a brand operating in a low-involvement category, you better have a great story to tell.
No, that's not marketing mumbo-jumbo, but the mantra that soft-mint brand Mentos has successfully embraced over time. "The brand has now reached a point where each of its ads tells a story… a Mentos story," says Jignesh Maniar, associate creative director, O&M.
Moreover, the product wasn't shown in action for the change - 'Mentos Zindagi' was meant to be understood by the viewers.
To recap, the ad had a college student running late to class, but managing to fool the professor with a bit of help from Mentos. "Some college kids even tried to ape that in real life, but of course, those attempts evoked laughter from the professors," recalls Maniar. Then there was the `Barber' ad as a follow-up.
Mentos is now out with the third commercial in the series, titled 'Auditorium'. Says Sameer Suneja, head, marketing, Perfetti Van Melle India, "The brief to O&M was the same - narrate yet another 'get smart' Mentos story, which will take the viewer by surprise."
So, after a lot of Mentossing and turning, Maniar and his team were ready with an idea. After chucking some 30 scripts into the bin, the 'Auditorium' one was selected with the aim of serving as a refresher to viewers on what the brand stands for.
The film opens with a veteran classical singer performing to a packed auditorium. Two men - one young and the other old -- are seen entering the auditorium late. As the young man walks in, his shoes make a terrible, squeaky noise. Embarrassed, he rushes to his seat. This noise disturbs the performer, who walks off the stage in a huff. The audience is visibly angry with the young man. (VO: 'Yeh Hai Aam Zindagi', meaning, 'This is ordinary life').
The next shot is the 'Mentos Zindagi' one, in which the protagonists are again seen entering the auditorium. When the young guy's shoes make a terribly squeaky noise, he immediately stops walking. Noticing the old man's presence, the young man then matches him step for step. When the boy reaches his seat (with the old man still making his way), he continues to make a noise with his shoes, hidden from everyone's eyes.
People, including the irate performer, think it's the old man who is making the noise, and the young man gets away with it. As the performer storms away angrily, the voiceover concludes, 'Yeh Hai Mentos Zindagi. Mentos, Dimaag Ki Batti Jala De (This is the Mentos life. Mentos, Makes one think smart').
According to Maniar of O&M, it was not only important to maintain the wit and humour in this ad, but also to make the film endearing to Mentos' TG - 15-24 year olds. "We have also not explained why the protagonist's shoes were squeaky - it could be because he battled the rains, or anything else. We leave that to the viewer's imagination," jokes Maniar.
The commercial was shot at the Sophia College auditorium in Mumbai (incidentally, even the 'Classroom' ad was shot in the same college).
All three Mentos films have been directed by Rajesh Krishnan, ad filmmaker, Footcandles. Elements such as the performer angrily brushing his long beard aside when his concentration is disturbed (an act associated with aristocracy) were added to make the film more authentic.
Suneja of Perfetti claims that since the 'Classroom' film broke on television two years ago, Mentos' market share in the soft-mint category (in value terms) has increased from 33 per cent (in 2005) to 48 per cent (Q1, 2007), as per the ACNielsen Retail Audit.
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