Aishwarya Ramesh

Repositioning mayonnaise...

First it was Mother’s Recipe, which positioned its achaar as a flavour enhancer for food ordered through Zomato. Then there was Gits, which positioned its ‘ready-to-eat’ rasagulla offering as an alternative to flying home to have ‘ghar-ka-khana'. What both brands had in common was an aggressive stance of pitting their ready-to-eat products against apps like Swiggy, Zomato and Foodpanda that offer meals at the tap of a button.

More recently, FunFoods by Dr. Oetker, a company that specialises in ‘western sauces and spreads’ category, launched its ad campaign titled ‘Iska Taste Mile, Toh Sab Milein.’ In a press release, Oliver Mirza, managing director and CEO, Dr. Oetker India said, “Mayonnaise is one of the fastest growing categories in India owing to its versatility. It has been our endeavour to drive penetration and grow mayonnaise into a thousand crore category.”

The new campaign also sees the introduction of Dia Mirza as brand ambassador and also features Anand Tiwari, the actor who was seen in Tata Tea’s initial Jaago Re campaign. FunFoods' campaign is led by TV and digital, supported by path to purchase media in select markets- OOH and in-store activations. TV is around 80 per cent of the media while 20 per cent is for rest of the activations.

Sridharan Iyer, EVP, Publicis Capital said, “The insight for the new campaign comes from the fact that homemakers today are under constant pressure to cook something which is not just interesting but also appeals to varying taste preferences of family members.”

Devarshy R Ganguly, vice president, marketing, Dr. Oetker India, told us over email, “In our journey to drive penetration and grow the mayonnaise category, we are moving from functional communication to emotional storytelling by showcasing our product’s role in consumers’ lives. The insight for the campaign has come from extensive consumer research which helped us shortlist a new copy platform. We tested various routes for the new platform (Qualitative Consumer Research) and arrived at the idea.”

Ganguly told us that the company attempted to combine the role of mayonnaise with the consumer insight that in most urban households, there is home-cooked food available – and mayonnaise can transform it into something exciting. “This is reflected in the TVC, where a bowl of Rajma Rice' and Aloo Sabzi are transformed into Bean Burrito and Aloo Panini respectively,” he said.

“We believe that food delivery apps are helping popularise western food. In the TVC, we are showing a mom and kids returning from a vacation and as one would expect in that moment, the mom’s preference for having home prepared food is natural. This is the reason, we showed the father quickly transform food which is available at home into exciting dishes, using mayonnaise,” Ganguly told us.

Kiran Khalap
Kiran Khalap

To understand the communication better, we spoke to Kiran Khalap, the co-founder and managing director of Chlorophyll brand & communications consultancy. He opined that none of the brands in question are competing with Swiggy or Zomato. Citing the example of Gits, he says, "Even that is more about convenience-in-a-tin rather than anti-delivery. FunFoods is clearly about ‘outside food’ versus ‘homemade food.’ It is staying clear of ‘homecooked’ and focussing on the product’s diverse applications,” Khalap tells us.

We asked him if mayonnaise can rise to the occasion and claim the ‘homemade” territory. “Probably yes, because unlike Mother’s Recipe and Gits, it does refer to nostalgia or food made with love,” Khalap says, making a reference to the part of the ad that shows the father making sandwiches with potato curry and wraps with roti – something most Indian parents have done for their school-going children.

Aditya Kilpady
Aditya Kilpady

Interestingly, when we asked Aditya Kilpady, national planning director at Dentsu Impact, to review the work, he made a reference to an older campaign the company had run, starring Sonali Bendre. “I still remember the previous ‘Food mein daalo magic’ campaign of FunFoods by Dr. Oetker. It was simple and clearly communicated the role of mayonnaise. The message was that mayonnaise transforms ordinary, home cooked food into something that is fun and interesting,” he told us.

Kilpady pointed out that mayonnaise penetration in urban India is still low and hasn’t yet reached the same acceptance as sauce or ketchup, which have almost become a must-have with every meal. "People are still not sure of the role and usage of mayo,” he said.

Some queries that a user might have about the product, according to Kilpady, could include questions like - ’Is it only to be applied on bread? Is it a dip? Is it used only during snacking or between meals? Or can it be added to home cooked food?’

According to him, the new ad is trying to communicate many things:

1. That mayo is convenient

2. That using mayo is a better option than “bahar ka khana”

3. That mayo can bring a twist to ordinary food

4. That a dad rustling up dishes in the kitchen is 'cool', as against the previous use of Sonali Bendre as the chief protagonist

He tells us that as a market leader, FunFoods by Dr. Oetker should have taken the lead to educate people about the role and usage of mayo and thus expand the category.

“Mayo, even today, is more of a conduit to make food more interesting and unique. It isn’t ‘complete food’. Since it is not competition to outside food, I don’t think it’s taking a dig at food delivery apps. Today, F&B brands have to accept the reality of food delivery apps and ride on it. Mother’s Recipe did that very well. Instead of taking a dig, it rode on the current trend of ordering from out and smartly integrated the role of the product,” Kilpady stated.

He went on to point out that there is more to the FunFoods portfolio than just mayo – “They also have peanut Butter, sandwich spreads, sauces and salad dressings. As a consumer, I would also be keen to know more about the role and usage of other products in their portfolio, besides mayo. If the task is to open up the usage of mayo, I feel the previous promise of ‘Creativity to ordinary food’ could have been extended in an interesting manner,” he said, signing off.

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