Saumya Tewari

Singh is Ching

Ching's Secret leverages actor Ranveer Singh's popularity and an exclusive music video to promote its offerings.

Doing the Rex was not enough for B-town 'hottie' Ranveer Singh, who has now donned a new avatar adding 'Ching' to his name. The popular actor has been signed as the brand ambassador of Ching's Secret, a brand owned by Capital Foods. The brand has taken the entertainment route to reach young consumers across India. Launched in 1996, Ching's Secret offers an array of Chinese sauces, soups, seasonings and noodles.

Singh is Ching
Singh is Ching
Singh is Ching
Backed by Yash Raj Films, the brand's latest, foot-tapping campaign titled 'My Name is Ranveer Ching' could have come straight out of a Bollywood potboiler. The video has garnered 1.2 million hits (as on Tuesday evening). Directed by Shaad Ali, with music composed by Shankar Ehsaan Loy and lyrics by Gulzar, the video has been choreographed by Ganesh Acharya and sung by Arijit Singh. Ranveer has also belted out the 'Manchow Rap' in his own inimitable style in the video.

Ranveer is leveraging his digital presence for the brand across different social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube encouraged by CA Media Digital's venture, Fluence - Celebrity Digital Network. "We had to come up with a social media campaign idea that would resonate with Ranveer's fans and lovers of Ching's Secret. His energy, enthusiasm and exuberance is unparalleled which is why this unique campaign was perfect," says Ashish Joshi, VP Digital & Business Head - Fluence.

Calculated move

While the company is getting the right amount of buzz for the brand, Ajay Gupta, MD, Capital Foods explains that taking Ranveer as brand ambassador was a strategic and well-researched decision. "According to the Nielsen Report, Ching's Secret is the largest soup seller in the last two-months in terms of unit sales but it lags in spontaneous brand recall. This initiative is a step to address the same," he says.

But why attempt a full-fledged music video and not a TV commercial? Gupta says the simple thought process behind the initiative is that a popular Bollywood number has far higher recall value than a regular TVC. "Our aim was to get the brand's name in the consumer's mind in quickest possible way," he asserts.

Singh is Ching
Gupta says that the real impetus to create a high-impact campaign came after the brand witnessed a spurt in sales two years back when it introduced products at the Rs 10 price point - for example, Chinese masalas and soups (in single serve pouches).

Ching's is a youth-focused brand and is targeting young housewives. Its core TG is between 18 and 32 years. The brand has a Facebook page (around 1 million fans), 20 YouTube Channels and a Twitter account (659 followers). According to SocialBakers, a provider of social media-monitoring tools, the brand's Facebook page witnessed a fall of around two thousand fans in the last six months. Its YouTube channel witnessed a spurt in the number of subscribers in the last six months. The company plans to roll out cooking-related apps across platforms shortly.

BTL, Gupta says, has been Ching's Secret's strong point. Meanwhile the Ranveer Ching campaign will further help the brand's distribution network. "Our primary goal is to hit half a million stores in the next three months," he says, adding that the company's sales are driven by cities like Mumbai, Surat, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Rajkot, Delhi, Lucknow and Varanasi.

Spiced up

Ching's Secret is available in only six states with a strong foothold in the western region. It started distribution in northern India this year. South India will be company's target market for next year followed by the northeast.

According to Gupta, Ching's categories are very nascent, so other players are growing the market instead of biting into each other's share. He says that except for the instant noodles (which is close to Rs 2,000 crore) with players like Nestle's Maggi, GSK's Horlicks Noodles and Nissin's Top Ramen, other categories like soup (Rs 250 crore), the overall masala category (Rs 3,000 crore) in which Chinese masala is a niche player are all in the nascent stage. "We started producing the Chinese masala two years ago, which is at Rs 50 crore now and is growing at 30 per cent quarter on quarter," he informs.

Singh is Ching
Capital Foods' (it has two brands Smith-Jones and Ching's Secret) consolidated revenue for the fiscal year 2014 stood at Rs 240 crore of which Ching's Secret contributed a whopping Rs 200 crore. Can Ranveer Singh add to that?

Ameya Sule - business director, GroupM ESP believes that FMCG companies have always benefitted by a celebrity endorser. Brands can tap onto the massive fan following of the star. Dubbing the Ching's initiative as 'clutter breaking', Sule says it will definitely set it apart from others adding to its recall value. "Brands can communicate a lot more in a digital video than a regular TVC. Digital gives you that freedom," he notes.