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Advertising spends to see a boost during upcoming IPL & cricket season; will be an exciting summer for brands, says Perfetti’s Rohit Kapoor

In a conversation with BeatMediaInfo.com, Kapoor, Director of Marketing (India) at Perfetti Van Melle, said that the confectionery company will use TV as its largest medium for advertising, followed by digital, print and outdoor. The company expects to post solid growth number in the first half of the year

Rohit Kapoor

According to GroupM and Madison reports on ad spends in India, digital will surpass spends on TV in 2022. For Perfetti Van Melle, while digital will continue to gain importance in the overall marketing mix and will grow faster than any other medium, it won’t surpass spends on TV for at least the next three years, said Rohit Kapoor, Director of Marketing (India) at Perfetti Van Melle.

In an exclusive interview with BestMediaInfo.com, Kapoor said that with over one-third market share, PVM India is expected to have robust growth in Q1 of the current year. 

“Last year was a very good year for us in terms of growth. Even in the first year of Covid (2020), we almost ended the year at par with 2019 growth levels. In 2021, we grew at 13-14%. We are expecting healthy, robust growth in Q1 2022,” Kapoor said.

While TV and digital remain the important mediums of advertising, the brand considers print an impactful medium and invests in it on a need basis. He also said that the brand has increased its spending on cinema and outdoor advertising, with India recovering from Covid and people coming out of their homes. 

“Now with the IPL and cricket season, the industry is going to boom. Everybody is looking forward to the summer season. There will be a normalisation of spends in this summer,” Kapoor said. 

He then went on to speak about how Perfetti keeps on innovating and renovating to stay fresh in the minds of consumers. He also spoke about how its brand Center Fresh has reinterpreted its popular ‘Fresh breath confidence’ positioning and taken it a step further with the new campaign and tagline “Dil Ki Baat Zubaan Pe”. 

Excerpts:

What is the objective that the brand wanted to fulfil with a refreshed tagline and campaign? 

It has to be seen in a larger context. Centre Fresh has always been positioned on the core idea of giving ‘fresh breath confidence’ to young adults. This has been the bedrock of communication over the years. Every brand communication and tagline has a life. The manifestation via the tagline keeps on changing and refreshing with time. 

We launched our brand in India in 1994 with the Kayaking ad, which helped the brand establish itself. After that, there was a certain pause in our advertising because the brand was selling on its own. But then Center Fresh reached a certain stature when it decided to reinforce the advertising campaign. Therefore, in 2007, we launched ‘‘Zubaan Pe Rakhe Lagaam’’. 

In 2015, Center Fresh launched another campaign and went back to the core philosophy of the brand which is fresh breath. A new brand manifestation was introduced with the tagline - ‘’Taazi Saas Rakho Paas.’’ Our ads have always been quirky involving young adults. Since then, our communication has been around this only. It is only now that we are refreshing our thematic communication on the base brand. 

From 2015 until now we kept on launching new variants and advertising those with the same thematic approach of ‘’Taazi Saas Rakho Paas.’’ 

Due to Covid, the refreshment category witnessed a bit of slow down. Now with things coming back to normal and people stepping out, we thought that it’s the right time to refresh the core communication of the brand. Therefore, we came up with a catchy tagline “Dil ki Baat Zubaan Pe’’ for the brand. Like this, the manifestation has changed and has been refreshing but the core idea/philosophy of fresh breath confidence remained the same. 

What is the promotional strategy for the campaign? What new things is the brand doing to promote the campaign other than the usual TVC, radio, OOH and social media posts and films?

A new campaign has to be built slowly. In the first stage of the campaign, we are creating awareness about it. In our category, the best means to create awareness and build reach is through TV, followed by digital marketing channels and display advertising. 

In the second phase, i.e a couple of months later, we will sharpen our engagement with the consumers. The plan is to do something specific on digital media, on-ground events, and go higher on the POSM (Point of Sale Marketing). We will build this tagline using influencers who resonate with our audience and really create a platform where slowly this line becomes more colloquial. 

We are planning to do content partnerships with the right channels and content partners. The tagline has the potential to grow while adding to the equity of the brand. That equity will translate into on-ground sales. 

According to Madison and GroupM reports on ad spends in India, digital will surpass TV. Does it stand true in the case of PVM India? 

For the FMCG industry, digital is extremely important and it will continue to grow every year at a faster pace versus TV. It differs from category to category. For us, it is hovering around 25% compared to 5-6 years back when it was around 5%. Digital allows you to do a lot of experiments. It is now a reach-driven medium. There are tools where one can do cross-media assessment between TV and Digital. It will continue to gain importance in the overall marketing mix. Although, I am not sure if it will surpass the spends on TV. For the confectionery industry in the next three years, the spends on digital will grow faster than TV spending, but it may not surpass spends on TV.

How impactful is the print medium for the confectionery category? 

Print is still a great medium to communicate. It is up to the marketers to use it innovatively. With the rise of digital, people wondered if print will survive. Even during the Covid, there was a notion to not touch newspapers and magazines. But all this didn’t really happen. Print still plays an important part in the overall marketing mix and differs from category to category. 

Print has a role to play in the confectionery category, but we use it on a need basis. For instance, for our Happy Dent campaign - Make a dent, we invited entries from the consumers to make their own version of Happy Dent ads. That time, we tied up with Economic Times and used the print medium to inform consumers about the contest. 

For us, the primary medium is TV because of the massive distribution it has. TV is the most cost-effective medium, followed by digital. We have upped our spends on digital as compared to many other categories. We also spend on outdoor medium and cinema. 

Ad spends in India were quite muted in Q3 in comparison to the same quarter in the previous year for several FMCG companies. According to you, what could be the possible reasons for the muted ad spending? How has the trajectory been for Perfetti in India with regards to ad spends across quarters in FY 21. 

Last year was a very good year for us in terms of growth. Even in the first year of Covid (2020), we almost ended the year at par with 2019 growth levels. In 2021, we grew at 13-14 %. We are expecting to have robust growth in Q1 2022. 

Last year, we did not cut down the ATL spends. Being the largest player in the category by far, we have the onus of driving the category growth. We are the ones really developing the category by bringing in innovations in the confectionery category. With all this in context, we never reduced the spending on the A&M side. In fact, our ad spends were a little higher versus 2020. In Q1 2022 also, the ad spends will be more or less at par with last year. We have started breaking new campaigns for our various brands. 

From the industry point of view, due to the inflation pressure, the brands keep on oscillating and modulating the A&M spends. Now with the IPL and cricket season, the industry is going to boom. Everybody is looking forward to the summer season. We are seeing so many new campaigns already out from the soft-drink industry. There will be a normalisation of spends in this summer.

What is the current market share of Perfetti brands in India and how do you intend to increase it in the near term?

The pricing of products in the confectionery industry starts from 50 paisa and above. We don't play in that category of 50 paisa. We operate in the Re 1 and above segments, where our market share is close to one-third. We have more than 70% market share in gums, 60%+ in jellies, 30%+ in lollipop, 35-40% in mint. In candies, which includes unorganised, organised, local players and some global players, we have a market share of close to 8%. We have a higher market share in most of the market except candies, where a lot of players sell in the 50 paisa range, which we have consciously vacated. At rupees five price point, we have over 35% market share. At Rs 10 price point in confectionery, our market share touches 45-50%. 

We will be innovating and renovating to increase our share in the market. One of the reasons to launch our campaign was to renovate the brand. So, the consumers keep coming back and the brand remains fresh in the mind of the consumers. We will continue to study the market and its gaps. We will continue to bring our global brands to India. We will also continue upgrading the consumers to purchase our products at Rs 5-10 price points. Driving in-home consumption through Rs 10 and above packs is also one of our agendas. 

Several major brands backed with huge marketing budgets have started experimenting with the world of Metaverse and NFTs. How do you look at this space? What is the scope of confectionery brands with low price points in the Metaverse?

We are very bullish on experimenting in the digital space. We have tried and experimented in the gaming world. We will be experimenting with Metaverse in the future. We are working with our partners to find a relevant hook where our brands can play a role for our consumers. It shouldn’t be done as a gimmick or for the sake of riding the bandwagon. We’ll be using these new-age digital solutions if we get to create consumer-compelling stories. 

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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