KwikNic: Quit tip

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : September 25, 2014 04:04 PM
The nicotine gum brand from ITC reaches out to tobacco and paan chewers in a humorous way to position it as an effective alternative to messy tobacco.

KwikNic TVC

KwikNic TVC

Sumanto Chattopadhyay

Navin Talreja

Lloyd Mathias

In order to survive and stay relevant on the face of customers' ever changing-preferences, brands often launch products that are apparently inconsistent with their core offerings. ITC, the leading cigarette manufacturer in India, launched nicotine chewing gum KwikNic late last year. Recently, the brand rolled out its first mass media campaign.

Conceptualised by Ogilvy Kolkata, the television campaign comprises three films (one is still in the pipeline) and demonstrates the brand's usefulness through some particularly humorous social circumstances.

In the 'Wedding' TVC, the groom is unable to give his consent during nikaah because he is chewing paan. Likewise, in the 'Hospital' TVC, the protagonist is unable to tell his relatives that his father's operation went well because his speech is slurred due to tobacco chewing. The protagonists are then advised 'KwikNic chabao, theek se batao'. The ad then shows how KwikNic needs to be used (different from the regular chewing gums), followed by the voiceover, 'Tambaku se azaadi'.

KwikNic falls under the nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) segment. Interestingly, the campaign seems to give an impression that the brand is targeting paan and loose tobacco chewers as opposed to cigarette smokers, unlike other brands in the NRT category.

Sumanto Chattopadhyay, executive creative director, South Asia, O&M, says that the target audience for the campaign is the gutkha chewing consumer. "The brand is for someone who either wants to give up on his tobacco chewing habit or is unable to enjoy the tobacco due to social embarrassment and restrictions such as cinema halls, shopping malls, offices and at important social occasions," he explains.

In fact, ITC's brief indicated that it was easy to quit or reduce chewing of tobacco with the use of KwikNic. Giving up a habit or addiction involves a lot of stress and inconvenience, Chattopadhyay says. He adds that users (of KwikNic) need to follow a three step process - chew and park the gum for sometime; then go on repeating the process in order to get the desired result.

Unlike the serious tone adopted by normal anti-tobacco ads, the brand took a lighter way of communicating its message, as it felt it would convince people to believe that it was easy to quit tobacco with the brand.

Navin Talreja, president and geography head, Mumbai and Kolkata, Ogilvy& Mather notes that the biggest challenge is to induce behavioural change in a segment, where either people don't take the communication seriously or are slow to imbibe it. The 'Theek se batao' plots helped deliver the message of how KwikNic is a useful alternative for tobacco chewers.

In order to penetrate in different regions, the TVCs have been dubbed in six regional languages. Besides TVC, the campaign relies heavily on out-of-home. Digital, print and point of sale media are also being used.

Meanwhile, Lloyd Mathias, director, GreenBean Ventures, a consultancy, notes that it is a clever move by ITC to enter the NRT segment, considering that cigarette consumption will eventually come down in another decade or two. In fact, ITC has been strategically shifting its focus on other segments for many years. The company's venture into hospitality with hotels in the 1970s and gradual expansion in other consumer categories are evidence of this.

"ITC will pursue with the same desire to build this category like it has done with others. I think, it's a perfectly valid campaign as there is an increased focus on the ill effects of tobacco. Also, given its strong presence in cigarettes, it makes good sense for ITC to focus on chewing tobacco," Mathias says. And, what about the conflict of interest? Mathias says that while it may seem as a conflict of interest, it is not new for large diversified conglomerates to enter categories that compete with each other. As for the TG, while the campaign is intended at gutka chewers, the slightly over-the-top execution may seem a bit insensitive to the intended target group, he feels.

KwikNic, which is available in two flavours - mint and paan - is not the only brand available in the NRT segment (which comprises chewing gums, patches, nasal sprays and other alternative safe nicotine doses). However, it is the first brand launched by a non-pharmaceutical company. In fact, Cipla's Nicotex was the first to launch an NRT product in 2001. Nicogum, Nicorette (Johnson & Johnson), Nobbaco and Goa Nicofix are some other brands available in the market.

First Published : September 25, 2014 04:04 PM
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