Ashwini Gangal

Sibling squabble

Oreo, positioned as a 'catalyst of connections', has created a new slice-of-life campaign featuring actor Ranbir Kapoor. In markets like Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the same set of ads will feature Tamil star Karthik Sivakumar.

Somehow, every childish squabble between siblings magically boils down to a line that divides domestic territory and demarcates the point beyond which one sibling's property ends and the other one's begins. Oreo, the cookie brand from Mondelēz International's Cadbury India, has drawn on this very insight in its latest campaign.

Sibling squabble
Sibling squabble
Sibling squabble
Sibling squabble
Sibling squabble
Sibling squabble
In keeping with Oreo's century old 'Twist, Lick, Dunk ritual', the global brand has created a light-hearted new ad film that brings out the playful camaraderie unique to brothers and sisters. Titled 'Connect Playfully', the campaign was released on YouTube and Facebook on December 1 and will hit TV screens on December 9.

Oreo made its foray into India in 2011 and has since created ads featuring one adult and one child or two children. Consider for instance the brand's recent ad for its strawberry cream variant that also brought out the playful equation siblings share. In an effort to avoid being perceived as a 'children's brand', this is the first time two adults have been shown.

Robby Mathew, national creative director, Interface Communications, tells afaqs! that the brand's subsequent commercials will bring out the beauty of other relationships within the family space. "At its core, Oreo is all about bonding, family relationships and spending time with loved ones. This time, we've brought out the same emotion using older people," says Mathew.

Being cognizant of Ranbir Kapoor's limited equity in Southern markets, Oreo has created the same TVC featuring Tamil star Karthik Sivakumar (aka Karthi) for this region. Chella Pandyan, associate vice-president, biscuits, India and South Asia, Mondelēz International, talks about the media plan, "While Ranbir's version of the TV ad will have a national footprint, Karthi's ad will be aired in Tamil Nadu and Kerala-specific media. Both of them will feature in our campaign on digital media. The move is an acknowledgement of the importance of the South markets for us."

Brands have started taking the relevance of their celebrity endorsers in their target markets very seriously of late. Recently, jewellery brand Jos Alukkas released an ad campaign featuring Vijay (Tamil actor), Fahad Fazil (actor from Kerala) and Diganth Manchale (actor from Karnataka) in a single TVC. The same ad was dubbed in the relevant language and aired in all three states. A separate campaign featuring Telugu actor Mahesh Babu was created for the Andhra market.

Besides TV, Oreo will optimise media channels such as radio, mall activations, digital (mobile apps, games, contests) and billboards. Short duration 'support films' or 'companion films' that will explore the concept of family relationships further will be released on TV soon.


Our reviewers found the campaign endearing and the dual-celebrity strategy, sensible.

In the words of Jagdeep Kapoor, managing director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, the campaign is "relevantly smart" as it "touches not just the tongue but also the heart." About the use of two adults and no kids, Kapoor enthuses, "The brand is growing up and so is its audience! The ad shows us that the habit of eating Oreo lives on even as kids grow up."

Oreo's responsibilities, he adds, don't end at brand building; it has to also work towards building the cookie category and the overall brand experience, namely, the habit of consuming cookies with milk. "If Oreo can drive a kid to have a glass of milk, it'll be an added bonus. So over time, inculcating the habit of eating cookies with milk could work out well for Oreo," he reasons.

According to Priti Nair, founder, Curry-Nation, the ad works perfectly since Oreo has always been a very charming brand. Recalling previous ads based on father-son, father-daughter and sister-brother relationships, she says, "'Who blinks first' has been their executional DNA. It is very memorable. And most good advertising is slice-of-life with a twist. Advertising that borrows from small, sweet relationships and incidents of life and attaches itself to the brand with its own essence works across any category. It works better than doing something bizarre for the sake of bizarre."

While appreciating the brand's geography-specific endorsement strategy, Nair points out that the ad with Ranbir Kapoor could work in the South too because "he is not here as a celebrity; he is playing the role of a brother. The story is about normal people and charming little feuds between a brother and sister."

Can the Western combination of milk and cookies work in a 'chai-biskoot' nation? "We have been dunking glucose biscuits and 'maska pao' in our milk and tea ever since we learnt how to eat. Doodh-biskoot, chai-biskoot is very much part of India. If we articulate it in English as 'milk and cookies' it just sounds English, that's all. Oreo has given a fun ceremony to its product consumption and I think it's brilliant. It is like the tequila ceremony (with lime and salt) but for children. The only difference here is that the age of the participating contestants has gone up but the childlike nature of competition is intact," she says.

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