On its 65th birthday, Baskin Robbins India expands its communication and media plan

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | August 05, 2010
The brand has, for the first time, explored radio as a medium

US-based ice cream major, Baskin Robbins celebrated its 65th global anniversary on July 31. On the occasion, the brand, which has stuck with below-the-line activities over the years, took the first step towards above-the-line advertising -- by exploring radio and tying it in with its on-ground activities in India.

"Till now, BTL has been the single most important media vehicle for Baskin Robbins. This will change in times to come," says Ashwin Uppal, GM - marketing, South Asia, Baskin Robbins.

On being quizzed as to why Baskin Robbins has, over the years, stayed away from ATL and other media, Uppal shares, "Our international global strategy promotes Baskin Robbins as 'Your neighbourhood ice cream store'. Thus, our communication was limited to neighbourhood activities, society campaigns, flyers, newspapers inserts, etc, internationally as well as in India."

However, he adds, "The brand has realized that the customer is evolving and so is media. We are moving towards being media agnostic, where while having a strong focus on BTL, we will slowly move towards other media formats too, depending on the communication need."

Thus, in the US, Baskin Robbins' communication strategy has begun encompassing print, TV, outdoor, PR and even digital, in addition to BTL. Baskin Robbins India is following suit with its new campaign.

The brand tied up with Radio Mirchi for a number of activities and promotional programming content. Birthday spots ran on-air through the month of July discussing its 65th-year celebration.

Besides, in a special segment called '31 Expressions', Baskin Robbins' 31 flavours were discussed by means of a different spot for each day of the month. Thus, for example, on July 2, 'Expression Number 2' was discussed, whereby information about a flavour such as Bavarian Chocolate was shared.

Uppal says, "We wanted to give identity and life to each brand, as we call it, or each flavour. Thus there were spots on a particular flavour, contests around the flavour where free ice-cream vouchers were given out; people could also call in and share why they loved that specific flavour of the day."

A CSR activity was part of the campaign, where Re. 1 from every bill through the month went to Make-A-Wish Foundation.

A fourth activity was done on-ground with Radio Mirchi. This was the 'Spot the RJ contest', where announcements were made on-air that people could spot and meet RJs at Baskin Robbins' parlours. Customers could interact with RJs, win gift vouchers, join in cake-cutting sessions and the RJs would also take them on-air live from the parlours.

This activity was done on weekends across five outlets each in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR, thus involving 15 outlets in all. Besides these activities, a parlour decoration contest was also held across the outlets in these three cities and in Hyderabad.

The brand has more than 400 outlets across 93 cities in India. Discussing the decision to launch this activity only in a handful of cities, Uppal says that a huge percentage of Baskin Robbins' business comes from Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, which together house 140 outlets.

Also, the numeral '31' is highly associated with the Baskin Robbins brand. That's the number of flavours the brand has, one for every day of the month. In the brand's logo too, the letters 'B' and 'R' come together to form '31'. Cashing in on this association, a 31 per cent discount on the 31st of every month is being offered to customers who have a bill above the amount of Rs 310.

The objective of all these activities was to build interactivity in the campaign, create some buzz in the parlours and give free ice-cream treats to consumers, thereby involving them in the brand's birthday celebrations.

The Baskin Robbins story in India began in 1993, when it opened its first store in Mumbai. Besides its 400 outlets, it also caters to other premium channels such as hotels, airlines, malls, multiplexes and top retail chains across India. It is therefore, present in India at 1800 touch points in all.

Going further, the company plans to revamp its website, conduct consumer research and launch some new products, among several other strategic initiatives planned for India.

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