The arrival of summer becomes more pronounced with the increase in the number of television commercials on flavoured drinks. And, joining the fray with its latest television campaign is soft drink concentrate Rasna, one of the oldest brands in the country (Rasna began its TV campaign in 1984). The new television commercial accentuates innocent appeal, a premise occupied by the brand for a long time, and introduces Rasna's power drink sub-brand Rasna Fruit Fun's 'origin' flavoured variants. The brand reiterates its promise of real fruit flavours, in addition to being packed with vitamins and minerals.
Conceptualised by Curry Nation Brand Conversations, the TVC opens with the new 'Rasna girl' (the child actor was seen in Rasna's TVC for Fruit Fun last year) giving the viewers a Rasna fruit tour. An animation of illustrated children's book opens, with the real life girl wandering in an orchard. She narrates how, while roaming around an orange orchard in Nagpur, met Gillu, the animated squirrel. Gillu then accompanies her to a pineapple plantation in America, to pluck American pineapples and then checks out an Alphonso mango farm (establishing the link with the three flavours offered by the brand).
The girl then goes home to share the authentic, juicy taste of the three fruits with her friends and Gillu. The TVC ends with her saying the Rasna slogan, "I love you, Rasna".
The TVC is directed by E Suresh of Eeksaurus, which also worked on the animation.
Apparently, the brand conducted a research within its target group (6-8 year olds), where concepts like fusion flavours, make your own cocktail, surprise flavour or origin-based drinks were tested. And, the origin-based drinks, that is, flavour resembling the original taste, received the maximum votes, leading to the introduction of flavours like Orange, Alphonso Mango, American Pineapple and Shikanji Nimbupani by Rasna.
Priti Nair, founder, Curry Nation, says the brand had given a simple brief - to come out with an ad that introduced Rasna's yummy, real fruit flavours. The TVC aims to convey newer exciting fruit flavours offered by Rasna. While the campaign is primarily targeted at mothers, who are the decision makers, it includes children as a secondary target.
As for creating a fantasy world through animation, Nair explains, "The advertising space is heavily cluttered and, within that, the soft drink/cold drink category even more so. A format technique was needed to break clutter and, at the same time, engage and drive the message." She praised Eeksaurus for working like a magician, as an animation of this nature takes a really long time.
"A lot of effort went into what we wanted. A lot of reference had to be done. And, along the way, even the script kept evolving. Unlike a live action film, everything is separate and you keep approving along the way," Nair states. Interestingly, Suresh conceptualised Gillu, the animated squirrel, who the Rasna girl befriends during her tour. In the end, Gillu is shown entering real life as well.
The year-long campaign will be supported by print, outdoor and retail platforms.
Chraneeta Mann, executive creative director and national creative head, Rediffusion-Y&R, says, "The commercial stays true to reinforcing the brand's relationship with children as the bedrock of its communication. And, one can't fault the ad in terms of execution or conveying the three flavours."
However, Mann feels that it is time Rasna took the conversation ahead. "As a brand that was one of the first to use a child as the main influencer and create the really memorable slogan 'I love you Rasna', I feel it is now, perhaps, not really evolving or reinventing itself enough to be as differentiated as it once was. In this world of brands standing for something larger than what their products 'do', what agenda does Rasna subscribe to with regards to childhood today? It would be nice if the communication could be flavoured with some of that as well," she opines.
Narayan Devanathan, executive vice-president, national planning head, Dentsu India Group, believes an under 10 viewer would probably be attracted to the TVC in isolation, since it's "cute", colourful, seems like a Dora-like adventurer out exploring and so on. However, the viewer might not be watching it in isolation, as there are many cartoon serials on TV. "It could work except, the tonality of the ad and the mannerisms of the 'Rasna girl' are a little cute, a little too 5-year-old and not quite as old as I would like it to be. Also, it's too girly. Aren't boys supposed to like Rasna too?" he asks.
Devanathan feels the addition of Gillu seems interesting, as it brings novelty beyond the Rasna girl. "Considering it's probably the 10-year-old girl's mother who would be familiar with the original Rasna girl and not her daughter, it's an interesting move to cast an animated squirrel. But with a name like Gillu and a Champak-like feel to the whole ad, the brand is probably going after a much more mass middle class audience than an upper SEC type of audience - which is the right thing, given its price competitiveness and home-made roots. The same thing can be said of the new look the brand has now. Clearly, the brand seems to be looking to leverage the pester power of the kid in the house and not the nostalgia value that their mothers have," Devanathan says.
He adds that while the purchase TG is the mother, the brand rightly focuses on the child for consumption and communication.