Parle Monaco's smart route to health

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | December 02, 2009
Parle Monaco Smart Chips' television commercial has brand ambassador Aamir Khan jumping buildings, telling people about the benefits of baked chips over fried ones

Identifying the trend of an increasingly health conscious population, Parle Products has entered the health snacks category with its baked chips, Parle Monaco Smart Chips. The television commercial for the product has its brand ambassador, actor Aamir Khan, advocating the benefits of baked chips over fried ones.

Khan is also the ambassador for Parle's Monaco biscuits.

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"People are becoming more aware of their health. The trend is there and the market for health food is going to be big. With this product, we are trying to catch up with the trend," Shalin Desai, senior brand manager, Parle Products tells afaqs!.

"We thought that we should expand Monaco biscuits into a snack. Monaco, being a salty biscuit, was a logical fit," Desai adds.

The TVC opens with Khan on a building, watching over people with a pair of binoculars. Spotting a beauty pageant contestant eating chips, he jumps off the building, runs to the woman and hands over an oversized T-shirt to her that says, 'You will need it!'.

Khan continues jumping across buildings, performing stunts and approaching people munching chips on the streets, offering each of them a large T-shirt with the implied message that if they continue to have such unhealthy snacks, they will soon turn obese. The commercial closes with Khan approaching a teenager with the T-shirt, only to find that he is already munching on Monaco Smart Chips.

The film was created by Thoughtshop and directed by Amit Sharma of Chrome Pictures. The music was composed by Samiruddin and Amit Roy is the director of photography. Vipin Dhyani, founder, Thoughtshop is the creative director on the campaign.

"We wanted the personality of the brand to be sporty, adventurous and aggressive. We did not want to put a serious tag to health and hence, the humorous touch with Aamir (Khan) offering oversized shirts to people in the TVC," says Desai.

Interestingly, this is the first time that Khan has been featured in a commercial showing off his stunt skills, something one would not normally associate with the actor.

The television commercial will be supported by ground level initiatives, branding and other consumer contact initiatives. Radio and print promotions will be limited as Desai is of the view that campaigns such as these are "better enjoyed on TV".

On the brief for the campaign, Dhyani tells afaqs!, "It becomes easier to work when a product has tangible properties. If it is just another product without any USP, it is a tough task to handle. The task at hand was to communicate the product's message and at the same time, keep it sporty with the health element."

The campaign uses humour to avoid sounding therapeutic and preachy, says Dhyani.

"The snack eating category includes people of all age groups and humour is a good tool to address all of them together," he notes.

Smart enough

The whacky element in the ad, of handing out shirts to unassuming people on the streets to pass a message, has found acceptance with experts in the industry.

"The message is clear and has been executed in a bizarre way. The film has a refreshingly simple proposition for a snack brand and has great potential for 360 surround. The oversized T-shirts could probably be used out of home as well," remarks Sumanto Chattopadhyay, executive creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy India.

Naresh Gupta, executive vice-president, strategic planning, Publicis India finds the ad engaging as well. "The set up is interesting and it does make you think as to what is going to happen. The final resolution is simple and potent. The fact that Monaco Smart Chips are baked and therefore healthier comes out loud and clear. The high energy levels in the ad also cue in some amount of healthiness," says Gupta.

He also has a word of approval for the way the brand ambassador has been used. "The use of the celebrity is very un-Aamir like. Aamir (Khan) has never been used as a fitness enthusiast who is into free running kind of set up before. The almost sports goods like set up may help in brand recall. At no point, though, does he overshadow the brand in the commercial," Gupta observes.

However, Chattopadhyay has his reservations. According to him, the execution could have been more entertaining and memorable. "There is no time for the viewer to enjoy the bizarreness of the act (of handing out T-shirts). I wish the film was scripted and executed in a more entertaining manner. With a talented actor like Khan at one's disposal, one could have possibly aimed a little higher," he says.