Maaza: Thirsty for mangoes?

By Abhishek Chanda , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | March 23, 2009
The mango variant from the Coca-Cola stable recently launched its campaign for summer

Amidst a slew of thirst quenchers ranging from carbonated drinks to juices, Maaza, Coca-Cola India's mango drink variant, recently launched its communication for 2009. Titled Aam ki Pyaas (Thirst for Mangoes), the integrated campaign has been developed by Leo Burnett.

The fruit drinks segment sees fierce competition in summer, with mango drinks such as Maaza, Slice and Frooti, and the recently launched Nimbooz and LMN in the lime drinks category - all vying for the consumer's attention, promising to beat the summer heat and quench thirst!

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The TV commercial for Maaza revolves around the idea of an intense craving for mangoes. It portrays a character (Vijay Kashyap) who is obsessed with mangoes. He feels betrayed by his mango tree, which doesn't give him his favourite fruit in the off-season. He repeatedly calls fruit vendors late at night and keeps asking, much to their irritation, "Have mangoes arrived yet?"

The protagonist focuses on the word 'Aam' (Mango) in every other conversation. His wife and son are used to his behaviour, but wonder if there's anything that can cure his intense craving for mangoes. The son introduces his father to Maaza, who, after drinking it, achieves his life's most delicious mango experience. In fact, his preference now changes to 'drinking a mango' (Maaza) rather than eating it - 'Maaza Lao Aam Ki Pyaas Bujhao'.

The film has been conceptualised by Sainath Saraban, executive creative director, Leo Burnett. It has been produced by Rajesh Krishnan of Soda Films and shot in Alibaugh in Maharashtra. In addition to television, the integrated communication plan for the film involves a range of initiatives, including out of home (OOH) media, point of sale merchandise and on-ground initiatives across all key markets.

It aims to connect with both young and old consumers across India, who crave for their favourite fruit, the mango.

Thoughts behind the thirst

Last year, Maaza launched a campaign that positioned the drink as the Bina Gutli Wala Aam (seedless mango), aiming to establish the drink as synonymous with mangoes. This year, the brand has taken the next step and explored fresh avenues through the current positioning.

Avinash Pant, director, marketing, Coca-Cola India, says, "This year's leap has been taken to establish Maaza as the ultimate (and only) way to quench the thirst for mangoes. The brand is strongly entrenched in the equity of mango. So, our advertising also reflects the same - with touches of humour, warmth, indulgence and wholesomeness."

However, he maintains that the positioning at a larger level stays the same, but the idea and its execution are different. "The brand is the strongest player in the mango drinks category and through this communication, we want to further reinforce the thought that Maaza is the best alternative to mangoes in any walk of life," he asserts.

While talking about market leadership, we popped the question of competition from the newly launched packaged lemon juice drinks category. Pant replies emphatically, "Packaged lime as a category is very nascent and poses no immediate threat to the brand. Coupled with that, one has to understand that considering all other fruits, mango has the highest appeal amongst the Indian consumers. However, there is a lot of opportunity that still exists, waiting to be harnessed."

According to a beverage industry expert, the total juice market in India is pegged at 600 million cases in terms of volume (including juices, nectars and fruit drinks). Out of this, only 10 per cent of the juice consumption is in the packaged segment. As 90 per cent of juices are consumed out of home through the unorganised sector, there exists a big opportunity for the juice industry in the packaged ready-to-drink (branded) segment.

As far as flavours go, mango is the undisputed leader, followed by orange and apple. The lemon juice drinks, being relatively new entrants, still have a lot of catching up to do. In 2008, the juice industry grew by 25 per cent.

Creating the thirst

For Maaza, this year the creative leap lies in a single word - craving. The agency has stuck to a single-minded approach towards mangoes and delivered the campaign.

Saraban says, "We Indians are crazy about cricket, movies and mangoes. So much so that mangoes become a point of argument when family and friends sit together and fight about the best type of mango - Langda, Hapus (Alphonso), Payri, Kesar or Totapuri."

All these taken together prompted him to explore the creative root of craving and thus we see a man who is crazy about mangoes (exaggerated to some extent). "So, may it be wearing mango-painted attire or talking to the mango tree or, for that matter, calling up the local mango whole seller at night, the desire for mango is justified. After all, we get bananas throughout the year but not mangoes!" he says.

However, in this campaign, Satish Shah (who earlier played the mango expert in the Maali and Khadoos Uncle ads) is missing. Saraban justifies this as a fresh way of communicating the brand. He maintains that the celebrity shouldn't dictate the brand.

He adds that as soon as the summer season steps in completely, the brand will engage in tactical marketing, engaging the consumer in various forms. Apart from that, interesting extensions of the campaign that convey the craving for mango will be executed in various formats including outdoor and television.

Anyone for mangoes?

afaqs! took up the ad with some ad professionals to see if Maaza has managed to get anybody thirsty for mangoes. This is what they had to say...

Anand Damani, planning head, Saatchi & Saatchi, Mumbai, liked the ad overall. However, he is forced to compare it with Slice's spot with actor Katrina Kaif, "may be because it's a strong competitor. Katrina's lips dying for a drop of Slice or the way the mangoes drop in the pool of juice - either way, it leaves me salivating. I think this one works better in wanting to pick up a mango drink," he reasons.

However, he appreciates the humour in the ad and says that it brought a smile on his face. "The situations of the man talking to the tree and asking for mangoes three months in advance are quite funny. I also liked the simplicity of the execution. Overall, I think it works."

Russel Barret, ECD, Bates 141, says, "The ad is well shot, well cast and well produced. The premise though is a well-trod path. The mango substitute. But honestly what else do you say? Having started there, the ad has done a good job of capturing the mango-lust that the mango-crazed must go through in an entertaining montage."

However, he feels that the ad had a funny ending instead of a family-that-laughs-together-stays-together option, which brings the freshness quotient down somewhat. Having said that, I'm sure it'll do well in the marketplace.

Jignesh Maniar, Founder, Onads Communications, doesn't believe in the idea that someone would prefer a mango drink to real mangoes. He says, "Someone crazy after mangoes is a good springboard. But the idea never really takes off because the situations are extremely banal."

"The ads could have been far funnier than just wearing a shirt with mangoes printed on it."

He puts up a question, "Does the son really need to explain what is happening by telling us his father has Mango Mania?"