Fight Club, Coffy Bite style

By Khushboo Tanna , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | July 27, 2009
The new commercial for Coffy Bite uses frogs to portray its decade old premise of arguments

Think frogs, and chances are that you'll conjure up images of a frog which turns into a handsome prince when it is kissed by a beautiful princess. One wouldn't picture two frogs arguing about which one would get to eat a certain brand of toffee.

A new ad for Coffy Bite uses two arguing frogs (in a setting reminiscent of the famous Budweiser 'frog' commercials) to showcase the goodness of coffee in a toffee.

The ad opens on a lake, where two frogs are sitting on lily pads. They see a Coffy Bite floating towards them and start arguing about whose side it is floating to. Just before one of the frogs can pull it towards itself, the director shouts 'cut', and someone starts readjusting the scene. The director insists on replacing the frogs with crabs, while his assistant argues to retain the frogs. The ad ends with a voiceover, 'Let the arguments begin'.

The ad, conceptualised by Rediffusion Y&R Chennai, has been shot in Mumbai's Film City by Hollywood visual effects veteran Michael Fink, president, VFX Worldwide at Prime Focus. This ad marks Fink's debut in the Indian ad space. Fink has given special effects for Hollywood biggies such as X-Men and Batman Returns.

Tagging the arguments

The new tagline (Let the arguments begin) takes the brand back to the 'argument' premise, which was first introduced sometime in the year 1990. The tagline, The argument continues, was used from 1990 to 2001.

When the brand was launched in May 1987, it belonged to the Parry's group, and the first few campaigns only highlighted the Parry's tagline, King of sweets. Coffy Bite was given a separate identity and tagline only in 1990.

In 2001, the brand sported an extension of the argument premise with a new tagline, It always starts an argument. For the next couple of years, the brand focused on repackaging Coffy Bite. In June 2004, the company released a new campaign, this time giving the argument premise a miss and introducing a new tagline, Bacchon Ka Coffee, Badon Ka Toffee.

The tagline was used in the next two commercials in 2003 and 2006, but the brand soon realised that the idea did not yield much result in terms of the brand's growth, which is why the new commercial moves back to the 'argument' proposition.

A new argument

Venkatesh Parthasarathy, group product manager, Lotte India, says that for the new campaign, the brief to the agency was to move the 'argument' idea beyond the product, that is, the coffee and toffee argument.

Additionally, the agency's task was to make Coffy Bite appeal to today's kids in the age group of 8-12 years, who have not been exposed to the past communication.

To appeal to the core target group, the team at Rediffusion Y&R decided to make use of frogs. Kishore Karumbaiah, creative head, Rediffusion Y&R Chennai, says that the team thought of using frogs as it felt it would excite the core target group. "Also, two frogs arguing about Coffy Bite is quite funny and you don't expect to see that happening," he adds.

Minkashi Achan, chief creative officer, Rediffusion Y&R, adds, "We were looking for a surrogate for two argumentative friends and struck upon the idea of the frogs. Two idle frogs arguing about Coffy Bite in human voices was quite funny."

The frogs, called Leo and Dino, were created in post production. During the time of the shoot, the team created a set of the pond and the water body, and used two rocks in place of the frogs.

Apart from the television ad, the campaign will make use of other media such as outdoor, digital and certain BTL activities.

Arguing their opinions

afaqs! spoke to some members of the industry to find out their arguments on the bite of this commercial.

Raghu Bhat, senior vice-president and executive creative director, Contract Advertising says that the campaign is very well executed. He feels that the 'argument' property used by the brand is good but as far as this campaign is concerned, the argument is not directly connected to the product like the previous campaigns. "The burden of remembering the brand's history then falls on the consumer," says Bhat.

Similarly, Vivek Dutta, business director and national planning head, Hakuhodo Percept also feels that the execution is top notch but doubts the decision to leverage the argument platform again. He feels that there was an opportunity for the brand to take a leap from the current platform.

"My eyes lit up just as they did when I was a kid when I heard that the argument was back," says Law & Kenneth's national creative director, Charles Victor. However, after watching the ad, he feels that the argument between the frogs was boring and so was the argument between the director and the creative person. He signs off by saying that if one has to revive something as big as the 'argument', one should revive it fantastically, or let it die a natural death.

Saji Abraham, vice-president, planning, Lowe says that the ad doesn't seem very interesting. He also feels that the lack of excitement comes from a stale interpretation of the execution idea. "There is not much scope in the idea and you know the plot from the first frame. It gives nothing much to look forward to and gives no real twist," he adds.

© 2009 afaqs!