Punjab dances for Nimbooz

By Poojya Trivedi , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | April 27, 2010
To promote its lemon based drink, Nimbooz by 7Up, PepsiCo India organises a bhangra and giddha competition across 10 cities in Punjab

After establishing itself as an authentic lemon drink, PepsiCo India launched a TVC in March for Nimbooz by 7Up with the tagline 'Ekdum Asli Indian'. Taking its positioning further, the brand is going beyond TV to reach out to the 'asli' Indian audience. PepsiCo recently announced the launch of Pecha Bhangre Da, a search for the best bhangra and giddha group in Punjab.

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The objective of the programme was to actively engage customers by celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Punjab. "A lot of what we are doing in terms of building consumer connect is to talk about the cultural aspect, which is relevant to consumers' lives. For the consumers of Punjab, there is nothing more relevant than their cultural heritage of dancing, which is bhangra and giddha, so we felt this would be a very relevant platform to use for consumer engagement in the state," says Alpana Titus, executive vice-president, flavours, PepsiCo India.

She adds, "North for us is a large priority market and we are engaging consumers through various activities. As far as consumer engagement for Nimbooz is concerned, we really want to bring alive the proposition of 'asli' Indian. The concept of an 'asli' Indian for a Punjabi would be different from the concept of someone who is from UP or any other state and therefore, the cultural nuances need to be kept in mind to create a better connect with the local consumer."

The company is promoting the event actively through various media. "We used a lot of methods to connect with the consumers. The whole idea was to get a large number of teams to audition," explains Titus on the use of multiple media.

To market the programme and drive the consumers to participate in the dance contest at the audition venues, the company tied up with television channel PTC Punjabi; radio channel My FM for spots and RJ mentions; put up about 40 hoarding in all the cities; carried print ads in the vernacular press; and created a Facebook page.

Apart from traditional media, it also used push SMSes, point of sale (POS), standees in colleges and Pepsi's truck back that travelled across the state. The company also sent direct letters to schools and colleges. "We are using really different means to make sure our target group is aware of the programme. We sent about one crore SMSes to reach our audience," says Titus.

As for the rationale behind choosing Punjab for the activity, Titus says, "The foot print of nimbu paani consumption is skewed towards the north, within which Punjab is a very large market. It is one of the top five markets for us in India and is a significant contributor to our sales." Apart from the north, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are significant markets for PepsiCo.

Brand guru Jagdeep Kapoor, chairperson and managing director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, says, "Nimbu paani has, over the years, been the preferred choice of beverage, especially in north India with the kind of high temperatures experienced by the region in summer. It is a large non-alcoholic drink consumed across age groups in India but most of it is homemade or in informal stalls. It not only helps in keeping cool but also takes care against dehydration caused due to severe heat."

He adds that by launching Nimbooz, PepsiCo is trying to fill that gap and people can easily associate Nimbooz with nimbu paani because of its name.

PepsiCo plans to do other consumer connect activities for Nimbooz. Titus says, "We will do more programmes for Nimbooz that are locally relevant and focussed on the geographies, rather than one pan India engagement. The whole idea of the engagement is to bring the brand experience much closer to consumers and we want to leverage it by building local connect at the regional or state level."

The activity took place across 10 cities in Punjab, namely Chandigarh, Bhatinda, Patiala, Mukatsar, Faridkot, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur. Any team comprising four-10 members aged 10 years and above was eligible to participate in the contest. The auditions for the competition ran for nine days on April 11-l9.

The shortlisted teams underwent three stages of elimination in front of a live audience and the jury members comprised of proponents in the Punjabi folk dance domain. The semi-finals of the contest will be held on May 1 in Jalandhar, whereas the finals will take place on May 8 in Ludhiana.

The competition is also open to Punjabis settled abroad. "There is a large NRI Punjabi population and they are very connected with their cultural roots - so whether it is music or dance, we see they are quite excited," says Titus about keeping the contest open for NRIs as well.

The interested teams could log on to, upload the link to their giddha videos on video-sharing website YouTube and provide this link during registration. Titus adds, "The whole idea was to encourage the NRI consumers, who really wanted to participate. They could register their entries online and we did the auditions on the basis of those videos." The shortlisted NRI teams were directly called for the quarter finals on April 24.

The winners of the competition will get a chance to feature in a Punjabi movie directed by Manmohan Singh of Jee Aayan Nu and Munde U.K. De fame.

In the initial two days (April 11-13), the company received more than 350 applications, of which about 200 teams were called for auditions, whereas for online entries, there were about 78 responses.

Apart from the dance competition, other online contests encouraged audience engagement. For instance, Make a boli (with the word Nimbooz) or cheering groups during the auditions that could win Nimbooz merchandise.

For North Indians, nimbu paani or shikanji is an indigenous way of tackling the intense summer conditions. Although the market remains largely unorganised, in recent times, there has been a rise in the number of lemon based drinks. PepsiCo's Nimbooz was launched last year, along with Parle Agro's LMN. The latest to join the bandwagon is Coca-Cola's Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh.