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By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Fashion & Lifestyle | January 01, 2001
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Dummy news Dummy news Dummy news Dummy news Fond, childhood memory, but nary a current one - this is what Frooti's parent, Parle Agro, wants to change about it. The mango drink has been given a radically different avatar, as a result. On the cards is a 50 per cent increase in sales by dint of the new packaging alone. Nadia Chauhan, joint managing director and chief marketing officer, says, "The whole story starts from the fact that while Frooti is an integral part of everyone's childhood memories, very few have a current one of drinking Frooti."

Since its launch in 1985, Frooti has been steeped in cues that have been instant hits with kids, forming both its legacy and its challenge. When launched, kids found its square pouch, under the trademark of Tetrapak, a breeze to use compared to the glass bottles or plastic pouches available then. It was also a time when multinational players like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, with deep pockets for marketing and scale, were missing from action.

But Frooti can no longer afford to remain a kids brand. The soft drinks market became young adults-led from the 2000s onwards. Frooti found it difficult to rid itself of its mostly-for-kids connotation over the years, despite the fruit soft drink market growing in leaps and bounds, compared to carbonated soft drinks, which seem to be falling out of favour.

Chauhan says, "We are rewriting brand Frooti, right from its pack, look, advertising to the product formulation. We are writing the brand's strategy for the next five years."

Alok Nanda, founder and MD, Alok Nanda & Company, which has a repertoire of packaging and brand identity design work for some well-known brands, says, "It has done the right thing by going in for such a change as it was becoming dated. How much baggage a brand leaves behind will get decided by the degree of disconnect with the current consumer and the degree of opportunity in repositioning."

For Frooti, which has gone for a new font, pack, even taste, and soon, advertising, it had to be a break away from its past. The only connect it has retained is the colour of the pack. "We went with foreign agencies because we wanted someone without a history of Frooti and notions about restricting the brand to a certain band of consumers. A marginal change won't do the job," says Chauhan.

The task at hand is to rope in the youth. "From its early days, Frooti was designed for kids. So, it ended up losing out the larger audience of young adults. It has been playing on our minds for a long period, especially since we entered with plastic bottles that are now a large part of the market," says Chauhan.

Even though Parle Agro was the first to introduce a fruit drink in a plastic bottle (early 2000s), which requires a reinforced bottle because hot liquid is poured in it, unlike fizzy drinks, it was blindsided by the success of plastic bottles. "We wanted to test whether the larger bottles sold well or not, so we did not invest heavily. But others soon followed with the requisite firepower, while we took time to ramp up. So, we faced a lot of competition in the format favoured by the youth." Plastic bottles contribute almost 50 per cent to the category, according to industry estimates.

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