Abid Hussain Barlaskar

For a brand, what's better than one cause?

A bunch of causes! Take a look at bread and bakery brand Modern's media burst to know what that means...

Although the term 'cause-vertising' hasn't found its place in the dictionary... yet, it will soon. With brands taking up cause-led communication in their communication approach, the term is already a part of informal conversations in the ad world. The latest ad campaign from bread and bakery brand, Modern takes up a host of causes while showcasing a 'modern' facelift to the Indian household.

Launched in 1965 as Modern Bakeries (India) Limited, the company was renamed - Modern Foods India Ltd. (MFIL) in 1982. The baker, on its website, also claims to have held a 40 per cent share of the Indian bread market at one time. The company, formerly part of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), was acquired by Everstone Capital, a private equity and real estate investment firm, in April 2016.

For a brand, what's better than one cause?

Modern Foods's latest ad campaign #HarGharModernHonaChahiye

Aseem Soni, CEO and board member, Modern Food, says that the brand is among the strong players in the Indian bread market which is valued over 5000 crores per annum. He adds that at the national level, the bread category is led by local brands and not national brands.

For a brand, what's better than one cause?
Aseem Soni
For a brand, what's better than one cause?
Anuj VSN

Soni States, "Modern does not play in the largest bread market, i.e. the National Capital Region (NCR) yet. It is on the agenda. However, the footprint for Modern cakes and rusks is much wider than its bread portfolio. We are present in over 100 cities with our portfolio of Modern cakes and rusks."

Apart from bread, Modern forayed into Layered Cakes, Muffins, Rusks, Malabar Parathas etc. and has plans to innovate across segments. The brand is also planning to offer cookies through Everstone's recently acquired CookieMan business.

"Our awareness remains high amongst the mature consumer. Given that our product portfolio has expanded, the consumer base has also expanded to include the new-age consumer. Modern will focus on building awareness and preference amongst younger audiences, keeping digital marketing as a key communication strategy," says Soni.

Anuj VSN, CMO, Modern Food, says that currently, the role of the brand's communication is to build awareness about itself and its portfolio with relevant target groups.

For a brand, what's better than one cause?
Virat Tandon

"While television will be the key anchor to reintroduce the brand to both loyal users and the larger TG, we will use digital to engage with our younger TG to introduce our renewed philosophy. Modern is rediscovering itself. In this process, it is starting to connect with a TG much younger than its traditional and loyal bread consumer. Our objective is, therefore to simply point out to consumers how the 'Modern' values are similar to the values of the young Indian consumer," he adds.

Virat Tandon, Group CEO - MullenLowe Lintas Group, says that the brief was to re-launch Modern with an improved portfolio. The idea was to bring out the fact that the brand has evolved over time while keeping alive its values to create an evocative connection and differentiation beyond the functional benefits of the products.

In Tandon's words, the campaign 'Har Ghar Modern Hona Chahiye' works on two levels. While the brand says that every household should have Modern products, it also says that every household should have a modern outlook.

"Being modern in our opinion is hardly a cause; it’s more like the reality of today’s Indian society, which continues to evolve. Our objective is simply to point out to the consumers how our values are very similar to theirs. We are simply... modern," he adds.

The latest ad focuses on six causes ranging from gender equality to educational stress.

The film opens with a scene of a girl is scrolling through men's profiles on her phone trying to find a match for her mother. This is followed by a father putting his school-going son to sleep, discouraging him from studying too late at night and from the pursuit of gaining the highest 'marks'.

We also see a maid and her employer watching TV while sharing snacks from the same plate and a dad doing his daughter's hair and prepping her for school. And there's more...

The ad will be followed-up by short films focused mainly on the product.

Another cause the brand took up was during its 'Be Like Bread' campaign from 2017, which urged consumers to be non-discriminatory 'like bread'.

For a brand, what's better than one cause?

Modern Foods' 'Be Like Bread' from 2017

We could also spot a few of the causes from the latest campaign in ads launched previously for other brands.

For a brand, what's better than one cause?

Flipkart's Penguin Dads

For a brand, what's better than one cause?

A Recipe for Happiness by RPG Group

However, with brands increasingly finding ground with social causes, could this campaign really make an impact? We asked the experts:-

Alpana Parida, managing director, DY Works, a branding and creative design agency, says that in a world of cluttered communication and cluttered positioning, brands need to find a unique hook/platform.

For a brand, what's better than one cause?

Alpana Parida

For a brand, what's better than one cause?

Vidur Vyas

"There are many progressive brands - but the successful ads that stick in your mind have a premise unique to them, often integrated with the brand experience itself. #sharetheload comes from the sharing of laundry; 'Jaago Re' is a wake-up call just as tea wakes you up etc. Thus, the rational and emotional promises of the brand connect and build a stronger brand," states Parida.

"This campaign is simply a set of 'modern' situations. There is no clear value emerging - nor does it have any connection with the bread itself. The ad, while interesting, seems like a collection of random, progressive ideas, not a single clear premise that attaches itself to the brand. The word 'Modern' has to be given sharper meaning - both rationally and emotionally. If the bread had better ingredients, the emotional story needed to be about enriching relationships; if the bread had purity, as a story, the communication platform should be about the purity of intent, single-minded focus and dedication, without dilution. Only then does the brand/ad become memorable," Parida adds.

Vidur Vyas, founder - NorthSide, a strategic business and brand marketing consultancy, says, "It is a nice warm equity copy which portrays a 'modern family' and plays in the family connections space. In today's world, consumers are close to actual product experiences and therefore, to do well, the brand will need to continue to show 'modern family' situations and also spend time showing 'why' Modern products are better suited."

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