Ananya Pathak

Marico plays health card in first ad for Saffola Oodles; will it convince moms that instant noodles are healthy?

In its first communication for the new oats-based product, Saffola Oodles targets health-conscious mothers tasked with giving their kids tasty snacks.

Leading consumer goods company Marico has released the first ad for Saffola Oodles, its recently launched ready-to-cook snack. What caught our attention about the film was that other than the taste of the product, the brand, unlike others in the category, has not focused on the convenience of cooking instant noodles.

Nestlé Maggi, for instance, has been built on its ‘2-minute’ proposition. Chaudhary Group’s ads for its ready-to-eat snack Wai Wai focus on ‘no-cooking time needed’.

Marico’s ad for Saffola Oodles focuses, instead, on the ring-shaped noodles being healthy – it has ‘0 per cent maida’. However, the product’s pack does mention, ‘ready in 5 minutes’.

Marico plays health card in first ad for Saffola Oodles; will it convince moms that instant noodles are healthy?

Speaking about the ideation of the film, Koshy George, chief marketing officer, Marico, tells afaqs! that the film highlights how Oodles enables a mother to play the role of a fun mom at snack time, and increases the bonding between her and her kid.

“Evening snack time is meant to be fun for kids. It is the time where they like to have their way, especially when it comes to the choice of snack. However, mothers feel they often play killjoy, by restricting what the kids eat, or by changing it to something ‘healthier’. This, of course, leads to a tug of war in the evening, spoiling the fun for kids during snack time,” he says.

Koshy George
Koshy George

Conceptualised by Mullen Lintas, the TVC shows a young boy pretending to talk to his bowl of Oodles in an attempt to send a message to his mom, who is just behind him. He is seen thanking the noodles for making his evening snack time ‘yummy’ and turning his ‘no no’ mummy into a ‘yes’ mummy. All this while, he is looking at his mom to see if she’s getting the message.

The mother, of course, realises what he’s doing and credits the brand, which provides the ‘yummy’ factor for her son. The absence of ‘maida’ and the fact that it is made with wholegrain oats reassures her that it’s healthy. So, she has no reason to say no.

George mentions that the campaign is targeted primarily towards the mothers, though the brand’s benefit proposition is for all demographics. He adds that the brief given to the creative agency for the campaign was to bring alive the core idea, i.e., mothers can make snack time fun again by allowing their kids to eat something they love, and not play spoilsport.

While this may be the brand’s first communication for its two-month-old product, the health card played by it in the campaign isn’t entirely new. Over the years, popular for its ‘Taste Bhi, Health Bhi’ tagline, Nestle launched various ‘healthy’ Maggi options. In 2017, the brand introduced iron fortified Maggi noodles to address iron deficiency among some consumers.

The brand also relaunched vegetable ‘atta’ noodles and an oats variant.

Earlier this year, Maggi launched masala veg ‘atta’ noodles with spinach in every strand.

Home-grown brand Patanjali too sells ‘atta’ variant of instant noodles, with added vegetables.

Hindustan Unilever (HUL) sells its Knorr soupy noodles on the back of ‘100 per cent real vegetables and no added preservatives’ proposition.

At a time when consumers prefer healthy indulgences, can Marico convince moms that instant noodles are a healthy snacking option for their kids?

Here’s what experts have to say about it, and also the ideation and execution of the film.

Edited excerpts:

Denny Joseph, business director, Magnon eg+

Over the years, Saffola, as a brand, has established itself quite strongly in the minds of consumers as a healthcare brand. Its product portfolio across heart-friendly cooking oils and food is widely loved and accepted. Saffola Oodles also follows the ethos of promoting health with ‘zero maida’.

Denny Joseph
Denny Joseph

The ad is reassuringly familiar. It is simple, effective and puts across the proposition of being a healthy snacking choice front and centre.

With this, Saffola has stepped into a category dominated by established leaders like Maggi and Yippee! (ITC). Here too, the proposition of ‘healthy’ is not new by any measure. Maggi has a whole range of healthy variants, like ‘atta’ and spinach, that are loved just as much as the classic version.

Lately, the healthy noodle category has seen new entrants. Big health players like Horlicks Foodles and mega brands like Patanjali ‘atta’ noodles have already made their presence felt.

Healthy snacking options have always been something every mom is on the hunt for… From an advertising and communication POV, making a lasting impression here would involve a deep understanding of audience segments and deploying hyper-contextual and targeted messaging in a sustained blitzkrieg across relevant media touch points. This, I am sure, is front and centre in Saffola’s strategy.

Sraman Majumdar, senior creative director, Brave New World Communications (a Bengaluru-based marketing and advertising agency)

A healthy product is a great hook for the audience, but the treatment runs the risk of being white-noised by the clutter out there. The phrase “haan-wali mummy” immediately stood out as a sustainable character idea that connects to the otherwise strict, but always-says-yes-to-healthy (read, Saffola Oodles) mom.

Sraman Majumdar
Sraman Majumdar

It would have been nice to see a more earnest or breakaway format of storytelling featuring her (the mom), as the brand evolves.

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