Aliva: Taking the 'this and that' route

By Neha Kalra , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | August 31, 2009
Almost 10 years after the launch of Frito-Lay's Kurkure, the company is back with a snack brand it is excited about: Aliva. With a TVC for it in place, afaqs! looks at the metrics

A few months ago, Frito-Lay launched Aliva, a snack brand that comes in 10 years after the launch of its sister brand, Kurkure. As its positioning, Aliva has chosen the 'taste with health' combination that many food brands are adopting now. A television commercial has been put in place for the new brand by its creative agency, JWT. afaqs! sees what's in store for another 'chatpata' snack and the new pastures that it seeks.


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The film opens on actor Chitrangada Singh calling her better half to find out whether he's coming home. He refuses, citing his workload. Unexpectedly, she doesn't seem perturbed by that. Mischievousness seeps into her as she casually mentions that someone will be over for tea to keep her company, while she is seen pointedly munching on Aliva.

Before long, the very jealous partner is seen rushing home from office. He reaches to find the snack giving her company, while a voiceover explains that Aliva is a healthy snack, and a 'chatpata' one at that. Followed by the very typical 'what did you think?' line from the girl, the film ends on the tagline for the brand - Thodi Sharafat, Thodi Shararat (A little decent, a little naughty).

Talking about the communication, Vidur Vyas, executive vice-president, marketing, Frito-Lay India, mentions that the one line brief was to bring alive the fun of 'namkeen' and the goodness of ingredients such as wheat and pulses - which is more of a manifestation of the product itself. "The 'sharafat' comes from the wheat and dal; the 'shararat' is the mischief of the flavours," he elucidates.

Soumitra Karnik, vice-president and executive creative director, JWT, while explaining the TVC, stresses that Aliva is a niche product. "A tasty snack emphasises on taste but is not healthy. Vice versa, a healthy snack is generally not tasty. Aliva, being a combination of both, had to have the communication portray goodness and 'chatpata' taste, aka sharafat and shararat."

Thumbs up, or down?

Rajeev Raja, creative head, DDB Mudra finds it fairly engaging as a piece of creative. "It communicates the product benefits of low calorie and taste in a context that the target audience would relate to."

However, he sees a major opportunity that's been missed. "The brand should never have been revealed till after the guy burst in and asked, "Kaun hai?" It's like giving away the punch line of a joke in the middle and still expecting the joke to work as hard!"

Amar Wadhwa, national planning director, South West Asia, Cheil Worldwide likes the thought of bringing a little mischief to an otherwise dreary life. Well aware that it is not novel, he believes it works every time, "especially if the mischief is around getting your man to drop everything and come home early. That's possibly every woman's fantasy come true," he presumes.

However, he is not convinced with the execution and feels that the ad lacks the high points that could have taken it from being okay to being very nice.

About Singh of 'Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi' fame being the face of the brand, Raja has no complaints whatsoever. "It's a face one wouldn't mind looking at. Jokes aside, she's a good fit and will connect with the younger generation."

"While Chitrangada carries the ad on her shoulders, they have got the male casting wrong," shrugs Wadhwa.

Ambar Chakravarty, executive creative director, Publicis Ambience, vehemently dislikes the ad. "When you have commercials like those for Bingo chips happening in and around the category, there's really no excuse for marketers and advertisers to do stuff like this. It is boring, hopelessly outdated and just not funny!"

Singh is the redeeming factor in the commercial, believes Chakravarty. "But then, you could just have her hold the packet and bat her eyelids for 30 seconds and you'd have most men hooked! Don't know if anyone will remember the brand, though."

Way too chatpata

The Rs 10,000 crore snack category comprises biscuits and salty snacks, with biscuits comprising about three-fourths of the pie. One wonders if, with the snacks category having players such as Parle, Britannia and ITC, the space doesn't seem uniquely chatpata anymore. Why harp about the 'chatpata' taste (fast becoming synonymous with mischief), with all the ideas that lie unexplored?

Vyas of Frito-Lay claims that Aliva as a brand does not face direct competition from any other brand as the route of taste and health at the same time has not been tried by any other brand.

He adds that at the end of the day, it is about taste - it's a hygiene factor. Aliva, the product with unique Indian flavours, has been developed after two years of research and development (R&D) and will use the distribution network of Lay's and Kurkure.

About every other brand riding the chatpata bandwagon, Raja of DDB Mudra sees no harm if it's the flavour of the season. "But then, it's even more important for the creative idea to be even more chatpata than the rest," he says.

For Chakravarty of Publicis Ambience, the chatpata angle is a little overused, but that is not to say that fresher, better communication is not possible in that space. "However, it may make better sense to find a new, more compelling argument for the brand," he suggests.