Devina Joshi

Parle Musst Bites: First smitten, then bitten

O&M is out with two TVCs for Parle Musst Bites, a new snack product from Parle Products. Beware, this one bites

They say, don’t bite off more than you can chew. But in the case of the newly introduced Parle Musst Bites, you’ll be safer off if you don’t bite at all.  

Parle Musst Bites, a flavoured, cheesling-clone snack product aimed at the youth, has been in conception at Parle Products for almost a year now. After sorting out some packaging and distribution nitty-gritty, the company is finally out with the snack brand that it hopes will become synonymous with ‘temptation’ and ‘possessiveness’.  

Parle Musst Bites: First smitten, then bitten
Seeing bandage on his friend’s hand, a guy asks, “oye, tere haath ko kya hua?” “Musst Bites,” comes the reply.
Parle Musst Bites: First smitten, then bitten
Cut to flashback and we see the guy sitting in a theatre with his girlfriend. Getting tempted by Musst Bites...
Parle Musst Bites: First smitten, then bitten
...that his girlfriend is munching on, he takes his hand forward to have some from the packet.
Parle Musst Bites: First smitten, then bitten
Quite unexpectedly the girl bites off his hand, giving him the pain of his life.
Parle Musst Bites: First smitten, then bitten
VO: Real cheese ke saath chatpati swaad ka maza? Pesh hai naya Parle Musst Bites.”
Parle Musst Bites: First smitten, then bitten
The ad ends on a waiter warning our guy, “sambhal ke sahab, aaj kal yeh bahut chal raha hai.”
According to Shalin Desai, senior brand manager, Parle Musst Bites, “Most of the snacking category has its communication harping on the feel good factor of sharing and caring.” Therefore, it was decided to alter the plan for Musst Bites: It was to be positioned as a product that was so tempting that its consumer would actually feel possessive about it and go to weird lengths to protect it.  

Santosh Patil, associate creative director, O&M, has created the two TVCs for this product under the supervision of his senior creative director, Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar. When faced with the brief of bringing out exactly what a Musst Bites consumer would do when his snack is threatened, Patil took inspiration from the brand name itself. “He’ll bite, that’s what!” he exclaims. Furthermore, the word ‘Musst’ in the brand name serves a dual purpose: ‘Must’ implies a must-have product, while the pronunciation resembles another word in Hindi (‘mast’), which means something tempting.  

The first ad begins on the shot of a college boy whose hand is bandaged, implying severe injury. When his friend asks him what happened to his hand, the boy narrates the entire incident. Cut to a flashback sequence, in which the boy is travelling with his maternal grandmother in a bus. Seeing her munch a pack of Parle Musst Bites, the boy is tempted, and attempts to take a handful from the pack. To his shock, the old woman bites down hard on his hand. In terrible pain, he yelps, ‘Nani!’ The voiceover then introduces the product as having a mix of irresistible cheese and spices, and the flashback wraps up. In a fitting end to the story, the boy’s friend sympathises with him, telling him to be more careful next time, as this ‘syndrome’ is quite rampant these days.  

The second ad has a different situation, but the same concept. A boy narrates to his friend an incident when he was watching a horror movie with his girlfriend in a theatre (ironically, a movie about vampires ‘biting’ their prey). The flashback sequence has the girl snacking away, while her boyfriend innocently tries to take a handful. She ends up biting him ferociously, and the ad ends in a similar fashion. 

While the idea of possessiveness for a product/brand has been tried out umpteen times before, Patil feels that the ‘bite’ idea bears a distinct resemblance to the brand name, and so the fit will be remembered by 15-24 year olds, who form the core TG.  

“Today’s youth speak a different language, one which is wacky, humorous, edgy and individualistic,” says Patil, explaining the bold, almost far-fetched concept. “So, subtlety was not an option for us.” 

Desai of Parle Products hopes that the product and communication will also rub off on kids and those in their early teens, as this is an on-the-go kind of snack brand. 

The two commercials have been filmed by Gajraj Rao of Code Red Films.  

According to industry sources, the budget for shooting these commercials is around Rs 30 lakh.

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