A bunch of kids ogling a sweaty Shah Rukh Khan as he downs a bottle of Frooti in one long swig, a light Mediterranean soundtrack in the background and a twist at the end: these are the active ingredients in Frooti's brand new film.
After a day-long teaser campaign on Twitter (#SRKlovesFrooti), the film went viral yesterday morning and is slated to be released on TV on Monday.
Speaking about the film, Nadia Chauhan, managing director and chief marketing officer, Parle Agro, tells afaqs! that "clear action" on the part of consumers is the objective of this film. "We want to drive home the fact that when you see someone drinking Frooti, you feel like grabbing one for yourself. We've never focused on showing that in our ads so far," she explains.
Sajan Raj Kurup, founder and creative chairman, Creativeland Asia, says that the goal this time was to generate 'appetite appeal' for Frooti while retaining the brand's quirkiness. As for the insight, Kurup reveals that the idea for this campaign came from his personal experience: he was once staring at someone eating kebabs at a restaurant while waiting for his own meal to arrive. It was not until the man stared back uncomfortably that Kurup became aware of what he had been doing.
"To stare obliviously at something we crave for is an involuntary action. As kids, we have all done it but the embarrassment of doing it as grown-ups is inexplicable," he elaborates.
Magic behind the scenes
The film has been directed by Prakash Varma of Nirvana Films. Interestingly, the shots of the children staring were taken while they watched a magic show, an illusion-act, popcorn/candy floss being prepared and a child being fed ice-cream and jelly. The cameras, safely hidden behind black tents, were rolling as they were entertained. Thus, all the reactions in the film are genuine, including the shot of the child drooling. It was particularly challenging for the production team to find kids and adults with similar facial structures. They were, of course, identically hair-styled to leave efficient 'clues' for the viewers.
The soundtrack is a soothing mix of Mediterranean languages. The lyrics were deliberately made to sound like repetitive gibberish so that viewer attention stays put on the visuals. The words 'pelaypelaa' -- Hindi for 'drink' -- appear often.
The marketing mix includes social media, outdoor, below the line efforts (mall activations), and POP (point of purchase visibility at retail outlets).
He feels the film is a response to the Slice Aam-sutra film featuring Katrina Kaif. "Maybe that was the client brief - 'Too many people are lusting after Slice; make them lust for Frooti.' The film delivers on that brief. After you see 90 seconds of a man drinking the entire bottle in one gulp, while kids are drooling over it, you are bound to want to drink Frooti yourself."
Kurup, without naming any competing brands, tells afaqs!, "Mango is about mischief; not about being sexy or sultry. You eat it messily, with abandon."
Srivastava adds, "The film works as a great way to make love to the product. I think too many commercials on air tell a nice story and then just bung in a product shot almost as an apology. I think this film would stand out because of its treatment of the product."
Swati Bhattacharya, national creative director, JWT India, is "utterly charmed". She says, "It has been executed very naturally; the after taste is sweet. I have seen many brands that promise to unleash the child in you; yet this looks fresh."
Brands typically struggle to lengthen the product shot window at the end of their films. Here, the product is present all through. Does it come across as shameless plugging of the product? "I don't think so. It's an integral part of the script. It fits in naturally," responds Bhattacharya.
According to Kiran Khalap, co-founder, Chlorophyll, this film stays within the 'Frooti personality', namely, 'the 'boy next door' image, quite unlike Thums Up's 'hero' archetype or Sprite's 'outlaw' archetype. "In fact," he explains, "the most unforgettable TVCs for Frooti were the Digen Verma films and even they stayed within the 'Frooti box'."
The formula this time, he says, appears to be 'demo the product and own the category'. Giving full credit for the way the insight is at the centre of this script, Khalap nevertheless critiques, "If Shah Rukh was a foregone conclusion, I would've twisted this a bit more and made him a hockey coach -- another layer from Chak De India. I don't know how the football connection strengthens the storyline."
While he thinks the film is well-directed, the bit towards the end where the children laugh at the grown-ups strikes a wrong note for Khalap who found that it stopped his smile mid-spread.