Despite the controversies surrounding Salman Khan, the Bollywood superstarâs brand value does not seem to be diminishing. Parle Agro has brought Khan on board as the brand ambassador for its sparkling fruit drink brand, Appy Fizz.
With an eye on taking Appy Fizz to a wider audience through the mass appeal of Khan, Parle Agro is spending about Rs 100 crore on the campaign.
Before Khan came into the picture, Priyanka Chopra was the face of Appy Fizz. Speaking about the reason behind bringing Salman on board, Nadia Chauhan, Joint MD and CMO of Parle Agro, said, âAppy Fizz is not just our fastest growing brand but it is also one of the fastest growing beverage brands in the country. Having said that, we have seen that the acceptance of the brand Appy Fizz is not just an urban appeal, which is what it was originally launched as. It was launched as a far more niche product concept because it was new at that point in time. But over the last decade it has grown to have very high acceptance in both, rural and urban markets. Therefore, the need was felt to have a brand ambassador who could take the brand to the next level by creating a very deep connect with India and Salman Khan was the best choice for that. So, for us it is really about taking the brand, in terms of its scale, to the next level. Salman, as a brand, also brings on certain complementing attributes. When you watch the commercial and when you hear the philosophy that he is talking about, it is really also the brandâs philosophy and it is the combination of these two things that we believe gives a lot of power to the brand.â
When asked whether associating with Khan, in the light of the controversies surrounding him, will have a negative rub-off on the brand Appy Fizz, Chauhan said no.
âThere might be certain controversies that might be associated with him, as are with many people and celebrities, but the love that India has for Salman and his fan following is immense. We have worked with many big celebrities but the kind of impact that someone like Salman has is something I am yet to see in anybody else,â explained Chauhan.
While, Salman, for now, will be the face of Appy Fizz for the entire country, Chauhan said that moving forward the brand will be looking for a South-specific brand ambassador.
âThe Bollywood penetration in South India is not the same as their own film industry. The South Indian film industry is a huge and dynamic industry. People there are also very cinema-driven and they have their own regional stars who are big and some bigger than even Bollywood stars. Therefore, if you want to effectively connect with the consumer in that region, using a celebrity from there makes a lot more sense,â said Chauhan.
Although a small percentage of the marketing monies will be spent on digital, by the virtue of it being a 360-degree campaign, Chauhan feels that digital is still a support for them.
âFor our category, we find that digital is a nice support medium but it is not one where we are heavily investing. Our core mediums continue to be television and outdoor,â said Chauhan.
Chauhan mentioned that of their overall, marketing and media budget about 40% is spent on big properties like IPL and Big Boss. It must be noted that Appy Fizz was the title sponsor of Bigg Bossâs recently concluded season. Chauhan mentioned that the association helped them see the impact that Khan had (Khan was the host of the show). This was also the reason that persuaded the brand to rope in Salman Khan as Appy Fizzâs brand ambassador.
Parle Agro expects Appy Fizz to be a Rs 1000-crore brand in the next two years. The brand also intends to grow the fruit + fizz category to Rs 4,000 crore. Explaining how they intend to go about doing the same, Chauhan said, âGrowing the category is not just going to be about Appy Fizz but also about introducing other fruit + fizz variants and growing the overall sub-category in that sense. It will also be based on expanding distribution. I believe distribution is going to be the big driver for this particular category. While it was launched as a niche product category over the last few years we have been expanding distribution in a very dramatic manner, almost 30-40% year-after-year and it is going to be the largest driver for creating this kind of scale.â
Currently, the fruit + fizz category is a Rs 700-crore strong brand and according to Chauhan, Appy Fizz is the only brand in the category.
âAppy Fizz is not just a brand that we launched but a category that we created almost 10 years ago. We created the fruit + Fizz category. Today it is almost Rs 700 crore as a category. We pretty much own the entire category itself being one of the only brands that has succeeded in this segment and continued to grow year after year.â
Parle Agroâs annual marketing budget is Rs 200 crore and it is divided equally between both their flagship brands â Frooti and Appy Fizz.
âBoth our brands are extremely rapidly growing brands. Frooti, over the last few years, has been gaining in market share rapidly year after year. It is also growing in distribution and is far ahead of the category curve as well. Both our brands are growing at double digit growth rates and doing extremely well.â