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How can a brand stand out in a category that is perceived as being boring? By stop being boring. Here's one brand that's trying to play to that formula in a traditionally unexciting category and it has picked out a page from the health drink and fairness products category playbook to pull that off. Nature Fresh atta, which operates in the Rs 7,500-crore (estimates for 2015-16) wheat flour market in India, has left the beaten track in category advertising with a new campaign that positions the humble atta as the hero of the piece. The typical communication in the segment focuses on quality, purity, trust and convenience with the much-harried homemaker as the focal point of the narrative. To stand out, Cargill has taken the communication beyond functional benefits of the product with a view to strike an emotional chord with the customer. Conceptualised by FCB Ulka, the "Khali pet jung nahi jeeti jaati " reflects the mood prevalent in a lot of personal care and health drink communication. "It is a first-of-its-kind approach in the branded atta category. The idea stemmed from the challenge that the consumer has become familiar with the category. The typical consumer has been presented as a stereotypical homemaker engaged in the role of a care provider. So the creative team at FCB Ulka decided to focus on the evolving urban homemaker and her aspirations, her priorities, her outlook on what builds the foundation of a solid family in today's day and age," says Sridhar Iyer, senior vice-president, FCB Ulka. "Branded atta is a very inactive and low margin category. It is not only perceived as expensive but consumers are also worried about wheat quality," says Neelima Burra, chief marketing officer, Cargill India. The wheat flour market in India is still dominated by local chakkis. Packaged wheat flour is consumed mostly in urban households. An Ikon Marketing Consultants report says urban India represents more than 90 per cent of the total market.
Besides ITC's Aashirvaad and Shakti Bhog, there are some 500 regional brands operating in the segment. "The creative challenge was to open a dialogue with the homemaker who, till now, has been a passive recipient of communication from marketers," adds Sridhar. To this end, the TVC shows an ambitious young woman having lunch with her in-laws and she is urged to start a family. After some hesitation she declares that her career was more important to her at that point. The husband helps her handle the situation by passing on a roti to her and telling her "Khali pet jung nahi jeeti jaati." Without being aggressive she tells her family, "Abhi main career planning karna chahti hun, family planning nahin." The idea behind the campaign was to build a emotional connect with the new age woman. "It has been a big struggle to bring roti in the conversation. Our earlier campaign saying, "Bhukh badha de", was launched in 2012. It focused purely on the functional benefits of Nature Fresh atta such as the high dietary fibre and 100 per cent whole wheat. With the category maturing, we thought it is the right time to build an emotional connect with the consumer as the brand architecture is now complete," says Burra. Cargill launched Nature Fresh atta in 2005, but discontinued the brand because it was a slow moving category then. As the category started opening up, the company relaunched the brand in 2011. "For the past five years we have been more focused on brand building; the focus now is on increasing our share in the food category," says Burra "Khali pet jung nahi jeeti jaati" is a 360-degree campaign, encompassing print, digital, radio and television. While the print ads are focused on the functional benefits, the radio spots talk about day-to-day struggles and how roti acts as a source of sustainable energy. The TVC is telecast across general entertainment and news channels. According to industry estimates, the budget for the campaign is Rs 30-Rs 35 crore. The campaign will run for about five months. The packaged wheat flour market in India is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 19 per cent, according to the Ikon Marketing Consultant report. As per the Ikon report, ITC's Aashirvaad is the leader in the branded wheat flour market in India with more than 35 per cent share. Shakti Bhog has about 12 per cent market share, and the other national players, such as Pillsbury, Nature Fresh and Annapurna, have single-digit shares.