Abid Hussain Barlaskar

When a long copy ad masqueraded as an open letter by Virat Kohli

Snack brand Too Yumm gave its advertising an interesting spin by getting Virat's fans to ponder on whether he was cheating on his diet.

Last August, cricketer Virat Kohli raised many an eyebrow when he dropped Pepsi from his bag of brands; effectively forfeiting a multi-crore endorsement fee. At the time, Kohli won many hearts by citing health reasons for his decision. "I will not endorse a product I don't consume", he was popularly quoted then.

Soon after, an ad for snack brand Too Yumm (marketed by RP - Sanjiv Goenka Group's Guiltfree Industries) hit TV screens. In the film, Virat is seen chain-munching crunchy finger snacks, much to the shock of onlookers.

When a long copy ad masqueraded as an open letter by Virat Kohli

Too Yumms' first TVC with Virat Kohli - Eat Lot Fikar Not

The big reveal was - the snacks are baked, not fried. 'Eat Lot, Fikar Not' was the catchphrase at the time. The team has taken the same idea forward in a recently released, strategically timed campaign for a new product category - multigrain chips. The catchphrase this time is 'Fried Not, Fikar Not'. The hashtag #WhyChipsVirat has been used for the digital leg of the campaign.

When a long copy ad masqueraded as an open letter by Virat Kohli

TooYumm's latest campaign for multi-grain chips

The campaign broke through a minute-long video played during the strategic timeout during the CSK versus KXIP IPL match on May 20.

The online leg of the effort included images of Virat munching what looked like fried chips and a 'gossip note'...

Whether it's his career or his fitness regimen, celebrity-cricketer Virat Kohli has time and again proven to be an inspiration to Young India. But rumour has it that India's fitness icon has recently been caught munching on the unthinkable during this nail-biting IPL season. Of course, we dug a little deeper and yes, it's true - the original bad boy of Indian cricket himself has been spotted binging on chips in between his matches and practice sessions. Is the IPL stress getting to him or is it the uncontrollable foodie in Virat that's giving in to junk?

...and an Open Letter:

We at afaqs! Spoke to Garima Khandelwal, executive creative director, Mullen Lintas, the ad agency that crafted the Too Yumm campaign, about the strategic placement of Virat's open letter on Twitter right before the release of the second ad film.

Khandelwal says, "The open letter diverted a lot of eyeballs to the ad while it was released during the game. It is specific to the multi-grain chips ad and not the Too Yumm brand campaign. It is centred around how Virat would respond when he learns that his fans are upset or they feel cheated since he is eating something unhealthy like chips."

When a long copy ad masqueraded as an open letter by Virat Kohli

Garima Khandelwal

When a long copy ad masqueraded as an open letter by Virat Kohli

Anupam Bokey

"The ad for multi-grain chips was based on making a villain out of fried chips and the reaction of fans over a loved persona consuming something unhealthy. We banked on the fans reacting to Virat consuming something unhealthy, like fried chips. To make multi-grain chips look healthy, we had to make fried chips the villain," Khandelwal further says.

Speaking about Too Yumm's association with Virat Kohli, Anupam Bokey, VP Marketing(CMO), Guiltfree Industries, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, says, "The product is associated with healthy eating and we could not think of someone other than Virat Kohli. He had walked away from something unhealthy in the past. Kohli took his own time to judge the product. It was almost a four-month-long process when on his tours etc., Too Yumm products were always with him. He took his own time to get convinced himself before endorsing it."

Speaking about the combined propagation of the campaign on TV and on digital platforms, Bokey says, "Snacking, as a category, cuts across various age groups. The consumption product group is very large. While the 25-30 plus age group continue to watch TV, the younger lot are more hooked on digital and social media. Both are core to our PG and we need to communicate via channels which are accessible to both categories; hence, the mix of digital and TV. Virat's digital presence was also considered while choosing him as a celebrity endorser. He has a large digital reach. We used his social media presence only during big announcements."

When a long copy ad masqueraded as an open letter by Virat Kohli

Indranil Das Blah

Indranil Das Blah, founding partner, Kwan Entertainment & Marketing Solutions, a talent management company, provided us with insights about embedding a celeb's personal features in marketing a brand. Blah says, "It's a relatively new trend in a market like India where the celebs are really wary about their private lives being leaked out to the public. It is really good for brands if celebs can share a part of their private lives. This makes for more interesting content. It makes the campaign and the celebrities more relatable to consumers. People are always interested in something different and they want to see the actual private life of celebrities. If some of it can be given in a controlled manner, it will be great for the brand and the audience. But then it really depends on the celebrities and the brands that they endorse."

Have news to share? Write to us atnewsteam@afaqs.com