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Going for the jugular

Parle Group is betting on Mexitos to expand and subsequently lead the hugely underpenetrated nacho chips category


Sangeeta Tanwar 

Going for the jugular

What's common between Parle G, Colgate and Cherry Blossom? These much loved and trusted brands are perceived to be closely aligned with certain categories - biscuit, toothpaste and shoe polish respectively. What if one of them wanted to break out of the pigeonhole and usurp another category? They could but the job won't be easy. This is exactly the task Parle has taken upon itself--it now wants to own the nacho chips category - which is not a very old category, but is growing fast - with its new brand

The campaign pitches as "the real" and "only" nacho chips brand. The television commercial opens with a college professor asking for some chips when he spots a packet of in a student's bag. Just as he says "zara nacho", the girl breaks into a dance thinking that the professor is asking her to shake a leg. The incident goes viral. As expected the professor is reprimanded by the college as well as chastised by his wife and son for his unbecoming behaviour. As professors' love for Mexitos lands him in jail. A voiceover says, "Nacho nahi, bolo Mexitos."

"The idea behind the ad was to make Mexitos synonymous with the category. Hence the punch line 'nacho nahi, bolo Mexitos'," says B.K. Rao, deputy marketing manager, Parle Group. Parle's brief to the creative agency, Thoughtshop Advertising, was simple: The ad should not only help Mexitos stand out in the cluttered snacks market, but also among the handful of nacho brands jostling for space.

"Brand Mexitos called for a strategy-driven creative. It had to be responsible to become 'the very first campaign for nacho category' in India," explains Vipin Dhyani, founder and chief creative director, Thoughtshop

So, the creative agency simply amplified the positioning - simply asking consumers to remember the brand name and not the category in general.

As Mexitos aims for the pole position in the nacho chips category, it needs to stave off competition from as many as seven to eight players. It is up against brands such as Cornitos, Doritos, Tastilo and Shack Tex Mex Nacho. As per Nielsen estimates, the nacho chips category is at a nascent stage and very small. Currently, the market is worth Rs 15 crore, and nearly 300 tonnes per annum in volume.

Dhyani says that Mexitos would have a sort a first mover's advantage in the market as no other brand has a television commercial yet... not even business to business communication. "So we believe we would stand out and be counted. In a brand conscious world, people don't take non-advertised brands seriously. For consumers, it's like it's there on the shelf but not talking to them."

A market study carried by Parle revealed key insights into Indians exposure to nacho chips. The study shows that Indians are exposed to nacho chips in two ways. The first segment of consumers is the well travelled Indian who has experienced nacho chips in another country and the second segment is the multiplex going crowd. Most of the multiplex chains in Tier I and Tier II cities sell food trays with nacho chips and accompanying dips priced at Rs 70 to 90 per tray. This shows that nacho chips are a premium product.

Based on these insights, Parle is pursuing a two-fold strategy to grow Mexitos. In a category which is hugely under penetrated it wants to take the lead in introducing and educating consumers about nacho chips. "Since, it's a relatively new and evolving product category, we are undertaking sampling exercises at major retail outlets. We want to introduce as many people as possible to the category and tell them that even though triangular in shape, nachos are not to be confused with Mad Angles (from Bingo, an ITC brand)," says Rao.

The company hopes to leverage its existing distribution footprint to push the brand. But its price could be a deterrent - Mexitos is available in a 30 gm pack for Rs 20 and a 70 gm pack priced at Rs 50. So it's premium when compared with the more common Rs 5- or Rs 10-chips packs. Small retailers are comfortable stocking smaller and low-priced packs. So, Rao and his team have to work hard to break through the trade barriers.

Rao says, "Jo dikhta hai, woh biktaa hai" and therefore Parle is working to leverage its decade old relationship with small retailers and encourage them to display the larhi (chain of 12) packs of Mexitos prominently at the shop front.

Parle is also betting big on the digital media to promote Mexitos. Thoughtshop has created gags as well as an interactive platform on the lines of the TV snippet programme 'Just for laughs', asking people to share their fun experience via a microsite and the brand's Facebook page.

Brand: Mexitos
Budget: Rs 20 crore
Agency: Thoughthshop Advertising

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First Published: Mon, May 16 2016. 00:08 IST