Parle Monaco: The lighter side of life

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | May 23, 2008
The salted biscuits' new campaign, featuring Aamir Khan, delivers the message of turning around life's cynical moments and making life more interesting, all through harmless fun

While & #BANNER1 & # Aamir Khan's blog on feeding his dog 'Shahrukh Khan' biscuits has made news, he has also made news by being appointed the brand ambassador for Parle Monaco. The brand associated with words like crisp, light, crunchy and salty has launched a new campaign featuring the thinking actor.

The campaign consists of two TV commercials. The first, titled Scratch, has a grim coach who asks sportsmen Aamir and his friends to take two more rounds of a ground. Aamir points out that the coach had recently bought a new car. To his team members warning about the coach's lack of humour, Aamir simply replies, "Toh aaj hasega". Later, the coach is shocked to see a huge scratch on the car, which says, 'I love u'. Aamir ostentatiously sympathises with the coach. As the coach is seething with rage, Aamir pulls out the 'I love you' sticker, and they all have a hearty laugh as the coach appreciates the joke. The film ends with the product shot and Aamir's voiceover, saying "Parle Monaco. Life namkeen banaiiye "

Aamir and friends stopped

Procession passing through

Kaise chootegi picture

Imaginary glass sheet to the rescue

Crowds recoil when sheet
is thrown at them

Aamir and gang have a hearty laugh

Product shot and tagline
The second commercial, titled Rally, shows Aamir and his friends rushing to catch a movie. As they are about to cross the road, they encounter a long election rally. Aamir's friend is anxious about missing part of the film. Aamir reassures him. Next, the four friends act as if they are carrying a huge sheet of glass.. The people make way for them and they reach the other side. Aamir instructs his friend to turn over the glass sheet. They suddenly fling the imaginary sheet of glass towards the crowd, which, in turn, recoils in horror. Aamir and his friends have a good laugh. He waves to the crowd as they go into the theatre.

The campaign has been conceptualised by Everest Brand Solutions. The creative team includes creative directors Vipin Dhyani and Chetan Jagtap, and business director John Khalkho from client servicing. The films have been directed by Pushpendra Singh and produced by Flying Saucer Films.

About the core theme, Shalin Desai, senior product manager, Parle Products says, "When one says 'zindagi mein namak nahi hai' he means life is not interesting, so logically this idea of 'life mein namak' has always fit and worked for the Parle Monaco brand." He adds that the idea was to have participative humour, where both parties involved laugh in the end.

Aamir Khan came on as brand ambassador early this year, and this is his first campaign for Parle Monaco. Commenting on the decision of taking on Khan, Desai says that their research showed that people felt he is a versatile actor. "Also, he is very selective and is not all over the place, which works in our favour."

Khan has not been portrayed as a celeb in the ads, but a regular guy with smart, interesting ideas. He plays a safe, intellectual character.

Monaco had always communicated its being light crispy attribute in its ads, and its baseline was 'crisp light Monaco for lighter moments'. In 2003-04, the positioning of Monaco was changed from physical to metaphorical. The baseline changed to 'tension kyon leneka, Monaco khaneka'. In the year 2005, the brand was put on a different platform, where it spoke about making life interesting by finding humour in the most mundane activities. Thus the line 'Life namkeen banaiye' was coined, and was well received.

Vipin Dhyani, creative director, Everest Brand Solutions, says, "Monaco endorses the philosophy that you can make life interesting and turn around cynical moments."

He adds that the brief from Parle for this particular campaign stated clearly that it had to be harmless pranks. An earlier ad had a ticket checker ask a guy for a ticket. He runs around, and finally when the TC catches him, he shows his ticket. Some felt that this was troubling the TC for no reason. Thus, this time the humour is subtle, and never at the cost of the others.

Dhyani adds that while Scratch is targeted at teenagers, Rally is targeted at mature adults. A third film will follow soon, targeting housewives. Thus, Aamir will be talking to all segments.

For the record, Parle Monaco enjoys a market leader position in the salted biscuit category which makes up for 4 per cent share of the overall organised biscuit market that produces 10-11 lakh tones annually and is pegged at Rs 8,000 crore.