Paper Boat raises a toast to childhood

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | March 20, 2015
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In its first-ever multi-media campaign, the beverage brand takes a trip down memory lane, stirring up emotions in consumers' hearts.

Paper Boat, the manufacturer of ethnic-flavoured drinks, has launched a multi-media campaign, which includes a three-and-a-half-minute long video dishing out pure nostalgia. In a bid to establish a strong consumer connect, the brand stitches together heart-warming childhood memories, beautifully amalgamating them with elements reminiscent of the good old days. Penned and narrated by renowned lyricist Gulzar, and themed around 'Malgudi Days', the commercial is in sync with the brand's philosophy of 'Drinks and Memories'.

Aptly titled 'A Paper Boat ride down the river of memories', the breezy three-and-a-half-minute long film has been is executed by Karishma Lintas. It beautifully traces the magical moments and memories of one's childhood. From making paper boats, chasing kites, rushing outside to catch the first drop of rain and enjoying the smell of fresh stationery, the film juxtaposes moments that the consumer can reminisce about. As the film ends, it shows a young man sitting in an aircraft with Paper Boat's 'Aamras' drink, a sip of which reminds him of his childhood. At this moment, the viewer is introduced to a little boy gorging on fresh mangoes. The film ends with a voice-over 'Bachpan ki yaadon ko fir se bahao, badi chatpati hai yeh fir se pilao".

A Paper Boat ride down the river of memories campaign

Neeraj Kakkar

Neeraj Kakkar, founder and chief executive officer, Hector Beverages, says that 'Malgudi Days' has been part of the company's DNA even before the TVC was conceived.

"In fact, one of the first murals we painted in our office was of the classic Malgudi railway station. Once the TVC came into the picture, we gave the agency the brief, 'make us a film that's about drinks and memories'," he says.

The campaign is targetted primarily at metros and the urban Indian population from SEC A, B, between 20-40 years.

"For us, right now, the top six metros, with Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru topping the list, are our major markets. We are trying to connect with a niche audience which has migrated away from their 'native places'," explains Kakkar.

The television campaign is a part of the company's nation-wide marketing and expansion plan. With the launch of a new manufacturing plant in Mysore, it expects a surge in production capacity - reaching out to newer audiences.

"We had exhausted our previous manufacturing capacity at the Manesar plant which was around two million packs a month. The new plant will boost our production to another six million packs (250 ml each) - a total of eight million packs a month. The Mysore facility will strengthen our distribution in the South and West regions," he informs.

Currently, some of the most popular flavours of Paper Boat include Aamras, Aam Panna, Kokum, Chilled Rasam and Iced Tea.

Rajesh Ramaswamy

Rajesh Ramaswamy, group creative director, Karishma Lintas, who also directed the film, says they wanted to make a video that connected with as many people as possible.

"We went to the most fundamental memories we all had that we can be sure that almost everyone has gone through it. To keep it simple and endearing, we decided to use poetry instead of lyrics. Malgudi Days universally takes us all back to that innocent world. The visual treatment of using shift and tilt lens to capture this mood was the DOP Laxman's idea, so that it takes into this hazy fuzzy world of beautiful memories," he elaborates.

The film was shot over five days in Mumbai, Kanakapura and Devarayana Samudra, to create Malgudi. Carnatic musicians Ganesh and Kumaresh were roped in to render the background score.

The four 30-seconds long TVCs will be aired on prime-time across a host of English lifestyle, news and Hindi and English general entertainment channels, with a focus on top cities. The first film, a 3.5 minute clip, was released for social media last week, and has already seen close to 7.5 lakh views on Facebook.

Paper Boat was founded in 2013, until which time the parent company was best known for its energy drinks brand Tzinga. The company, Hector Beverages, was co-founded by Neeraj Kakkar along with Suhas Misra, James Nuttall and Neeraj Biyani in 2009. Shripad Nadkarni, co-founder, MarketGate, a brand consultancy, has invested in the company.

Paper Boat's other flavours include Jamun Kala Khatta, Golgappe Ka Pani and Jaljeera, all categorised as 'fortified, functional and non-carbonated beverages'.

Nostalgic Enough?

Saurabh Uboweja, brand expert and CEO, Brands of Desire, feels that Paper Boat's campaign is a breath of fresh air in the Indian branding space. He avers that the campaign connects with the emotions of anyone who grew up in the 80s and 90s.

"It is an exceptional example of using storytelling to build a brand, perhaps stories of our own uncluttered past. Most people will be intrigued to discover more about the product by seeing the ad, a dream for any brand," he says.

Saurabh Uboweja

Nilanjan Dasgupta

Uboweja, however, points out that instead of borrowing, the brand could have created a unique and memorable brand music of its own, that could have built brand recall in years to come.

On a product front, he notes that the company's eagerness to have too many flavours in its portfolio is worrisome.

"Other than maybe Aamras, which is an instant hit, the others aren't as successful. Having too much variety is a risk-prone strategy for a brand that wants to build scale, as your equity is hinging on multiple pegs. I would love to see Paper Boat zero down on three flavours that they can then build penetration for," he suggests.

Uboweja believes that Paper Boat has a unique positioning that nobody else owns, and needs to build further upon it.

According to Nilanjan Dasgupta, ECD, Rediffusion Y&R, the Malgudi Days soundtrack and Gulzar's poetry can invoke emotion and establish "return to innocence" for any brand. However, he has a concern. "How does this justify the product offered by Paper Boat and its premise of memories is the question. The visualisation does justice to the poetry in certain parts. But, some of the situations like the rain, Holi, kids chasing kites are not creatively refreshing," he notes.

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