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After 25 years in the market, why Alpenliebe is still the most loved confectionery brand in the country

As Alpenliebe celebrates 25 years of ‘sweet indulgence’ in India, speaks to Rohit Kapoor, Director Marketing, Perfetti Van Melle, to understand how it plans to convert its high brand awareness into consideration and consumption in upcoming years. Kapoor says the unique caramel taste, coupled with some memorable ad campaigns and innovation, made it one of the most loved confectionery brands in the country

From the ‘Jee Lalchaye Raha Na Jaye’ ad to its various different offerings, including the Chupa Chups and Juzt Jelly, the brand

As the company continues to put in efforts to keep the brand love for Alpenliebe high, Rohit Kapoor, Director Marketing, Perfetti Van Melle, told how the brand plans to strengthen its footprints in the Re 1 price-point by building distribution and converting its high brand awareness into consideration and consumption.

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As it completes 25 years in the market, it also has planned to leverage its brand equity and innovation strengths to foray further into higher price points such as Rs 10 and beyond.

This year, in the first quarter, the brand had witnessed double-digit growth, with overall 34% of the market share in Re 1 and above market. With a few more launches and innovation in pipeline, Kapoor believes that it would continue to gain market share in future as well.

“It continues to be one of the very important power brands in the portfolio of Perfetti, getting all the right support and resources,” he said.

Rohit Kapoor

Kapoor said when the brand had entered the India market, the confectionery market being at a very early stage was mostly unorganised. And the quality of the products was very different at that time, which gave Alpenliebe, a quality product, the differentiation factor.

Apart from this, most of the candies were sold loose or bootstrap and unlike others, the brand had adopted the polishing technology, selling candies in pillow-packs. Kapoor shared how it was important for the brand to bring in a certain degree hygiene and quality preservation.

In 2002, ’s first flavour extension,  Cream Strawberry, was launched. 2003 and 2005 saw the launch of Lollipop and Filled candy range, both of which have seen great success over the years.  extended into the Jellies category with  Juzt Jelly in 2012, marking a big milestone in the brand’s journey. In 2015,  vacated the established 50p price segment by re-launching as  Gold at Re 1 with a differentiated double-layer swirl candy.

“When we started to build the organised candy market, what clicked with the consumer apart from the wonderful taste and the taste in the mouth, was the advertising of the candies,” he added.  

Unlike others, he added, the brand started to target the family and not only the kids via its communication.

So, the positioning was taken as ‘Jee Lalchaye Raha Na Jaye’ and it continued to stay on the jingle for quite a while. As it still continues to be the heart of the brand; perhaps the tagline has been evolving ever since. Kapoor said it continues to play the same role for the brand, as an enabler of bringing the families together.

Building memorable ads

In confectionery product, brand recall is a very important role. And thus, the brand had always wanted to communicate through great storytelling with good mix of emotions.   

“I think we have been pretty consistent in our communication. We always have to tell stories in a very compelling way, something which makes the brand stand out. With the starting campaign ‘Jee Lalchaye Raha Na Jaye’, we figured out how the word Alpenliebe is difficult to pronounce and that is why in the campaign we called out that word many times. After that we move on to a campaign, which had Kajol as a celebrity and, for the first time, a very unorthodox animal crocodile, which too stood out really well with the audience,” said Kapoor.  

For the brand, the role of the music has always been really important and centre of every campaign.

In 2015, when it had re-launched the brand from half a rupee to one rupee, it had on-boarded Boman Irani as the face.

“The insight was very similar around how can we bring the families together and use the brand as an enabler in that. Thus, we had Irani as the new face,” he added.

As it completes 25 years in the market and to mark the celebrations, Alpenliebe has released their latest campaign.

Marking the milestone, the candy packs will carry a special commemorative logo throughout the year. Alpenliebe has also planned a consumer engagement contest to help Alpenliebe families create sweet memories.

The campaign would be supported by a special TVC aired on TV and digital mediums. As part of the contest, 25 lucky winners stand a chance to win holiday vouchers worth Rs 1 lakh. Participants can also win Zoop by Titan watches every 25 minutes during the contest period.

For high involvement category products, Kapoor said the role of music or jingles or making emotional sort of ad and content is important.

“For a brand of that kind of stature like Alpenliebe, we are mainstreamly distributed, it's important to go beyond functional and creative ads. Emotional connect with the customer is important because that is when the consumer will really remember you, if your ad is going to touch the heart of your consumer. The overall characterisation of the plot of the story, building the brand in the story; all this has to be fit into the story than forced. That is when you can strike a chord with the consumer,”

The brand has McCann Group as the creative partners.

Apart from this, Kapoor said for the brand, TV still remains one of the important pillars of its marketing strategy, along with digital support.

“We also use OOH, and don’t use print so often for our category as of now,” he added.

“We are spending on TV channels and our digital spends are going up every year. So every year we try and see that how can we improve our spends on the digital and shift from TV to digital. Currently, our digital spends are 12-15% of the total of the total spends and we continue to monitor those spends and evaluate which activity requires more spends on digital than on TV. However, TV still remains the most effective media for us with 80% spends on TV,” he said. 

Apart from ads, how innovation has helped the brand to keep growing

The brand is of the belief that high involvement category products need high level of innovations. Thus, keeping it the centre of all its offerings.

“We, being the market leaders, also have to grow the market and develop the market. Today if you look at the consumers, the market is very much ready to absorb those international global innovations. Chupa Chups or our lollipop variants that we offer has helped us to grow the market faster to get the new consumers in the category and also will help us to improve your frequency of purchase. We're also bringing out new pack formats to occupy those consumption occasions where the consumer needs a type of confectionery for on-the-go consumption. We look at the different needs of the consumer and offer a relevant brand slash pack format solution. Innovation is really the key driver to expand the market, grow the market to continuously expand the brand’s penetration and distribution footprint,” he said.

India’s candy market is fragmented and largely dominated by unorganised players or local brands still at 50p. For any brand to sustain for long, the challenge has been to break the 50p price barrier and upgrade its offering to Re 1.

Kapoor said as a brand it has tackled this challenge so far through continuous innovations and differentiated offerings.

Being in the price sensitive category, he said the brand continuously has to innovate to excite the consumer, to make him upgrade to from half a rupee to one and even to a five or a 10-rupee price point by doing compelling innovation in confectionery space.

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