Not just another manufacturer

Last Updated: Sun, Jul 01, 2012 19:41 hrs

Conventional wisdom dictates that at the time of purchase, a consumer’s choice may be guided by the brand name, quality of product, its price, a simple need of owning the latest or even an impulse, not necessarily in that order. Bottomline: the consumer is interested in the sum of all parts and not any specific part. But, that’s convention and game changing strategies rarely prescribe to the norms.

So when Intel, a microprocessor brand (for the uninitiated, it’s the thing that runs your computer/laptop) started advertising with its “Intel Inside” campaign in the early 90s, even the phrase ‘taking the unbeaten path’ was insufficient to describe its move. Simply because it was unheard of for a manufacturing component player, with only a business to business (B to B) relevance, to advertise on such a mass scale. But over two decades later, the wisdom in the move is for all to see. Rarely, does a consumer today not check which version of the processor has been used for the computer/laptop, whether or not it is the latest.

Bottomline of this particular story: the consumer is so interested in the part, that even his choice of sum may be guided by it. The part, thus, being indispensable, its equity irreplaceable and its default market position nothing short of a market leader.

The guys over at Tetra Pak must know their marketing history well. The company — which deals with packaging material and has been advertising steadily since 2005-06 — is treading a similar path its latest campaign, harping on the benefits of the packaging material.

“We’ve noticed that there is very little awareness among the consumers as well as their influencers about the packaging material used. They also harbour several misconceptions about the freshness or quality of ‘carton’ products at large. Our attempt is to dispel these notions,” says Jaideep Gokhale, communications and environment director, Tetra Pak South Asia markets. He adds that the advertising is always kept generic in nature, that is devoid of any allusions to any particular brand or products, leaving room for individual brands to sell their own stories.

Though Tetra Pak has been advertising for seven-odd years now, this one marks a definitive step forward in its communication journey. For starters, the company’s creative mantle passed from Leo Burnett to Dentsu earlier this year. Gokhale attributes the change to a need for a fresh look at the account and pursuant communication.

And a fresh look it has. The current campaign on air, the first one created by Dentsu India’s agency Dentsu Creative Impact after winning the account this year, builds on the previous communication theme.

Here’s how: last year (end of 2010-early 2011), the brand put out two ad campaigns. One, where all the members of the family put a black dot on the face of a newborn child to protect him from the evil eye. And another, where the kids and wife gift the overweight husband a personal trainer on his birthday. Both the commercials spoke about how we care so much for our loved ones and give them the best protection we can offer much like the six-layers of Tetra Pak packaging technology.

“Through research we found that consumers recall these campaigns well. But they want more, to understand the process that gives the product the requisite protection,” says Gokhale. And therein lies the challenge.

“It’s a complicated, highly technical process that had to be simplified for the consumers to understand,” says Soumitra Karnik, national creative director, Dentsu India Group. Moreover, in a country like India where most people consume unpackaged milk, the company needed to offer compelling reasons to enforce a change of habit. One, that was to be highlighted through the advertising, explaining how Tetra Pak packaging retains the purity and freshness of milk or any other food product for that matter, adds Karnik.

So the campaign chose the setting of mothers performing for kids, enacting the process of packaging and the protection afforded therewith. In a single stroke, the campaign targeted the mothers, the main consumers for these products and their biggest influencers, the kids. The character focus is much sharper in this campaign vis-a-vis the previous ones that were more broadbased capturing the entire family.

According to industry estimates, of the total milk consumed in India only 17 per cent is packaged. Of this, most is in a ‘pouch’ form. The Tetra Pak milk, as the carton milk is popularly known, constitutes just a fraction. Milk and its variants (like buttermilk, flavoured milk etc), followed by juices are the most prominent products packaged using Tetra Pak. And given that both the product categories are fairly nascent and mostly urban, Tetra Pak’s early efforts could help it claim the space in the long run. As Gokhale says, “The Tetra Pak signs are highlighted on the pack, urging consumers to pick up packs with Tetra Pak packaging, that assures one of good quality protection.” Sounds familiar?

Moreover, the company is leaving no stone unturned in its bid to influence the consumer. It did an activation earlier this year with school children (read influencers today, consumers tomorrow) wherein they had to create installations using Tetra Pak boxes. The kids were also explained the eco-friendliness of the packaging material during the same drive.

It also has plans of reaching out to over 500 practising nutritionists and dieticians as well as around 1,500 home and food science students, explaining the health benefits associated with Tetra Pak packaging. And lastly, not unlike their peers and partners, gain a foothold in the parallel universe of our existence, the social media and digital space. The campaign itself will run for over a month, till July-end, across television channels.

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