Slice: The sensuous mango

By Neha Kalra , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | March 27, 2009
In its second year, the brand has gone a step ahead with an activation of the sensorial experience. afaqs! finds out what it is like to attract an adult audience now, and what it was like in the past

Summer's in, and it's time to indulge in the irresistible fruit - mangoes. And mango drinks aren't far behind, in their bid to tempt the consumer through heavy advertising across media.

From Maaza' s positioning of the thirst for 'Aam' (mango) to Frooti's youth connect of Why Grow Up, in terms of positioning, each brand has struck a different note this year - one could view it as the category's communication taking a mature form.

Among these drinks is Pepsi's Slice, whose sensuous positioning is in complete contrast to the positioning of other mango drinks.

The creative for Slice has been put in place by JWT; the agency has handled the brand for around a decade and a half, ever since it was launched in the Indian market in 1993.

& #BANNER1 & #At that time, the brand was flagged off with the positioning of Isko Piya To Lage Kuchh Piya. Four years later, came the new positioning: Asli Maango.

In 1998, Dabaa Ke Piyo became the brand's catch line. In a year, the brand's premise again took a new turn: Jab Gale Se Zyaada Pet Ho Pyaasa. In 2000, the positioning was: Feeling Empty?

In 2002, the brand wove a story of love with Pyaar Ka Ras Barse. With the increase in health consciousness in consumers, in 2003, the brand too jumped onto the bandwagon with: Healthy Piyo, Healthy Jiyo.

Three years later, it was about joy, with Joys Ka Ras. In 2007, love was back again, with Pyaar Ho Jayega.

In 2008, when Slice changed its formulation, JWT viewed the opportunity to disrupt the category codes and reposition Slice as an indulgent mango drink for adults, which gives one nothing but pure pleasure.

Last year, Slice brought Katrina Kaif on board, making her the first star to endorse the brand. The brand was also revamped - a new look, a new three-dimensional logo, reformulation of the taste, and a fresh concept - Aamsutra - the art of experiencing mango pleasure. Also, the target group for the brand, which was earlier between the ages of 18 - 24 years, shifted. The brand sought a new target audience - people aged 22 years and above.

This year, the brand has further solidified the concept of mango pleasure in its latest television commercial featuring Kaif. The creative attempts to highlight the indulgent act of eating a mango, which is denoted by the brand concept - Aamsutra.

The film opens on Kaif making arrangements for a romantic occasion by lighting candles and dimming the lights of a room. To set the mood, background music begins to play too. As the song continues to entice the listener, one begins to see that it's not a handsome boy whom she's waiting for, but a bottle of Slice that is seducing the actress.

While she's lost in complete mango delight, a man steps in. Looking at the room, he assumes she's been expecting him. But Kaif has a different story she'd certainly 'not' tell.

The creative slice

Soumitra Karnik, vice-president and executive creative director, JWT relates the brand deeply with the nature of the fruit. "If you see the fruit, it makes you carefree - you don't care how you're eating and slurping it, being messy and have it all over and dripping from your face! It's simply about you being so engrossed in the fruit. It's about absolute self-indulgence. And mango is the only fruit you behave like this with."

Homi Battiwala, business head, juice and juice drinks, PepsiCo India says that he understands that the category has come of age. "I don't know why it is and has been looked at all along, simply in one way," he states.

Battiwala claims Slice as the most mature of the entire lot of beverage offerings by PepsiCo. "The brand has seen healthy double-digit growth, and is definitely the fastest growing brand from the PepsiCo stable."

Talking about the creative, Battiwala says that Kaif has lent style to the brand, which was required for the creative needs of the concept of indulgence. "This year, the creative takes a step ahead, talking about making mango pleasure more sensual. Focussing on the indulgence of the senses, the creative idea is based on the sensorial experience of having the drink," he adds.

The creative team on the film includes Sachin Das Burma and Charu Chhitwal, creative directors on the brand. The film has been shot by Jonathan Lennard of Bang Bang Films. The music piece, 'Rasiya' has been composed by Amar Mangrulkar, while the track has been sung by Hamsika Iyer.

Ad people slice it

While Nandu Narasimhan, executive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi finds the creative resembling some of the creatives for Haagen-Dazs (an American brand of ice-cream), he likes the "private pleasure" space that the Aamsutra campaign is based on. "On pure execution, I love the way the film has been shot and treated. And an absolutely killer track!"

Understanding that the brand is now targeting an older audience than before, Narasimhan says that the effort clearly seems to be to distance Slice from the other two brands, which are aimed at a target group of a lower average age. However, he is doubtful whether an adult version such as this would work for the brand.

In terms of the strategy for the brand, Saji Abraham, vice-president, planning, Lowe Mumbai is not sure if there is a strategic insight in the film. "Maybe because it is the absence of an idea; maybe it's her unconvincing performance of being a seductress; maybe the hackneyed plot or maybe all three."

He feels that the message is not believable and becomes another case of celebrity for celebrity's sake. "In fact, it becomes a case of a brand being in denial and sticking to the same old benefit, which has long ceased to be believable."

However, Abraham feels that this could have great potential, if viewed slightly differently. He questions: What if passion was the differentiating point for Slice? How can passion be the essence of the brand? How would it be reflected in packaging, POS and interaction with consumers?

"Then we can see the beginnings of a brand. Something that is differentiated and can stand out distinctly in the consumer's mind and something that no one else is doing in the fruit beverages market," he states.

As per beverage analysts, the juices category is about Rs 1,200 crore, of which the mango drinks are a major portion. Frooti, being the oldest brand amongst all, enjoys maximum market share.

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