Devina Joshi

Parle asserts a heritage of nostalgia

Don’t we all wish we could go back to school? Well, the latest communication for Parle Krackjack, made by O&M, Mumbai, weaves its story around that idea to convey the heritage of the biscuit brand and widen its TG

Imagine revisiting your school 34 years after you’ve passed out. Memories of the classroom in which you spent so much time, the desks at which you sat – gossiping with friends, swapping lunch boxes, playing pranks on the Maths teacher, walking around the school corridors, grabbing a bite in the school canteen. Don’t you feel like going back in time?

It is this nostalgia that struck a chord within Anup Chitnis, senior creative director, O&M, Mumbai, when he was looking for that nugget called the ‘creative idea’ for Parle Krackjack’s latest commercial. Chitnis was faced with the task of conveying that Parle Krackjack, launched in 1972, is the world’s first, and original, sweet and salty biscuit.

As Pravin Kulkarni, marketing manager, Parle Products, says, “Parle launched Krackjack way back in 1972. Our competitors copied it in the 1990s and then further experimented with a few other brands and variants. We have been the originator for several other biscuit variants as well. Through this campaign, we want to assert that Krackjack is the original sweet and salty biscuit brand, which has been consumed over generations and our customers shouldn’t shift to copycat brands.”

“For a long time, the ads for Krackjack had the Krack and Jack elements in it, i.e. two actors representing the ‘sweet’ and ‘salty’ bit,” says Chitnis. “But to convey something as significant as the heritage of this biscuit, we couldn’t continue using the same slapstick, over-the-top humour.”

He adds, “We had the challenge of conveying this bold message, but our advertisement couldn’t have been all serious because the biscuit category itself is non-serious. So, we could not totally abandon our earlier humorous approach. We just toned it down.” So, Chitnis thought of using subtle, tongue-in-cheek humour, mixed with a feeling of nostalgia, to convey the brand’s heritage.

Kulkarni says, “This shift from loud humour to a more subtle one is also an effort to widen the TG.” Thus, using the emotional bonding approach, the TG has been widened to include everyone in the age group of 18-45 years.

Kulkarni asserts, “After all, Krackjack as a brand has been used for generations. The latest communication aims to reassure consumers that this is a brand that they can bank upon and feel good about as they have practically grown up with it.”

For those who haven’t watched it yet, the commercial for Krackjack unravels the story of three friends, actors Vivek Vaswani, Kitu Gidwani and Omang Kumar.

The first shot has the three of them strolling through the corridors of what appears to be a deserted boarding school. They walk inside a classroom and recall the time they spent there. Vaswani reminisces about where each of them used to sit. Gidwani touches a desk in the middle row lightly – inscribed there still is her name, Preeti.

In the next frame, as they are recalling their past in the school, a playful argument breaks out between the two men, when Kumar accuses Vaswani of stealing his lunch (which consisted of Krackjack biscuits). Vaswani denies ever having stolen Kumar’s Krackjacks, and insists that he used to carry his own pack.

They then look suspiciously at Gidwani, who is seated between the two men. She admits sheepishly, “Main tiffin nahin laati thi. Zaroorat hi nahin thi! (I never used to bring tiffin – didn’t ever need to!).”

Following this revelation, the three friends burst into laughter. The last shot shows the trio sitting outside their school building, munching away on Krackjacks. The super and voice-over run thus: ‘Parle Krackjack. Duniya ka pehla sweet and salty biscuit. 1972 se aaj tak, aapka favourite. (Parle Krackjack. The world’s first sweet and salty biscuit. Your favourite since 1972)’.

Kulkarni of Parle Products says that the casting of the film was vital. “It was the agency’s suggestion to cast these actors as they are all known faces, particularly Kitu Gidwani. People can relate to them and this will definitely assist recall.”

Agreeing with him, Chitnis of O&M says, “There is a certain chemistry between these characters. It was a deliberate strategy to cast a good looking woman, alongside one man, Kumar, who has maintained himself, and another, Vaswani, who looks slightly older, despite them all being the same age in the film. This mix of different people is what enhances the credibility factor.”

Here’s another interesting titbit: Shivendra Singh, the ad filmmaker from Dungarpur Films who shot the film, used an actual boarding school as the location for the ad.

“We shot the film at Lovedale School, Ooty,” Singh recalls. “We wanted an old school that had a very wistful, nostalgic feel to it. A boarding school evokes more nostalgia when one thinks of the past, as opposed to a regular school. This is because a student spends day and night in the same place in a boarding school, thus making many more memories there.”

Singh says he can personally vouch for that statement – he studied at Doon School, Dehradun.

Singh reveals that he introduced certain innovations in the treatment of the film to bring out the spontaneity of the actors.

“The script was all ready,” he says, “but I didn’t tell the actors to repeat the dialogues word for word. I gave them the basic gist and asked them to use their own words. This was to make sure that the scenes were impromptu and didn’t look rehearsed in any way.”

Singh also took care of the details. For instance, the woman, Gidwani, had to be seated in the middle, with the men on either side of her. “This is because she is the silent prankster who actually tricks both the characters, as is revealed at the end of the film,” he explains.

Chitnis concludes by explaining the insight behind the commercial: “Some habits never change, no matter how much time has elapsed. They become part and parcel of one’s life.” Such as a certain sweet and salty biscuit brand perhaps?

© 2006 agencyfaqs!

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