A look at the four new ads of AGRL's new cooking oil range, crafted by DDBMudra.
A layman may confuse Wagga Wagga with some nineties Bollywood song starring Govinda; someone a little more learned may associate it with the Australian city in New South Wales. However, for us here at afaqs!, Wagga Wagga stands for the recently launched cooking oil range by Agro Global Resources (AGRL).
The ad campaign which has four short films to its credit, introduces us to the 'Australian bahu', Lucy Kaur, who in a witty fashion wins over her new desi in-laws by singing the miracles of the Wagga Wagga range of cooking oils. The one-minute-long ad, along with three twenty-second ads, presents a humourous situation wherein the Indian in-laws are bowled over by the Australian oil's wonders. The brand has forayed into the Indian market with four cooking oil variants - Wagga Wagga Diabetes Care, Wagga Wagga Heart Care, Wagga Wagga Sautés & Salads and Wagga Wagga Superfry. As the names suggest, each variant tackles a different health concern.
However, what caught our eye was the in-your-face advertising around the idea of this oil being Australian. A quick look at the brand's website and one can easily gauge the emphasis on the Australian connect. In today's day and age when an Indian brand like Patanjali is riding high on its Indian roots, when even a multinational consumer goods giant like Unilever has to attach a 'Hindustan' to its name in the Indian market; doesn't it then become a risky proposition to blatantly communicate the brand's non Indian-ness?
In order to clear our predicament, we got in touch with Sujay Naik, project director, Agro Global Resources, to understand, why is it so important to shout out the Australia angle? He says, "Consumers in the edible oil category are not buying products because they are or are not 'Indian'. There surely are categories where this is the case; and potentially brands can try to use this point as differentiation. For Wagga Wagga, the brand has two core elements - delivery of health in a natural and chemical free manner. The Australia association does two things - a strong connotation of health (Australians symbolise healthy living) and lending credibility for the pollution free, all natural product range. Wagga Wagga being a real place and not a figment of a marketer's imagination, is more authentic and strengthens the brand's credibility. The story of the ad is quintessentially an Indian story of a young (foreign) 'bahu' trying to become part of her new family. What better way to connect with housewives, young and old, than with a story that resonates in their hearts?"
Given the 'sarson ke khet' and rural setting of the ads, one can easily conclude the target audience to be rural India. However, that's not quite the case here. Naik tells us that the desire to consume healthier options spans across India, by both geography as well as setting (rural and urban). But clearly that cannot be the case with the brand's olive oil range that one assumes to be an urban phenomenon. "Olive oil penetration has been growing at a rapid pace over the last several years, although Extra Virgin olive oil in particular, is still primarily an urban product," adds Naik.
In the cooking oil segment, we have seen a string of ads that scare you into buying the product. However, the new Wagga Wagga ads, which have been crafted and conceptualised by the DDBMudra West, utilise humour to convey the message. Rahul Mathew, national creative director, DDBMudra Group, explains, "Diabetes and Cholesterol are today's lifestyle diseases. So, the only way to manage them is through changes in your everyday habits. And we wanted to be a change that is embraced with a smile, not out of fear. A person who has diabetes or has a family history of the disease, doesn't need to be scared any more."
Fair enough! However, isn't it ironic that a Noida based company (AGRL) is promoting its USP to be the 'Australian Lucy'? Mathew informs afaqs!, "The brand's USP is its source story. It's not just a product window spiel when the brand boasts of being grown in the healthiest of ways. Healthy seeds, healthy methods and in the healthy environs of Wagga Wagga. It's a rather relevant conversation these days, when the quality of what goes into what we eat is such a concern. And that's what we wanted should come out loud and clear in our communication."
A couple of years back, we did a story on the 'Firangi Fundas' through which we tried to decode the reason behind ad makers' obsession with casting foreign models in Indian ads. Experts unanimously agreed that despite their white skin, these models have an Indian connect owing to the dark hair. So, blonde models were out of order. However, times seem to be changing. "So, to have Lucy as a protagonist is not to make any point about western superiority or to be gimmicky. She stands for the Australian heritage of the brand and also personifies how effortlessly she and the brand can adapt to the ways and needs of an Indian household," clarifies Mathew.
The launch campaign is a 360 degree campaign with TV, print, radio, digital, activation and point of sale visibility. The cooking oil which seems to be an elixir to dreaded health problems has canola at the base of it.
Is this firangi 'tadka' a deal maker or breaker?
Sample this, a foreigner teaching an Indian family the art of healthier living by utilising an Australian product to cook unhealthy Indian meals. Indian obsession with the white skin is not a new trend, but are we also ready to be dictated to about healthy eating habits by our western counterparts? In times when 'Make in India' is our government's motto and our tolerance levels are a matter of never ending debate, are we okay being lectured about something as basic as cooking oil by an Australian blonde?
We asked our experts in order to get to the root of this issue. Pooja Rawat, associate partner, Quantum Consumer Solutions, tells afaqs!, "The brand is quite proud of its origins in Australia which is a bold strategy in today's times. This maybe an early sign that Indians are becoming tired of the constant message of 'foreign is bad' and want to be more inclusive, not isolated. Wagga Wagga, by being sensitive to our cultural nuances in the execution and story line, comes across as a brand that understands India and I think that might break the ice with consumers. The only worrying bit according to me, is that by pointing out that Australia has cleaner air, lower pollution, no GM (genetically modified) seeds, etc., the brand has implied that all this is lacking in India, which could create some defensiveness."
However, Rawat is all praise when it comes to ad execution. "The executions are a refreshing take in the category of cooking oil and have taken the humour and mini-series approach that is quite endearing and also informative. The positioning is singular and focused which is great, but oil intuitively doesn't fit with diabetes care and so the persuasion remains to be seen."
Sagar Kapoor, executive director, Lowe Lintas, labels the ad as a "very cool film". He tells afaqs!, "It works very well; much better than the 'scare' strategy adopted by other brands in this category. It is an edible product, why scare people into buying it? When it comes to brand connect, the Indian-ness is in the execution. The only thing that didn't work for me was the Australian girl talking in Hindi. Yes, they have tried to spell out 'Australian' but I tried to ignore it. And yes, why would I buy an Australian cooking oil to fry 'tikkis'? So yes, the Australian bit could be avoided."
Brand's promotion efforts across social media platforms, where Lucy tells you the 8 reasons why you should instantly switch to the 'Wagga Wagga' range cooking oils.
Chairman & Chief Creative Officer: Sonal Dabral
President and Managing Partner, DDB Mudra West: Rajiv Sabnis
Account Planning Team: Amit Kekre, Mehak Jaini, Neha Kulkarni
Creative Team: Rahul Mathew, Kunj Shah, Manish Darji, Fritz Gonsalves, Prasad Rao, Arun Ganesh, Mahima Mathur, Naresh Dhondi, Akshay Keluskar, Bhaskar Dwivedi
Account Management Team: Shally Mukherjee, Yugandhar Madidi, Colin Myers
Films Team: Vishal Sane, Meenaz Lala