Anirban Roy Choudhury

"We're spending across a good mix of GEC and regional channels": Nestlé, on new campaign feat. Nimrat Kaur

Through its new campaign for Nestlé EveryDay Masala Fusion, the marketing team is looking to increase the "frequency of consumption" of masala chai.

Time, today, is the most expensive asset of an affluent Indian. But, our cravings do not wear a watch and can pop up anytime, anywhere. One such common craving is for 'masala chai', or tea laced with spices. But then, to make it is to devote a considerable amount of time, which we are perennially short of. Nestlé has, therefore, come up with an option in the form of its new product Nestlé EveryDay Masala Fusion.

"Tea doesn't have a substantial seasonality, but 'masala chai' consumption increases in the rainy season, as well as in winter, and that is why we decided to launch the product during the monsoons," says a Nestlé India spokesperson.

Though there is a high incidence of 'masala chai' consumption in India, the frequency of consumption is as low as 'three cups per month per person'. The major reason behind such low consumption is certainly the complicated preparation tactics that it demands. With its new product launch, Nestlé intends to better the stats. "The objective was to deliver a perfect cup of 'masala' tea which is convenient to make with a combination of spices which will be tough to replicate at home," shares the spokesperson.

The product is targetted at households that are experimental in their mindset, and are ready to try out new concepts.

"We're spending across a good mix of GEC and regional channels": Nestlé, on new campaign feat. Nimrat Kaur
The FMCG giant, in association with the creative agency Publicis Groupe, has released a creative communication to make consumers aware about the new launch. The film stars Airlift actor Nimrat Kaur and comedian and actor Kavi Shastri. The film starts with the husband making tea in the kitchen. The wife, astonished at seeing her husband in the kitchen, asks what he is doing there. His reply: "Why can't a husband make a cup of tea for his wife?"

The wife snaps back. "He needs to know how to make tea, too," she taunts. The husband boasts about his 'masala tea', and comes up with a steaming cup of tea in a jiffy. Shocked, she nevertheless, asks for ginger and cardamon, to which he confidently replies, "I have put it all." Surely, the true flavour of 'masala' tea would be missing, she assumes, since he did not put any spice in the tea, and promises that if the tea turns out to be a proper 'masala tea', she will load the washing machine. And, with that she takes her first sip.

"Wow, but you didn't put any masala," she says, astonished but visibly impressed. And then, he shows her the Nestlé EveryDay Masala Fusion packet. The film ends with a few seconds of brand communication with the ingredients displayed.

"We wanted to set the story in a modern progressive household and were also looking at magnifying the simplicity of making a 'wow' cup of 'masala' tea with Nestlé EveryDay Masala Fusion. The narrative, with the husband making a cup of 'masala' tea for his wife allowed us to carry forward both objectives," says the spokesperson.

"The launch of EveryDay Masala fusion is to recruit new users for the brand - consumers who are looking for a perfect cup of 'masala' tea at home without the hassles of grinding six spices every time. The habit of drinking 'masala' tea exists both in-home and out of home. The product is made with a combination of six spices that households across India use to make 'masala' tea. The product offers a simpler solution for a habit that already exists," asserts the spokesperson.

Beyond television, the communication will be promoted aggressively through a strong mix of digital, outdoors, and print. Nestlé has deployed a strong sampling plan, and will focus on key markets. "We're spending across a good mix of GEC and regional channels," informs the spokesperson.

"We're spending across a good mix of GEC and regional channels": Nestlé, on new campaign feat. Nimrat Kaur
"We're spending across a good mix of GEC and regional channels": Nestlé, on new campaign feat. Nimrat Kaur
But, Rajeev Sharma, CEO, Ormax Rhodium, is not convinced about the ad. "It lacks soul," he says. "The error is in treating the tea as a product rather than a sensorial experience -- one that is spicy, pungent, aromatic, and stings you deliciously in the back of the throat, especially on a wintry or rainy morning," he says.

Though Nimrat Kaur's character in the creative campaign is impressive, will it manage to impress a 'masala chai' fan? "Perhaps not," is what Sharma feels. "I feel the idea of the husband going one-up on the wife appeals only to the intellect and under-leverages the mind's ability to be an experience stimulator," he says.

But, Saji Abraham, executive director, Lowe Lintas, has a different take on the campaign. "It's cute," he says. "It's nicely done and drives home the point that here is a simple fuss-free way to make 'masala' tea. So simple that even a man (one who doesn't know how to make tea as the ad mentions) can easily make it. It's an old thought and used across categories like laundry, where 'simple' means that even the man can do it," he says, defining the advertisement.

The creative communication may not manage to make people move in droves to switch to 'masala' tea, but it will definitely be on top-of-mind of consumers who have an interest in 'masala' tea, while scanning the tea shelves, feels Abraham.

"The interesting use of referencing other ads, especially the Ariel one is a sure attention-grabber, and ads a spike to the film. It is subtly done and shows the couple as progressive, especially after the initial barbs of the wife. I think, this will definitely get people to try it out and follow it up with a trial pack perhaps. A nicely done ad of an old thought, but drives home the point of ease and simplicity of making 'masala' tea well.

"We're spending across a good mix of GEC and regional channels": Nestlé, on new campaign feat. Nimrat Kaur
But, Neeraj Bassi, chief strategy officer, Cheil India, although applauds the performances of the actors, is not as generous. "Let me start by saying that the performances in the film are really good - Nimrat, husband, setting, music - all make it a very nice film to watch. But, there are some aspects that are not clear to me. Why is she so surprised to see him in the kitchen? He looks like a progressive husband, who puts clothes in the washing machine every day, then why is it such a surprise that he is in the kitchen? Moreover, if he is such an expert in making 'masala' tea, why has he kept it as a surprise from his wife - isn't tea an everyday ritual? Last, but not the least, the tea was ready as she entered, how did she know that he did not add 'masalas' to it?" asks Bassi.

But, even if we were not to look for logic, Bassi still feels that there is a lack of clarity. "Let us, for a moment, assume that it is a honeymooning couple in a foreign land, staying at AirBnB, where the husband has decided to lend a hand in household chores so that the wife can get time for some extra shopping -- even in that context, is it clear what the product is - dairy whitener infused with 'masala' flavours?"

It now remains to be seen how Nestlé's EveryDay thickener manages to replace milk in the world's most consumed beverage, and the new Nestlé EveryDay Masala Fusion manages to replace spices in tea.

Have news to share? Write to us