Krackjack: Breaking the Krack-and-Jack format

By , agencyfaqs! | In | February 02, 2004
The new television commercial for Parle Products' sweet-and-salty cracker brand signals the end of the Krack-and-Jack theme in Krackjack advertising

Over the past year or two, Krackjack advertising was becoming something of a blind spot. The antics of the 'eponymous' duo of Krack and Jack were getting repetitive, and their gags and wisecracks were losing charm and novelty. More importantly, no new dimensions of the relationship between Krack and Jack - the embodiments of sweetness and saltiness - were being explored. In short, Krackjack communication was essentially ploughing the same square mile of slapstick, over and over again.

It is in this context that one needs to view the new television commercial for Parle Products' flagship sweet-and-salty cracker brand. For with this film, Parle and its club agency O&M have departed from the Krack-and-Jack theme for the first time since the bizarre duo made its appearance some six or seven years ago. For all practical purposes, the new communication also signals the end of the Krack-and-Jack theme in Krackjack advertising.

The new ad goes something like this. It opens at a coffee table in a café, where a young boy and girl are engaged in a conversation. The boy is clearly infatuated with his girl, but it quickly emerges that the girl has other ideas. "Rahul, I know tum mujhse bahut pyaar karte ho, lekin Vicky ke saath it just clicks, you know," she says wistfully. "We fell in love itni jaldi ki pata hi nahin chala." The boy is visibly crestfallen, but he manages a feeble smile. Not that it saves him from what's to come. The girl slips a ring from her finger and pushes it towards the boy. "Aaj se hum dost hain, okay?" she says, intent on quickly redefining their relationship.

The boy is heartbroken, but he smiles good-naturedly as he nibbles on a Krackjack. Taking his smile as a cue, the girl rises from her chair, reaches forward and pulls his cheeks. "Shooo shweet, shaadi pe zaroor aana," she chirps, pleased at having broken the engagement so easily. That's when something gives. The boy takes another bite out of the biscuit, and without batting an eyelid, kicks the chair from under the girl… just as she lowers herself on it. As she lands on the floor in a confused heap, the voiceover goes: 'Aakhir mithas ki bhi had hoti hai. Parle Krackjack. Kuchh meetha, kuchh namkeen bhi.'

Looking at it, the new communication doesn't signify a fundamental change in Krackjack's ad strategy. It's more a break from formatted advertising. "Krack and Jack symbolised the attributes of sweetness and saltiness, which lie at the core of Krackjack," says Lakshmi Goyal, business director, O&M, explaining the genesis of the two characters. "When we created Krack and Jack, it was with the idea of giving physical bodies to the contradicting and varying points in life. So one was sweet, the other was salty." The Laurel-and-Hardy-ish idea started out well (the first ad in the series was the well-remembered 'holdup' film), and Goyal maintains that even the 'KBC spoofs' from 2001 were successful. But she does admit that Krack-and-Jack was becoming "restrictive in its framework" and the theme was "getting predictable and jaded".

The fact that the new film sticks to Krackjack's core proposition of sweet-and-salty is evidence that the basic strategy remains intact. "While Krack and Jack were metaphors for sweetness and saltiness, we were exploring other ways of saying sweet-and-salty for a while now," says Manoj Shetty, creative controller, O&M. The agency got a breakthrough when it hit upon the fact that 'sweet' and 'salty' coexist in people. "Every one of us has both natures, and when sweet-natured people are pushed around unreasonably, they cease being sweet, and salty kicks in," Shetty says. "The idea was to tap in on this in a fun way, in keeping with Krackjack's fun treatment."

The script for this film was written by Digonta Bordoloi, copy supervisor at O&M. "The brief was to stay with the sweet-and-salty proposition by saying 'not just sweet but a little salty'," he says. "So we came up with situations that showed people being nice and accommodating till they snapped and the saltiness came out." He adds that the agency conceived quite a few scripts, but this one came out the best in research. While we can't say about the other scripts, this one does find its mark - you just love the guy for getting back at the girl who's dumped him so unceremoniously.

"The new ad merely takes the brand's sweet-and-salty proposition forward by bringing the attributes into real life and real people," says Goyal. "It stays hinged to the brand proposition, but is a fresh manifestation of sweet-and-salty." © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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