Ashwini Gangal

"Frooti ended up becoming 'kid-oriented' because of its packaging": Nadia Chauhan, Parle Agro

Frooti's new logo resembles the stenciled stamp of approval one typically sees on mango crates. "It is our stamp of authority on mangoes," says Nadia Chauhan, joint managing director and chief marketing officer of Parle Agro.

The newly designed packs have been in the market, for select SKUs, since January this year. Since then, Frooti has seen a 60 per cent spike in sales. At the retail level, the new packaging has fetched Frooti an 80 per cent boost in visibility.

London-based design firm Pentagram has worked on the packaging makeover, including the new logotype, label design and PET bottle revamp.

Parle Agro's total marketing spend this year is around Rs. 70 crore. The media mix for the ad campaign includes TV, digital, print, outdoor, cinema and on-ground channels, as well as in-shop, shop-board and point-of-sale (POS) branding.

Besides Facebook and Twitter, the digital efforts include a new microsite (that will showcase recipes, games, etc.) and an Instagram presence (@TheFrootiLife).

New York-based creative agency Sagmeister & Walsh has worked on the ad campaign. The new TVC showcases stop-motion animation and features brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan. The film will be aired on general entertainment, music, news, movie, sports and kids channels.

While the film has been shot and produced overseas, the song, "Aam, suck it-a, lick it-a" has been developed in India in collaboration with music composer Amit Trivedi and lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya.

Edited Excerpts from a recent interview with Nadia Chauhan.

Edited Excerpts

Is this revamp exercise an effort to shrug off the heritage of Frooti like baggage?

Yes. It is.

"Frooti ended up becoming 'kid-oriented' because of its packaging": Nadia Chauhan, Parle Agro
Why did you decide to work with international agencies for this identity overhaul? Is local talent in the design space not up to the mark?

I don't think that's how one should look at it.

Undoubtedly, design as a discipline is a lot more evolved in a lot of other parts of the world than it is in India. For the bottle structure, we needed not just graphic designers, but strong engineering designers. There are a lot of technical aspects and a crazy number of restrictions involved when you're designing a hot fill bottle.

We wanted to work with an organisation that already had these disciplines in place - something you find very rarely in India.

"Frooti ended up becoming 'kid-oriented' because of its packaging": Nadia Chauhan, Parle Agro
"Frooti ended up becoming 'kid-oriented' because of its packaging": Nadia Chauhan, Parle Agro
But isn't a local firm better placed to work on Frooti, given the team's familiarity with the brand and its history in this market?

Every Indian has some memory associated with Frooti. I wanted the team to be one that didn't have any such memories. When people remember Frooti from the past, they tend to think of it within that world.

And it's not just the advertising/design fraternity. It's also us; we've been associated with Frooti for so long that it has been challenging to think about it as openly as we do about a Café Cuba, an Appy Fizz, a Bailley or even a Hippo. Many of our other brands have been a lot more progressive and modern, in terms of style, approach, design, advertising... but Frooti just has this huge history which restricts one from thinking openly about it.

In fact, Appy, which was launched just a year after Frooti, has taken much larger steps from a brand design perspective than Frooti has.

"Frooti ended up becoming 'kid-oriented' because of its packaging": Nadia Chauhan, Parle Agro
"Frooti ended up becoming 'kid-oriented' because of its packaging": Nadia Chauhan, Parle Agro
Tell us about the change in your TG from kids to adults...

Mango as a category has such wide acceptance. It is consumed by people between six and 45 years of age. But Frooti has, from day one, predominantly been available in package formats that are hugely relevant and convenient for kids. In 1985 when we launched Frooti, we had a tetra pack, at a time when every other beverage was mostly available in either a glass bottle or in those plastic pouches. Neither was convenient for kids. With glass, there was the fear of breaking and with plastic pouches, the fear of spilling. So Frooti ended up becoming 'kid-oriented' because of the packaging that we launched it in.

Over the years, we introduced PET bottles in the fruit-based beverage category. Though initially we invested in very limited capacities, the market for PET bottles really picked up. And the pesticide controversies that took place in the cola category also gave fruit-beverages a huge spurt.

Technically, PET caters to an older audience. Also, our two litre packs, consumed by families at home, are a very strong portfolio for us. So, while the product has been going out to all the right consumers, there has been a huge need for people to realise that Frooti is not a brand that's only selling to kids.

So it's not about changing the TG; it's about making sure the brand is acceptable and relatable across a much wider audience.

"Frooti ended up becoming 'kid-oriented' because of its packaging": Nadia Chauhan, Parle Agro
You've tried to do so through your advertising in the past...

None of our advertising over the past 30 years has been predominantly kids-centric.

We did the Digen Verma campaign for the same reason - to get into an older audience segment. But it didn't really give us the kind of results we wanted or believed were possible.

Which is when we realised we can't look at communication in isolation. Previously, our efforts to contemporise Frooti were only linked to communication; the brand has pretty much looked the same.

"Frooti ended up becoming 'kid-oriented' because of its packaging": Nadia Chauhan, Parle Agro
Frooti is a very 'kiddish' name. Why not just launch a variant targeted at adults and call it something else? How are these decisions taken?

Frooti is a huge brand for us. We definitely prefer investing into this brand to dividing our investments between two brands. And it's just a matter of correcting a few elements... why take that opportunity away from Frooti?

We did, of course, evaluate multiple options, including having another brand. But as an organisation, we're not really into launching 20 different brands in the hope that one or the other will succeed.

You've changed your formulation after 30 years. Isn't it risky to change the way a popular F&B brand tastes?

I don't think people will drink Frooti and find themselves in a zone they're not comfortable in.

The only difference is, Frooti now has more mango pulp, because our consumers gave us feedback saying they wanted it to have a bit more body, more 'mouth-feel'.

As a company, we don't change formulations 'just like that' and expect consumers to get used to it. We're very sensitive about that aspect.

At the retail level, how much does the design of the pack/bottle really matter?

It matters a lot.

You might get influenced by communication and say, 'Hey I want to buy a Frooti' but if you go into the market and don't think the bottle looks good enough, or has the right grip, you might not end up buying it.

Design has a big role to play at the sub-conscious level. Design is the first form of advertising. Even if people are not able to articulate it, it influences impulse purchase tremendously.

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