Neha Kalra

Super Cup adopts Munnabhai’s ‘Gandhigiri’

Tea City’s 20 year old brand, Super Cup has been re-launched, with a TVC after 10 years. afaqs! takes a peek at the new commercial which redefines the concept of ‘Chai Paani’

Tea City, the umbrella tea brand of Godfrey Phillips, a pioneer in the cigarette industry, has taken up television advertising for its 20 year old tea brand, Super Cup, after a gap of almost 10 years. And with this communication, it has tried to break out of the clutter of regular tea advertising.

Apart from Tata Tea's recent Jaago Re campaign, which is based on awakening the conscience, tea advertising has largely been about aroma and energy. In a very conventional way, the film for Super Cup, too, is around the properties of the product, but it’s the story that differentiates the communication.

The film opens on a man painfully begging a government babu, for a signature. The lethargic babu asks about having the necessary documents in place, filling a form, and finally about chai paani (bribe). The man states that he has arranged for it. The babu pushes a drawer of his table. Being open-ended from the backside, the drawer opens up in front of the man on the other side of the table, who puts in the required offering and pushes the drawer back.

Super Cup adopts Munnabhai’s ‘Gandhigiri’
When it opens out in front of the babu, he sees a cup of tea inside. The babu is not amused. “Yeh kya hai? (What's this?),” he asks. The man smiles, “Chai Paani.” Just as the babu is beginning to lose his temper, the aroma of the tea reaches him. He picks up the cup in delight as the man looks on in anticipation.

A shot of the product pack, along with a cup of tea appears with the tagline, ‘Piyo toh lagey, kucch piya’. At the end of the film, the viewers see a visibly refreshed babu asking for more chai paani.

The communication for Super Cup, created by Dhar & Hoon, is a re-launch for the brand. The brief to the agency, says, Abhinav Dhar, managing partner and creative head, was “to give an articulate voice and distinct personality to the brand.”

He continues, “In a market which has big spending competitors, the communication is what can do that extra bit for the brand. So, the emphasis is on being a little more clutter breaking.”

The message – strong tea -- is not a new one. And one feels a hint of the Tata Tea Jaago Re campaign, in the entire setup of a government office, where bribes remain the only way of getting things done.

Talking about the competitor’s advertising, Dhar says, “Tata Tea reflects on getting people to wake up to their conscience. Super Cup is about refreshing you in a different way. It's about refreshing things which we thought could never be refreshed – a government employee (babu), the hot weather et al. The environment and the film setup reflect the times of today.”

The tea category, like other FMCG categories, is very cluttered today. “Everybody knows what tea is. Take the example of the cola companies – their advertising doesn't talk about sugar, carbonate, etc. Tea advertising has definitely come of age. One has to realise that advertising is about attitudes and personalities. In our communication for Super Cup, we wish to communicate about a feeling – the feeling of refreshment,” explains Dhar.

Super Cup adopts Munnabhai’s ‘Gandhigiri’
Super Cup adopts Munnabhai’s ‘Gandhigiri’
Brands such as Taj Mahal Tea (by HUL) and Tata Tea have been around in the advertising circuit for much longer than Super Cup. How does it affect the consumer's psyche, when he thinks that probably Taj Mahal and Tata Tea are the only good brands in the market? “From the advertiser's point of view, the intention is to put across the brand message clearly. For the creative agency, it should be about being articulate in putting across the brand. As far as consumers go, it's about what touches them in what way. Fewer communication pieces can say more than a brand that has been communicating since long,” Dhar opines.

In a market where almost 25 brands are fighting for shelf-space, is there room for a re-launched Super Cup? What were the challenges for the brand? “The challenge was about being clutter-breaking and relevant. And one can't be one without the other,” says Dhar.

Vikas Arora, vice-president, tea and business development, Godfrey Phillips India (GPI), talks to afaqs! “Tea, as a category, has existed for a long time now. The brand Super Cup, under our tea business banner (Tea City), accounts for more than 60 per cent of the revenues that the company generates. Just like any other tobacco company, we are looking at diversifying into various categories. Tea is one of them. So, including Super Cup, our other tea brands are being resurrected. The brand Super Cup needs to stand out as different – it is about energy and strength.”

Arora reveals that the company is looking at an ad spend of Rs 6- 6.5 crore for Super Cup. While the communication will extensively use television, modern retail trade is also being considered.

Super Cup adopts Munnabhai’s ‘Gandhigiri’
Super Cup adopts Munnabhai’s ‘Gandhigiri’
Super Cup adopts Munnabhai’s ‘Gandhigiri’
afaqs! spoke to creative people in the ad industry about the film. Sujit Das, senior creative director, McCann Bengaluru, says, “People have travelled this road far too often. Somehow, the idea of ‘Piyo toh lagey kucch piya’ is a bit thanda. Though the bribing part is interesting and it does put a smile, but I have my doubts about whether the plot adds something to the brand. Tata Tea has recently done the Jaago Re commercial which has been noticed, and another key player Brooke Bond with Zakhir is doing the rounds. I feel one needs something bigger to draw the attention of the viewer.”

“Whatever little attempt the situation and the story created to break the clutter, the baseline took it back, right there with heaps of such ads. A definitely more tead down (read watered down) version of the Tata Tea spots, which also feature stories in everyday social constructs. Amongst the executional elements, only the drawer draws attention,” feels Subhashish Datta aka Subbu, creative director, Mudra, Delhi.

Jaideep Mahajan, creative head, Rediffusion Y&R, Delhi, quips, “The commercial is just a funny take on the phrase chai-paani. It has been well-executed. But there's no connect between the phrase and the tagline, ‘Piyo toh lagey kuchh piya’. Strategically, I don't think this ad takes you anywhere. In a category where we have seen a Jaago Re India campaign from Tata Tea, this one is a dampener. Chai-paani is not for me!”

Out of the Rs 4,000 crore tea market, the mid-premium segment tea brands make up 50 per cent. Forty three per cent of the brands exist in the economy segment, while the premium segment has a share of 7 per cent.

Tata Tea and HUL together have a share of nearly 50 per cent of the tea market (Tata Tea has 23 per cent and HUL has 20 per cent). Gujarat Tea Processors is a distant third, with a market share of 4 per cent, while Duncan's has 2.3 per cent. Several other regional and local players comprise the rest of the tea market. Super Cup has a market share of 8-10 per cent in the areas that it is present in.

Super Cup exists in the mid-premium segment, where it faces competition from brands such as Brooke Bond Red Label, Tata Tea Premium, Chakra Gold, Vagh Bakri and Duncan's Double Diamond.

Apart from Super Cup, Tea City has a premium brand, Symphony and an economy brand, Utsav. It also has a green tea brand, Samovar, which sells in Srinagar, where the custom of noon tea prevails. GPI is in the process of refurbishing all its tea brands, according to Arora.

Have news to share? Write to us