Aishwarya Ramesh

Licious roasts McDonald's and Burger King with print ad

The ad references the age old rivalry between Burger King and McDonald's.

Meat delivery company Licious took out a full page ad over the weekend in various editions of The Times of India. The ad, created by the company's in-house creative team, uses playing card references to position the product - a ready-to-cook (RTC) burger patty - as superior to the offerings of QSR outlets - Burger King and McDonald’s.

Licious roasts McDonald's and Burger King with print ad

Licious recently introduced new variants in its line of RTC burger patties. The lineup of flavours now includes piri piri cheese chicken burger patty, chilli & cheese lamb burger patty, and crispy chicken burger patty.

Licious’ RTC segment includes a combination of dishes that can be considered in the snacking category, as well as those that can accompany a full course meal. This includes chicken wings, fish fingers and chicken pakoras - which can be meal accompaniments. It also has seekh kebabs, chicken cutlets and hariyali murgh tikka - which can make up the main elements of a meal, along with, say, rice or rotis.

Nisha Sampath, managing partner at Bright Angles Consulting and a brand marketing consultant with 20-plus years of experience, admits that she was a little surprised when she saw Licious’ ad at first. But it is a classic marketing technique. She expected a company like Licious to pitch its RTC range against the likes of McCain (frozen nuggets, cutlets and burger patties) or ITC’s RTC range (chicken fries, seekh kebabs).

“However, the other competitors have a limited market. They are available in modern trade, retail, e-commerce, and so on. But the two QSR brands that Licious has gone up against, have a much higher rate of visibility. It makes sense that the ad drags the two brands, despite not directly competing with them.”

Sampath points out that a pack of two patties is priced at Rs 149. “A QSR’s strength is in offering value for money. Burger King offers you the burger itself at roughly Rs 80. If you want to make the burger, apart from buying the packet of patties, you also have to account for the cost of the buns, sauces, other vegetables, etc.”

Sampath recalls a project she had worked on, when she was working with food delivery brand Swiggy. It led her to the realisation that food cravings aren’t that specific or compartmentalised, compared to other requirements that people may have.

Nisha Sampath
Nisha Sampath

“If someone wants to, say, buy a car, they are very specific about the brand, build, model, etc. But when it comes to food, cravings take precedence. One day, a person may be craving street food and on another day, they may want to have a meal from McDonald’s. It makes sense that they are also trying to address an audience who may want to go to a QSR outlet, and give them an alternative - to make the item at home themselves.”

“If people want to stay at home and eat good food, it makes sense for Licious - which also offers RTC food - to remind its customers that they can still have that without a laborious preparation process. It is also possible that once in a while, audiences will take the effort to whip up a dish like this at home, since ordering a burger on Swiggy means that sometimes, it is not delivered hot, the toppings could spill, etc.”

Kalyan Karmakar, a leading brand consultant, food writer and blogger at Finely Chopped Consulting, reminds us that Licious’ main game is to supply meat and other edible products to people at home, for in-home consumption.

To him, pushing for the in-home consumption of a product, which is otherwise sold in a QSR outlet (outdoors), is a logical progression for Licious.

Kalyan Karmakar
Kalyan Karmakar

“If you remember, in the initial phases of the lockdown in India in 2020, even McDonald’s, Burger King and other QSR outlets were pushing for in-home consumption of their products.”

Licious, as a company, has also seen an increase in consumption during the lockdown. In an earlier interview with afaqs!, Santosh Hegde, marketing head of Licious, mentions that 85 per cent of its users are returning customers.

“During COVID, we saw an increase in our user base and, every month, we add 100,000 users to our existing audience. As far as the RTC segment goes, it’s not just about the convenience, it’s also about the taste, the feeling of cooking and having made something on your own.”

Sampath also mentions that the trend of making home-cooked, fresh and healthy food, was already prevalent in India, but it became much more prominent during COVID and its resultant lockdowns.

Karmakar agrees that it is this feeling of wanting to make something at home that may prompt users to try this product.

“The promise of having a fresh, hot cooked patty in eight minutes, is an enticing one. Once the patty is cooked, the customer can also opt for a whole wheat bun and freshly cut vegetables, which makes the overall burger healthier. People are bored of eating home food after all these days in lockdown. I’m sure a product like this one will have its takers,” he signs off.

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