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Krackjack takes on 50-50

Sapna Agarwal  |  Mumbai 

The oldest brand in the non-salt biscuits segment is fighting back to regain market share

Ek hi bite me sweet bhi, salty bhi, says the latest television commercial of Parle Products’ It’s a direct potshot at market leader Britannia 50-50’s kabhi sweet, kabhi salty proposition.

The reason for the aggression is simple: Krackjack, which is the oldest brand in the Rs 900 crore non-salt biscuits market, has lost out to the relative newcomer by a big margin. According to market research firm data, 50-50, launched in 1993, had 33 per cent value share in the non-salt biscuits segment in March 2009, while (in the market since 1972) was far behind at 21 per cent. The other players in the segment include ITC’s sweet ‘n salt and smaller regional players like Priyagold, Anmol and Cremica.

The new campaign for comes after a gap of two years. Pravin Kulkarni, general manager of Krackjack, says the category growth has been stagnating at 3 to 4 per cent and as market leader, Parle decided to take the initiative to grow it.

The brand reintroduces Krack & Jack played by two comedians, Swapnil Shinde and Gaurav Gera. The characters were earlier played by Boman Irani and Vijay Patkar before the campaign was dropped.

The idea this time is to use the ‘sweet and ‘salty’ brand proposition as a metaphor in the ads. This duality is the essence of the brand, says Bhavin Panchamia, product manager - Krackjack.

“We have tried to personify duality in terms of attitudes, lifestyle and behaviour by adding fun to it. We have created this property of ‘Pole Khol’ basically to interact with the consumer in a better way and engage them with the brand,” he says.

In addition to the television commercials, the company has also changed its logo and product packaging, with a red and silver colour packet to highlight the contrasting quality of sweet and salty taste brought into one biscuit. The new commercials have been conceptualised and created by the agency Thoughtshop.

Vipin Dhyani, Founder and Creative Director, Thoughtshop India, says the idea is to look contemporary. “From the basic communication of sweet and salty taste, we have moved a step ahead and communicated the core idea of duality by personifying it,” Dhyanai says.

Krackjack has come up with three TV commercials titled ‘Politician’, ‘Saas Bahu’ and ‘Romeo’. While the ‘Politician’ and ‘Saas Bahu’ TVCs are already on air, the ‘Romeo’ TVC will be released soon. “Krackjack is a cracker format and consumed as a light snack. Hence, fun needs to be an integral part of the communication,” Panchamia says.

Britannia 50-50, Krackjack’s target competitor, has had a spectacular run after it launched its 50-50 campaign last year. The brand saw its growth rate decline two years ago, but the campaign as well as a new distribution strategy helped it to register a double-digit growth rate last year. “We invested in our brand last year and garnered a 14 per cent growth,” says Shalini Degan, category director, delight and lifestyle, Britannia. Degan says the growth mostly came from the semi-urban and rural pockets where regional and smaller players have a stronger hold.

To penetrate these new markets, Britannia launched its Rs 5 packs and has since seen its sales increase 10-fold. “The Rs 5 SKU of 50-50 now accounts for 10 per cent of the total business,” says Degan who expects to maintain the 14 per cent growth rate for 50-50 in this financial year too.

Krackjack, which has over 60 per cent of its sales coming from the urban areas and 40 per cent from rural markets, is available at price points of Rs 7, Rs 10 and Rs 20. The new communication from the brand is the result of a market survey conducted by the brand over the last six months. “Our consumers still remember the Krack and Jack characters,” Panchamia says.

The property also gives the company a chance to extend the communication to other mediums like print and digital and bring in new protagonists,” says Dhayani.

However, some believe these moves may be a tad late, as competition has already made a lot of headway. According to brand expert Harish Bijoor, “in the period that Parle Products went inactive, players like Britannia, ITC went aggressive in advertising and garnering market share. Moreover, the entire snack food category is getting reinvented now as players like PepsiCo with

Aliva and Kurkure are looking at the snack segment. They are eating into the non- salt biscuits segment big time. Brands like Krackjack have lost out clearly,” observes Bijoor.

First Published: Thu, October 08 2009. 00:44 IST