The brand has roped in the actor as the first ambassador for Lay’s Gourmet. Shailja Joshi, category’s director-marketing for PepsiCo, tells us more.
Last year in September, PepsiCo forayed into the premium potato chips market in India with Lay’s Gourmet. The brand stood for slow-cooked kettle chips that were positioned as a luxury alternative to regular chips in the market.
Ever since the launch, the marketing communication for Lay’s’ premium chips has been that of craftsmanship and regalness, in a bid to differentiate the product range from the rest of the brand’s inventory.
Seven months later, Lay’s has found a face for its Gourmet portfolio in Saif Ali Khan. The nawab from the house of Pataudi, joins Lay’s Gourmet as the brand’s first ambassador. The Bollywood actor has represented Lay’s for many years in the past, yielding many commercials and campaigns.
The announcement comes with a dedicated ad film featuring the actor. In what appears to be Khan’s residence, the ad film places Lay’s Gourmet as an indicative summary of the Nawab’s lavish lifestyle, and exquisite taste.
A couple of interviewers aiming to explore the ‘Fine Taste’ of the actor, are befuddled by his uncompromising possessions, and are left to wonder - what could symbolise his exquisite taste in life? Their worries are put to ease when Khan puts his Lay’s Gourmet chips on the table.
The previous commercials for Lay’s Gourmet carry a similar undertone. The ‘premium’ proposition of the brand is displayed through and through in all of the campaigns. But with Saif Ali Khan, Lay’s aims to add Nawabi elegance to the communication.
Shailja Joshi, director-marketing, Potato Chips, Category, PepsiCo India reveals to afaqs! that the choice of celebrity was carefully thought out, and has a specific denotation that the brand aims to build the further campaigns upon.
“Saif today is the Nawab of Bollywood. The kind of fine taste that he exudes, and the way people relate him to that fine taste, is a very apt association that we make. The proposition of Lay’s Gourmet and Saif’s entire aura complement each other fairly well, and hence the ambassadorship.”
The TVC cleverly places Lay’s Gourmet as a sufficient representation of Patauti extravagance. Joshi points out that the slogan of ‘fine taste’ is almost unequivocally attributed to grandeur, and richness. But that doesn’t always reflect reality. “The whole idea is that what truly defines a person’s fine taste are the finer choices they make in life. Lay’s Gourmet is just that,” Joshi says.
The TVC is only one part of a larger mix that the brand has up its sleeve. “We’ve got bigger plans in place, some of which have already been implemented, and will be unveiled soon.”
In terms of media mix, the brand is aiming to advertise heavily during the IPL, through TV and digital, followed by a disruptive mix for digital and e-commerce.
Something that has recently played out in India, and has been accelerated by COVID, is the consumer’s appetite to buy into premium experiences in every category. And that is what Lay’s Gourmet is.
Of late, Gourmet market has seen participation from many brands such as Amul, Saffola, Vadilal, among others. As consumers in India actively move towards more premiumised products, the challenge is for brands to meet the demand.
Joshi highlights that Lay’s has taken the lead in Gourmet potato chips category, on the back of some insightful consumer trends. “As leaders in the category, we study trends from the global market and domestically. There are some trends that play out globally, and due to our robust ecosystem, we can bring those trends to India.”
“Something that has recently played out in India, and has been accelerated by COVID, is the consumer’s appetite to buy into premium experiences in every category. And that is what Lay’s Gourmet is.”
The Rs 20 launch is very important for us to reach beyond metros and mini-metros, and place our product in places where the consumer wants to buy
Initially with the launch, the Lay’s Gourmet was priced at Rs 30 and Rs 50. But the brand is now lowering the price point even further to Rs 20 to attract more consumers from a more variegated mix of cities.
Joshi reveals, “The Rs 20 launch is very important for us to reach beyond metros and mini-metros, and place our product in places where the consumer wants to buy Lay’s Gourmet, but at a price that they are comfortable with.”
For a lot of categories, especially snacks, the success for the brand in sales is almost always predicated upon its discoverability. In retail stores, this is often achieved by proper shelf placement. With the advent of quick commerce, the digital equivalent of retail shelves is e-commerce SEO (search engine optimization) and ad placements.
But with quick commerce, the brands have a higher probability of cross-selling and upselling to their consumers.
On the distribution divide between retail and quick commerce, Joshi reveals that while traditional trade will always be very important, there is always an evolution in how that trade operates.
“Traditional trade is always going to be important given how the Indian market is set up. Having said that, there is an explosion in quick commerce, because there is a set of audience for whom convenience is becoming more important. The strategy you operate with on these platforms is very different, with a huge leverage to communicate (and engage with consumers).”
The problem of discoverability on e-commerce is contingent upon a brand’s popularity and consumer awareness. Joshi opines that for Lay’s, owing to its popularity, being discovered on quick commerce isn’t a problem. But there are other strategies that the brand undertakes to solidify its presence.
She reveals, “A lot of our focus is to help our consumers easily discover us. Also, the buying behaviour is very different on quick commerce, so bundle offerings become very important. How do you provide consumers with a larger assortment when they’re seeking something similar. We also play up a lot of moment market for occasions such as Holi or Diwali.”