Parle G: Future bright

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | January 10, 2013
With its latest campaign, Kal ke genius, the brand asks parents to encourage their child's curiosity and creativity. The campaign was launched on the digital platform.

Experience is the best teacher in life. And, experience instigated by curiosity or creative expression can teach a child many unforgettable lessons. Parle G's new campaign is constructed on this core thought which is summed up with the message 'Bachpan se bada koi school nahi and curiosity se badi koi teacher nahi' (There is no greater school than childhood and no greater teacher than curiosity). It urges parents to allow their children to explore their curiosity, to view things in different/creative perspectives, which in turn will help them become future 'geniuses'.

Parle-G TVC

Parle-G TVC

The new campaign, titled 'Kal ke genius', innovatively extends the 74-year-old biscuit brand's earlier campaign, 'G mane genius', that was launched in 2003. Conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai, the television commercials (TVCs) showcase children who come up with amazing solutions to problems in a creative manner.

Shot in the beautiful locales of Shimla and Manali, the TVCs show a montage of children coming out with creative solutions to their problems while having fun, which would astound an adult. The lyrics of the background song Roko mat, Toko mat, which gives out an '80's feel, is penned by noted lyricist Gulzaar and sung by Piyush Mishra (of Gangs of Wasseypur fame). The music direction is by Clinton Cerejo. The song aptly encapsulates the philosophy of the campaign.

The films are directed by Amit Sharma and Chrome Pictures is the production house. The TVCs will be shown in Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.

Interestingly, the campaign's first phase in the form of teasers was launched online through YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. After a week, the second phase appeared on television. The brand has also created a separate website for the campaign. Digital Law & Kenneth is the digital agency that will handle the digital arm of the campaign. Apart from TV and digital, the campaign will also use radio.

Mayank Shah

Anup Chitnis

Mayank Shah, group product manager, Parle Products, explains that the brand opted to launch the campaign online because it wanted the campaign to become a movement. "We wanted consumers to participate and act on the campaign's message. And, this was only possible through the digital medium," he states. In fact, he claims the campaign was trending in India for three to four days and was on No. 5 in the global trends list on social media platforms for nearly two days.

So, what made the brand come up with a new campaign after a span of 10 years? "Our last campaign was based on certain research we undertook to understand changing tastes and attitudes of consumers. Hence, we consciously shifted from a rational to emotional communication. And, the campaign worked really well for us," he reveals. But a brand needs to be constantly relevant with the changing times and so they thought a new campaign was due, he adds.

"The brief to the agency was to take forward the genius theme and to keep in mind the stature and heritage of the brand. Parle G has played a pivotal role in providing affordable nourishment to generations of people and keeps on doing so. This was a big challenge because how does one improve on a good communication, which has worked for so long?" he says.

Shah reveals that the brand intends to own the platform and plans to continue the campaign for more than five years.

Explaining the insight behind the campaign, Anup Chitnis, executive creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather, says, "Curiosity is actually the best teacher. Unfortunately, it is just the kind of a thing which we as parents often discourage. For instance, 'Stop asking questions and just do as I say' or 'don't do this', 'don't go there'. The point is that we keep stopping children from doing lots of things that they should be doing, things that are not necessarily unsafe."

Taking a cue from real life situations observed in the family or neighbourhood, the creative team formed the ads' story. For instance, a father is furious that his daughter has made cuttings in the morning paper. When he finds her, he sees she has made a birthday message for him out of the cuttings. In another case, a young boy in a cape can't get it to fly. So, his sibling holds a hairdryer under the cape for the 'effect'.

"The philosophy of curiosity being a great teacher and giving kids the ability to learn is the philosophy which Parle-G wants to own. We are hoping this campaign will get parents to start giving kids some leeway to explore their curiosity," Chitnis says.

Agreeing with him, Hirol Gandhi, vice-president, Ogilvy & Mather, says Parle-G wants to strengthen its bond with the consumers, particularly the newer generation of parents and children.

Karan Rawat

Vidhya Sankarnarayanan

Genius of an idea?

Karan Rawat, president and executive creative director, Umbrella Design, says the campaign definitely achieves in exciting the consumer to watch it again. However, some of the situations could have been done better. "Besides, the Parle logo and the pack shot, which appear continuously on the left corner of the screen, take away the curiosity from the film. It' a weird new format some clients are practicing. After all, it's a film, not a Powerpoint presentation. I also feel that the pack shot shown at the end of the film could have been much better," Rawat says. While the song has an '80s feel, it is the soul of the film and is written, sung and composed quite well, he adds.

"Interestingly, G mane genius as a thought has worked well for the brand and continues to work across all age groups. And, taking the same idea forward with a new insight is something which makes the commercial a total visual delight," Rawat further adds.

Vidhya Sankarnarayanan, vice-president, integrated brand strategy, Saatchi & Saatchi India believes the campaign tries to spark a conversation, mobilise the nation and stand for an ideology worthy of an iconic brand.

"While the campaign does put some powerful thoughts on the table, they fizzle away in the films. Parle G is on to a potentially powerful platform but at present, it feels a bit like 3 Idiots with no idiots at all," she says. Although the brand wants to stand for the great Indian dream and universal human fantasy, that your child is a genius, the campaign doesn't deliver on it yet, she adds.

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