Ubaid Zargar

Cost, clutter, and competition: key factors Perfetti will consider for IPL advertising

  • Perfetti Van Melle launches Center Fresh Lemon Honey Mints, part of its efforts to expand its mints range

  • The brand's marketing director reveals the consumer research that went into new launch

  • Accompanying the launch is a concise 10-second ad film created by Schbang

  • Despite the allure of IPL advertising, Perfetti is undecided

Confectionery brand Perfetti Van Melle recently added to its product portfolio with the launch of Center Fresh Lemon Honey Mints. With the initial launch in 2018, Perfetti has since been keen on expanding its Center Fresh Mints range.

The new launch is a product of some rigorous backend consumer research and trial, aiming to ramp up the penetration of mints in a market dominated by gums and other mouth freshness alternatives.

“After the success of Center Fresh Mints, we realised that we needed to diversify the flavours in the category. After testing our product with consumers and getting their feedback, we felt that lemon and honey make for an eclectic refreshing mix,” says Gunjan Khetan, who is the marketing director of Perfetti Van Melle India.

The research that went into the making of Lemon Honey Mints included a concept product test, where the brand sampled the product to consumers and gathered their feedback. “We took our concept and the proposition to consumers, and the consumer feedback was very positive. This is when we decided to go ahead with the launch,” Khetan points out.

During the research, the brand focuses primarily on two key performance indicators (KPIs)- purchase intent and likeability. The Lemon Honey Mint flavour is now the third variant in the brand’s mints portfolio, joining other flavours such as Peppermint flavour and Strawberry Mint.

Accompanying the launch is also a dedicated ad film that plugs the new variant in a brief 10-second runtime. The ad film shows a man who finds energy and excitement in Lemon Honey Mints, after showing signs of fatigue. The film has been conceptualised and created by Schbang, a creative agency.

A short, concise ad to get the message across. As per, Khetan the process of creating the commercial began with a creative brief, outlining the objectives of the communication along with specific requirements such as duration, languages, and execution details. Schbang then took the brief and turned it into the creative. 

Finding the creative

We intentionally wanted to keep it short, sharp, and sweet. To that extent, the campaign doesn’t stop there. It is going to be digital-first.

Describing the advertisement as product-centric and focused on its benefits, Khetan points out that the route to execution was straightforward and aimed at effectively conveying the message to the audience.

But with the run-time of a mere 10 seconds and the quick and snappy plotline, what is the media mix looking like for the campaign?

Khetan answers, “We intentionally wanted to keep it short, sharp, and sweet. To that extent, the campaign doesn’t stop there. It is going to be digital-first, and will also run in some of the south states which are heavy for us in terms of salience.”

Mulling the IPL ad carnival

It’s a property that we are aware of. We understand what IPL brings. Depending on the right brand and the right initiative, we will decide whether to participate or not.

The new season of the Indian Premier League is upon us, and for a brand of Perfetti’s magnitude, there aren’t many other properties that can compare to IPL in terms of promoting a new launch. But for Khetan, the extravagant allure of the IPL frenzy is an internal discussion that hasn’t materialised yet. 

“Regarding IPL, it’s a property that we are aware of. We understand what IPL brings. Depending on the right brand and the right initiative, we will decide whether to participate or not. This is because we are also aware of the expense of IPL advertising, and the clutter that the brands create. These are a few factors that we’re internally discussing.”

All in for mints

As per Khetan, the mints category in India stands at 29 percent penetration, compared to 60 percent for gums. To bring mints as a category in the same vicinity as gums forms the overarching goal for Center Fresh this year. 

“We launched Center Fresh Mints in 2018. And one of the big tasks for us as a team has been to establish mints as a format in India. There is a massive gap in the penetration of mints versus gums in India. So, our hands are full with these key must-win battles on both the formats.”

Given that the brand is fairly widely distributed across India, Khetan identifies rural markets as potential opportunities to expand the brand’s mints business. “Rural is there. But we want to take baby steps, and decide the appropriate time on expansion strategies.”

Most of the competition that the brand faces in the category comes from traditional formats of mouth fresheners, such as Cardamom, Fennel, etc. These spices often form an assortment, served at every restaurant in India after a meal. 

“You’re not just competing with the gums of the world or with your closely organised competitors. You’re also competing in some way with these multi-million dollar subcategories that are rooted culturally into our psyche. But that is the big opportunity to unlock for us.”

Online versus Offline

As per Khetan, e-commerce has traditionally held lower importance for the brand due to their product's price point, typically at one rupee. He reveals that e-commerce accounts for less than 5% of their sales, significantly below the average for the FMCG category.

He asserts, "So it's very popular for us; we are an impulse and a small ticket price category. Therefore, e-commerce has always been a lower salience channel for us." He elaborates, "Considering most of our businesses are in rupee one, it's not economically viable for any of the platforms or even for us to build a massive e-commerce play."

Despite this, he elaborates, "That being said, it is still one of the channels we believe could be a big strategic play for us. And considering what we saw in COVID, it is something that we are focusing on. We are working on multiple strategies to expand our e-commerce play."

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