The Great Indian Chase for Del Monte sauces

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | April 28, 2010
In its first-ever television commercial in India, Del Monte attempts an Indian connect to deliver the brand promise of taste and innovation through its two new products

When was the last time you tasted something so unique, that it made you throw caution to the winds and do whacky things, just so you could find out what exactly appealed to your taste buds? Del Monte might have the answer, as it promises to appeal to the Indian taste in its first- ever television commercial in India.

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Brought to India in 2007 by FieldFresh Foods, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprise and Philippines-based Del Monte Pacific, Del Monte has launched a mass campaign to introduce two new variants of its sauces -- tangy and fruity Twango and sweet and spicy Zingo -- to the Indian market.

"Del Monte's new sauces deliver on taste and innovation, and the task was to generate trials. So, our communication is aimed at creating curiosity around the brand in general and the products in particular," says Yogesh Bellani, business head, Del Monte Foods Business, FieldFresh Foods.

The TVC, made by Contract Advertising, shows a Punjabi woman (played by actress, Shefali Shah) about to bite into a snack in a train. She is offered some sauce by a young passenger, who is about to get off the train. The woman is so enthused by the taste that she jumps off the train to chase the young man. After a few daredevil stunts, she manages to catch up with him. She is then told that what she just tried was a Del Monte sauce. The ad closes with the boy throwing a bottle of the sauce to the woman.

The film has been directed by Shoojit Sircar of Rising Sun Films.

Talking to afaqs!, Vandana Katoch, creative director, Contract Advertising says, "The idea was to launch a sauce that has a unique taste. We had to tell a taste story. Whenever one comes across something new, there exists a curiosity to know more about it. That was the insight."

What is apparent is the complete Indian setting in which the international brand conveys its message.

"We did not want to come across only as an international brand, as something for people with a foreign taste, or only for the up-market consumer. We want to stand for new taste and appeal to the masses, to people who like to taste newer things. New does not necessarily mean something international," says Atishi Pradhan, planning head, Contract Advertising (Delhi).

The Indian touch shows even in the music track that plays through the commercial. Katoch says that the music had to complement the plot.

The inaugural television campaign is being supported by print and digital promotions. Since the brand's target audience is primarily the youth, the online space has been used extensively, with launch announcements on portals and activities on social networking sites.

The brand, as part of its BTL activities, has worked on in-store visibility and merchandising in modern retail and general trade stores, and has also carried out sampling exercises among consumers.

How tasty?

Experts are of the view that the idea is good enough, and not going overboard works well for the brand. However, the shortcomings are evident too, they say.

Emmanuel Upputuru, national creative director, Publicis India is brief and crisp with his opinions. "The insight is okay. The casting is good. The shoot is quite decent too, although the chase is quite a run-of-the-mill sequence."

Upputuru thinks that the launch spot for Del Monte is "not bad". However, how consumer engaging the communication would be remains to be seen, he adds.

Rahul Jauhari, national creative director, Pickle Advertising likes the simplicity. "The commercial does not have an overdose of comedy that is so rampant in this category. It does not ask you to tax your brains either. And having asked around, it seems the name Del Monte has registered with people who have seen it," he says.

However, he also thinks that the plot has been seen many times in commercials and promo films.

"Personally, in the last few years, I am tired of seeing people running and jumping around in all kinds of ads, such as the cola ones, with a disclaimer saying that actions have been performed by professionals; please do not replicate. Not so hot in my books," says Jauhari.