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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Coca-Cola's Maaza might lose consumers' love on Sachurrday and everyday.

In India, summer matlab (means) aam (mango). Aam admi (the common man) irrespective of one’s uncommon and unique trait and taste gets agog to savour the sumptuousness and slurp of mangoes the way he wants.

This mango-greed leads to and creates a market for mango-pulped soft-drinks across the country where Parle Agro’s Frooti; PepsiCo’s Slice; and Coca-Cola’s Maaza are most favoured.  

So no wonder all these brands fill in the air with their marketing and communication drives in order to get the maximum pie of the market share.

While Frooti talks about ‘Fresh and Juicy-ness’; Slice offers ‘Titillation and Sensuality’; and Maaza promises ‘All Season Availability’ to entice consumers.

To garner more eyeballs, celebrities, precisely Bollywood stars: Shah Rukh Khan; Katrina Kaif; and Imran Khan and Parineeti Chopra are roped in to endorse Frooti; Slice; and Maaza, respectively.

Among all three brands, it’s actually Maaza which has tried to scale up the brand philosophy by adding an edge to its positioning notwithstanding the lacklustre effort the brand put into the creative execution of the new TVC: Sachurrday.   

In the commercial – which is a sequel to the earlier one that showed Imran won Parineeti’s heart by wooing her with a Maaza even in the winter – ‘love’ happens to be the value-addition to the pay-off ‘Har Mausam Aam’. To establish the fact that there’s no particular season for aam (mango) and ‘love’ i.e. with Maaza, anytime, every time is the time for ‘love’.

It was shown: Parineeti was enjoying mangoes at her desk during a break. Imran proposed to take her out next day that was a Saturday (pronounced and emphasised by Imran as Sachurrday, may be for some fun – incomprehensible though), evoking Parineeti’s refusal, instantly, because she was not interested to leave mangoes behind for any date out. (Bizarre logic, but still okay, for the sake of creative liberty, or lamentation – whatever you may call it). Then Imran offered Parineeti a bottle of Maaza and said, there’s no season for mangoes and love, as per the quote of a Mahapurush (preacher / great soul). Parineeti duly bought into that statement and accepted the bottle, indulged in Maaza, promptly, and gave into Imran’s proposal, readily, and both of them were about to go out. And on their way out, Parineeti enquired whether the Mahapurush would treat her to Maaza everyday, answering to which, Imran nodded and sounded positive. The film ended with the product shot and the super: ‘Har Mausam Aam’.

Frankly, the expansion of the brand philosophy by ‘love’, leveraging on Imran and Parineeti – who are believed to be sure of themselves, trend-setters, go-getters, etc. – was not really presented convincingly in the film.

In fact, it seems to be a sheer case of lost opportunity and tired and hurried creative wherein no such strategic thoughts came into play for a big idea to expand the existing philosophy and own that. And that too, when, with their ‘Haal Kaisa Hai Janab Ka’ commercial, Slice has literally thrown quite an air and fire into the competition: and Frooti has created quite a buzz around (if not with) their ‘Magic of Frooti’ TVC: – starring SRK.

Given the Maaza campaign, it looks rather unclear whether the agency ‘Leo Burnett’ has at all dug into the basics of mango even if the intrinsic value proposition of Maaza was not considered.

To understand the basics of mango, one doesn’t need to know rocket science in case he is willing to visit any local market and follows consumer interactions with a fruit seller.

The inevitable inquiry or question that crops up always is, “Mishti hobe?” (Will it be sweet)?

That underlines the single-minded governing factor for mango-purchase is nothing but ‘sweetness’. And thereafter come in other functional values like: strength, stamina, health and energy.

Altogether the said values create an aura or persona of mango that summons emotions like: happiness, love, fun, status, and accomplishment for an individual or family or society. In short, mango stands for something ‘wholesome’ all the time.

The website of Coca-Cola India has also harped on Maaza's ‘wholesomeness for family fun’; however, on the contrary, the brand’s campaign has hardly addressed that. Instead, some stuffs were produced, which definitely tried to be innovative and creative to push the category by ‘love’ but somewhat lost the plot in the middle thanks to the sole intention of exploiting ‘Imran-Parineeti chemistry’ more than ‘consumer-mango chemistry’.

Resulting, nothing memorable was created but run-of-the-mill that might have jolly well been produced with anyone else but Imran and Parineeti.

But, things would’ve been different and pretty solid, had more insightful thought process been brought to the table and idea blocks been developed gradually in order to derive at the final block to justify ‘love’ as a derivative of ‘happiness’ – which is also the brand core of Coca-Cola.

If that was done, the communication would’ve been exceedingly well for a greater brand recall and, in the process, for more sales.

Below is the picture that aptly shows how it could’ve been done, actually. (Click on the picture to enlarge for a better view and understanding).

All said and done, it goes without saying; the philosophy or plank extension ploy of Maaza is right on the money and very prudent and pragmatic, albeit it might not click in terms of sales and equity generation and rather lose considerable ground to the competition because of its marketing communications which couldn’t raise above mediocrity and push the bar… thereby defeated the image of mango, so of the brand, handsomely.

After all, mangoes mean ‘man goes’, so a mango-drink campaign should be such that it makes aam admi – the common man – move with an inspiration, aspiration and ambition to choose mango-drinks over mangoes and / or other soft-drinks in summer; otherwise it’s very tough, if not impossible, for a brand to fly off the shelf in spite of a huge spending on media and PR.

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