Ubaid Zargar

"Its not a replacement for milk": Parle's Mayank Shah on new spot...

Parle Products has launched a new campaign for its biscuit brand Milk Shakti. The campaign includes three TVCs that thrive on the daily tussle between mothers, children and milk. Here is an overview.

Biscuits and confectionery manufacturer Parle has launched its latest campaign for its biscuit brand – Milk Shakti. The campaign showcases the perpetual tussle between mothers and children over milk – a struggle so peculiar to Indian households, it is sure to resonate with almost everyone.

Conceptualised by thought blurb, the 360 degree campaign includes three ad films – all depicting the omnipresent war between kids and milk. One of the ad films showcases all the excuses children make, just to avoid their daily dosage of breakfast milk. And through the narrative, the brand aims to position its product as a motivation to resolve the milk conundrum.

While the ad film isn't definitive in substantiating if the product is a mere accomplice to milk or an outright replacement, the brand says the product is just a motivator for kids to consume milk. Two of the three ad films have been crafted for regional outreach in Tamil and Bengali. While the overall theme of the ad films is identical, the story lines are distinct.

In a comic light, the videos bring to screen the infamous excuses children often put up to avoid milk. Making an enemy out of milk, and then presenting the product as a way out, hmmm...that is something we aren't hearing for the first time. In the past, many other biscuit brands have communicated with their target groups using similar narratives – milk and its consumption. For instance, here's Britannia's ad film for its Milk Bikis biscuits. As is apparent, the ad has a similar, if not identical narrative for product promotion.

Here is Horlicks' ad film from the vault, structured around milk and children. The communication is clear – the biscuits are twice as nutritional as a glass of milk.

While the narrative has been prevalent in the advertising realm for years, it remains to be explored if it is still relevant to new age consumers. We reached out to the brand to understand the conception of the campaign. Mayank Shah, senior category head, Parle Products points out that the campaign is an outcome of research done in the category by the brand.

Mayank Shah
Mayank Shah

“We conducted research on biscuits, especially biscuits that are consumed for nutritional value – something mothers would prefer giving to their kids for breakfast. We concluded that while mothers were keen on giving their kids nutritionally rich biscuits, the kids were not very keen. They would rather have biscuits that tasted better. Milk obviously has its importance as a part of nutritional requirement, but kids usually aren't zealous in consuming it. As is depicted in the creatives, kids usually make excuses to avoid milk consumption. So we worked on that insight to build this campaign.”

We asked Shah if the brand positioned its biscuits as a replacement to milk. He answers, “No, it's not a replacement, it's something that would complement milk and it tastes better with milk. These biscuits fall into the core biscuits category – biscuits that give you some sort of functional benefit.”

Speaking on the vernacular ad films featured in the campaign, Shah says, "The idea behind going vernacular was to strike a chord with the consumers. There are certain markets where milk as a category does well. So we have regional variations to the campaign just to reach out to those spots.”

Industry Speaks:

Lubna Khan, brand strategy consultant

"Its not a replacement for milk": Parle's Mayank Shah on new spot...

Many brands and categories have played a role as the mother's ally in the child's consumption of milk, but for the milk biscuit category, it's a tricky space because it's not really a milk substitute. Parle Milk Shakti evokes the age old tension around milk consumption, but has to reasonably settle for being one more nutrition provider. Children’s nutrition is a crowded space with plenty of cross category competition, so while the communication does get the product message across, it misses an opportunity to anchor the brand and the product into a fresher, more memorable and powerful cultural and consumer insight. The creation of region specific work is a good move though, since the relationship with milk does differ across the country.

Jyothsna Yallapalli, independent brand consultant

"Its not a replacement for milk": Parle's Mayank Shah on new spot...

The TVC, at the execution level, is a tad fresh, capturing what the category has been pitching itself as - the “milk replacement/milk equivalent”, in an engaging manner. But the category’s narratives have long been around - how getting her kid to drink milk is a mother's daily mission, and how she counters her kid’s cheeky responses, thus giving a convincing space for a milk biscuit to slip in. Quite predictable. I feel, brands need to go beyond this narrative to enter a fresh territory, perhaps explore a newer and stronger role for the biscuit to play against or with a glass of milk, building further on milk’s benefits. Can it be Milk accompaniment + Sharp and Spirited Child’s brain? Or sustained energy for a forever curious, energetic body? Or a completely newer perspective on milk biscuits?