Ashee Sharma
Advertising

"We want to augment the 'spicy' portfolio to attract new customers": Kedar Teny, McDonald's, India

McDonald's has rolled out Indi McSpicy, a new variant in its spicy range of burgers.

For those who pride in their decision-making skills, fast-food restaurant chain McDonald's has thrown in a fiery challenge. Riding on the success of 'McSpicy' launched in 2011, and to offer more choice to its customers this festive season, the brand has rolled out yet another new variant in the range, the Indi McSpicy.

"We want to augment the 'spicy' portfolio to attract new customers": Kedar Teny, McDonald's, India
"It's McSpicy with an Indian twist", says Kedar Teny, director, marketing and digital, McDonald's India - West and South India.

But, the fate of the Indi McSpicy is still uncertain and will depend on customers to give it a thumbs-up in this 'Battle of Spicy' campaign launched by the burger chain.

Conceptualised by Leo Burnett, the campaign pits Indi McSpicy against McSpicy in a face-off where the new variant is endorsed by Raghu Ram of the MTV Roadies fame, and the original has Rajiv, Ram's twin brother, on its side. Or, it could be vice-versa!

"We want to augment the 'spicy' portfolio to attract new customers": Kedar Teny, McDonald's, India
Teny tells us that it was to play on this confusion that the twin brothers were chosen for the campaign that has 'twin' products challenging each other. "A general perception is that twins are identical in whatever they do, but they differ in many ways. It's the same with our burgers for the spicy range," he says, adding that the brand intends to leverage the duo's popularity to connect with the younger audience.
"We want to augment the 'spicy' portfolio to attract new customers": Kedar Teny, McDonald's, India
To execute the 'Battle of Spicy', McDonald's has created a
on which customers can vote for their favourite burger. The campaign will run on the television and digital medium until December.
"We want to augment the 'spicy' portfolio to attract new customers": Kedar Teny, McDonald's, India
Talking about the consumer insight behind the launch of Indi McSpicy, Teny states, "Our McSpicy range does not have customers; it has a strong fan following. They are die-hard loyalists who come to the outlets only to have a McSpicy. Indian customers have a higher affinity towards local spices and the use of robust and full-bodied flavours. They like it hot and spicy. Hence, we want to augment the spicy portfolio to attract new customers."

Keeping this insight in mind, the Indi McSpicy burgers are filled with paneer/chicken patties, marinated with lettuce, red jalapenos, chilli, onions and cheese sandwiched between spiced masala buns topped with black and white sesame seeds. It hopes to find patrons across age (barring children) and income groups, informs Teny.

Speaking on how often such product-related decisions are taken, he notes, "Innovation is a continuous process for us and such decisions are a result of our constant engagement with customers. During the festive season, people are a lot more experimental while they are out shopping or watching movies, and hence, we want to give them more options."

To make the deal spicier, McDonald's has spiced up its desserts as well and will be offering a Chilly Mango Flurry and SoftServe as a limited offer during this period.

Spice ready?

"We want to augment the 'spicy' portfolio to attract new customers": Kedar Teny, McDonald's, India
Nandita Iyer, food blogger at
, says that while it is tough to generalise the food-related preferences of all Indians, considering the market that McDonald's caters to, it is logical for them to "plug in a desi product as spicy".

"Indians are essentially spice lovers. However, today the Indian palate has evolved beyond it. As people travel more and eat out frequently, they are ready to experiment with different flavours. But, that's a very niche segment and if a brand was catering to it, it should package the product as gourmet spicy for the fine diners," she points out.