthan, NCD, Cheil Communications, commented, “I sort of remember their advertising over the years, that it used to be the trusted snack/biscuit of everyone, from grandfather to grandson, and everyone in between. I also think that was the foundation on which, albeit generic, that the brand has snowballed into the world’s largest selling biscuit brand. I mean, when a country of a billion people mindlessly prefer to dip a particular brand of biscuit into their chai, it will roll on to become the biggest biscuit in the world. Somehow, I think, while I understand the need to get a mental advantage into the mindless act of dipping biscuit into chai, and to consolidate their position with the vulnerable palettes of children, the advertising has, I think, traipsed along from merely being a snack, to full of taste and full of health (‘Swaad se bhara, swasthya se bhara’) to creating their own superman (G-Man) to eventually defining the ‘G’ in the name to ‘Genius’.”

“Personally, Parle-G is a brand that has done terrifically well for itself, despite what advertising could have done to it. I think the success of the brand, lies in its universally likeable taste, and it is pricing more than anything else. I cannot think of any other product/ brand that has held its price line for as long as Parle-G has. It has been clever holding on to the price and an even cleverer in reducing of the weight that has delivered the numbers,” he added.

Suthan further said, “On the current advertising front, Genius is not a very upcountry friendly expression. But I know that kids will have gravitated towards it. (Anything to do with upstaging adults always work with kiddos). And I also know that millions of gullible parents across India have been led into believing that Parle-G can work wonders for their children. Of course, credit goes to the brand for not overtly saying that a combination of glucose, iron, calcium, milk, wheat flour, sugar, edible vegetable oils, etc., works magically to influence my cranium. But implication has been enough.”

He continued, “A boost of glucose does give you energy, but not intelligence. But I suspect one day, when someone throws a stone at this house, the ‘Genius’ glass might crack. But India’s little bundles of energy stuck on Parle-G’s taste should take it ahead, even further. To me, that is where the brand has its truthful place. The biscuit has a sheer unadulterated taste. We are slaves to its taste. Not that it will make our children little Alberts. A nibble that you get hooked to, and a dip that’s become a habit.”

“Aamir does bring in his radiance to the brand. Though I am not sure enough people saw the ad, or whether it has added an extra layer to Parle-G. Roughly, it has been in the genius area for a while now with predictability creeping in. My gut says that the brand’s way ahead is to anchor itself in taste and energy. It is certainly not in investing in thinking up stuff like ‘Hindustan Ki Taakat’. While rural upcountry India may find favour in the thought, the rest of aspirational India may not jiggle with it. I mean, if the country doesn’t eat Parle-G, is India going to be reduced to a weakling? Is our Army going to get jelly-kneed and get soft-hearted? Just how does a pack of biscuits become the spine of a nation? At the end of the day, it is a little biscuit. And it needs to endear to us with its unforgettable littleness and its innocent tastiness that plays in our everyday lives,” concluded Suthan.

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