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Fundamentals Of Marketing

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The Indian Snacking Industry Global market intelligence firm, Netscribes launched its latest report on the "Snacks Market in India" that elaborates the competitive market scenario of the Indian snacks market and its growth prospects. The report states that the Indian snacks market is witnessing rising demand due to a variety of factors that are in turn is making the market lucrative for manufacturers. The Indian food and beverage sector is huge and highly competitive in nature. The industry comprises of several sub-sectors such as fruits & vegetables, meat & poultry, dairy, marine products, grains and consumer foods. Snack is one of the major segments of the packaged food division, which comes under the broad category of consumer foods. Though the snacks market in India is dominated by the unorganized sector, the organized sector has shown remarkable growth in terms of market share in the last few years. The report provides a snapshot of the Indian snack industry which has witnessed several changes since 1995. In the initial years, the market was dominated by two players - traditional snacks player Haldiram and 'Uncle Chips' manufacturer Amrit Agro. Eventually however, with the entry of global beverage and snacks player PepsiCo, the market dynamics changed completely. Today, the market is dominated by PepsiCo with of its massive product portfolio. Other major players include Parle Agro, ITC, Parle Products, Balaji Wafers and Parle Wafers among others. A number of regional players have also entered the market in the last few years and are giving tough competition to the big players. The snacks market is classified into two broad segments - Western and traditional snack segments, wherein western snacks enjoy more popularity in comparison to the traditional snacks. Moreover, the western snack segment is dominated by large number of MNCs and organized snack manufacturers. Factors drivig the growth of the snacks market in India include higher disposable income leading to greater spending power by consumers, rapid urbanization leading to busy lifestyle and subsequent inclination of consumers toward packaged food products and aggressive marketing campaigns by all the players to break the product clutter and attract consumers towards their brand. In addition to these, other factors include

growing working women population, fast expanding retail network and the convenience factor associated with snack consumption. Though there is no specific regulation pertaining to snacks, quality standards laid by FSSAI has to be followed by the industry players. Various government policies that have been formulated for the food processing sector such as FDI, tax benefits and export promotions are applicable for the snack category as well. To sum up, the Indian snacks industry is a stable market at present and has strong growth potential in the future years. The Indian consumers taste and preferences have undergone a radical change in the past two decades when it comes to snacking habits. Snacks which essentially are a hunger quencher between meals were once limited to traditional food items like pakoda, poha, samosa, upma, sheera etc. However, Lays (then Ruffles), Uncle Chips, Haldirams and several unorganized players changed the snacking scenario in India. There was something very interesting that was happening in the industry, something that led to the industry growing to the tune of Rs. 6500 Crores by 2012.

The Indian consumer felt a growing need of having something that was tasty yet hassle free as snacks between the meals. Traditional snacks lost out as they were cumbersome to make and chips, namkeens, biscuits etc now became the preferred choice of snack. Changing lifestyles, fast paced life, incessant advertisements, stronger distribution channels and shrinking SKU sizes were the key reasons for these changing snacking habits. The entry of several major FMCG players such as Pepsico, ITC, Parle Agro and Britannia made sure that there wasnt a single moment of peace

in the newly begun Snack Wars. And just then, a cute fat animal entered the battlefield, apparently to fight the evil of hunger.

About Parle Agro Parle Agro is a trusted household name in the beverages industry and has been refreshing India since two decades with leading brands like Frooti, consistent winner of India's most trusted fruit beverage brand, Appy, Appy Fizz and packaged drinking water, Bailley. A pioneer in the Indian industry, Parle Agro is associated with many firsts. We were the first to introduce fruit drinks in tetra packaging, first to introduce apple nectar and the first to introduce fruit drinks in PET bottles. In 2007, Parle Agro forayed into foods with the launch of two confectionery brands, Mintrox mints and Buttercup candies. This was soon followed by two more brands - Buttercup Softease and Frewt clairs. Recent beverage products from Parle Agro include Saint Juice, LMN and Grappo Fizz. In 2009, Parle Agro forayed into snacks with the launch of Hippo, a move that will take the company closer towards its vision of becoming a leader in the foods and beverages industry.

The Curious Case of Hippo the Snack Ask about Hippo the snack and a majority would say they have heard of it but ask about who is the maker of Hippo and hardly anyone knows that its from the Parle Agro Stable. Ask about what is Hippo and one would get varied answers: Chips, just a snack, munchies, bread snack and so on. However, Hippo is neither potato chips nor a biscuit. Its a baked wheat munchy that is available in several unconventional flavours. Launched in 2009, Hippos value proposition is that its a Hunger Killer that is made up of Wheat and Free of MSG (monosodium glutamate) & GMO (genetically modified organism). Hippo differentiates itself from its competitors by the virtue of its assortment of international flavours and a very unconventional brand endorser A fat Hippo. The brands communication plays on the generic need platform i.e. Hunger and the mascot Hippo is this earnest, easygoing guy who understands that often, we don't take care of our health by neglecting to eat.

The Good!

Most of Hippos Brand Promotional activities have been a grey area. The most striking and notable aspect is of Packaging. Hippo packs have used bright and unconventional colors solely to stand out of the clutter in shops. If we closely observe its advertising campaigns, every campaign has aninterwoven social message which is strikingly different from other competitor campaigns which usually focus only on the taste.

The word HIPPO written is in huge font goes very well along the brand personality. The Hippo mascot also is very conspicuous and a lot of effort has been taken to promote the mascot as a friendly and affectionate character. . The creation of Hippo as a mascot (and one that stays behind the scenes, as his face isn't shown throughout the film) is, in a way, the brand's way of saying that the true heroes are its consumers, and that Hippo cares for them. The innocence and goodwill associated with Hippo associates a sense of happiness and positivity with the Brand Character.

The Bad!

While Hippo has caught many eyeballs through its absolutely innovative advertisements and brand promotions, there are several signaling and positioning errors that the company has committed while communicating the brand.

The Advertisements

It is not clear whether Hippo is being portrayed as a healthy baked snack or not through the advertisements. Hunger is the key highlight of Hippos advertisements but such a word alone cannot create a differentiation per se.

Hippo also suffers from an on/off kind of advertising strategy which will do more harm than good especially in an industry like snacks.

Although there is a strong social message in the advertisements it has no real connection with snacks and deviates from its actual value proposition.

A market such as snacks is heavily dependent on taste and how appealing the product is but Hippos promotions have seldom focused on these aspects.

The Mascot

Hippos Mascot, Hippo the animal, is not related to snacks in any way and is not visually appealing.

It may in fact give out a wrong message as Hippo is usually associated with terms such as: Fat, Ugly, lazy and unhealthy.

Flop on Facebook

Although Hippo creates wall posts related to latest events, a tactic very similar to Amul Butter, it hardly talks about the product itself. While Amuls Ads focus on somehow getting the butter into the advertisements, Hippos posts make no such attempt to create product awareness. The Fabulous!

Using Brand to overcome the Technical glitches in Marketing The Big Challenge Hippo, a new entrant in the $1.5 billion Indian snack market, was launched in 400,000 stores across India. The sales and distribution network of Hippo was in a nascent stage. It was essential to ensure consistent availability to encourage trail and first time purchase. Stocks were drying up in stores by the hour and they found it challenging to track and re-stock the empty stores quickly. The challenge was to track empty stores quickly and plug the lag in supply and help Hippo cope with this super demand.

The Fabulous Solution Hippo blurred the line between sales, distribution, and consumer by using social media as an information channel to fill the gaps in its distribution network. Hippo got his followers on Twitter to send him a tweet @HelloMeHippo whenever they were unable to find Hippo packs at a store. Thus the customers not only became a feedback channel but also as an inventory tracking interface. A core cell was set up to collect and disburse this information to the respective sales teams which restocked the store within hours.

Results Tweets poured in from 45 cities across India. At zero cost, Hippo had 400 additional people helping with Sales & Distribution over Twitter equivalent to almost 50% of the strength of its Sales & Distribution network itself. Sales rose by 76% in the first few months of its launch. The campaign even helped Hippo identify, gauge demand, and prioritize its high potential new markets. Exploiting the delicious connection between Cricket and Snacking

The Big Challenge Hippo, upon its launch faced two main challenges. Firstly, it had to stand out of the clutter of an already crowded snack market and secondly, to create a strong brand preference and recall for Hippo Toasties in the mind of an average Indian Consumer. The key point to address this challenge was to associate Hippo with what the average Indian connects the most to. Cricket, was the obvious answer.

The Fabulous Solution

Hippo launched a campaign called the Indian Food league that catered to the Indian Fans love for snacking while he enjoyed his T20 matches. The IFL comprised of nine regional teams symbolised by the regions most popular dishes, with Chennai being represented by Idli Sambhar, Mumbai by Pav Bhaji and Delhi by Papdi Chaat. Other dishes include Kanda Poha, Aloo Paratha, Daal Baati, Masala Dosa, Roshogolla and Dum Biryani representing the regions Pune, Punjab, Rajasthan, Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad, respectively. So essentially, a Mumbai Vs Bangalore match f or Hippo became a match between Pav Bhaji and Masala Dosa. Every Todays Special mirrored the match schedule.

Results IFL received overwhelming response with Hippos sales going up during the IPL season. This also proved to be a classic example of using crowd-sourcing in brand building and developing customer engagement.

Using Augmented Reality to enthrall audience The Challenge With the launch of Meri Maa campaign, Hippo aimed at entering the regular Indian Household by selling its proposition of providing food like a mother. It was in line with its positioning of Killing Hunger. Hippo faced a challenge of establishing a strong brand connect with a maternal figure and realized the potential of technology in simulating a life-like scenario to instill this proposition onto the customer.

The Fabulous Solution

Hippo Momline was a campaign that used augmented reality while trying to bring the rich essence of a mothers cooking in a ready-to-eat snack. Hippo website identified a packet of Hippo Round Round using an augmented reality set-up and a web cam. Once the packet was identified, a customized visual would pop-up depending on the packet a person had bought. The visual, that was seen once the packet faced the web cam, was that of a mother who told the visitor about Hippos tasty snack and how it followed her recipe. The option of calling ones mother was also available for a visitor. All he needed to do was feed in his mobile number along with his mothers mobile number and the website would connect the two parties. Result

This campaign was a runaway success and was nominated for many awards. This campaign resulted in 2,50,000 calls made across 35 cities and towns just during the

festive season. Hippo mom line caused a spike of 16% sales in Hippo Round Round in Indian cities while towns saw a 37% spike which is phenomenal considering the size of the Indian snack market. Insights There seems to be a clear disconnect between the company lens and the consumer lens. Company Lens Consumer Lens

Conscious deviation from Category norms Hippo being fat/unhealthy weakens its to create differentiation and gain attention brand proposition as mascot Attempt to create a self made category Unable to differentiate its munchies from called Munchies other snacks like chips/wafers due to lack of signaling Trying not to cater to niche health snacks Confused Positioning between Baked and but to delicious product that pampers the Healthy OR Tasty and indulgent taste buds Campaigns like Pyar batt te challo and Lack of association between snacks and Flavors without borders in tune with war/ conflict situations. Difficult to main theme Hunger killer consumer to relate war/brotherhood with snacking The company has made mistakes but at the same time carried out some good branding initiatives. The company needs to reevaluate its Brand Positioning and Signaling in the snacks market and reduce the consumer dissonance it is causing due to contradictory signaling. The aspect of association of social themes with snacking also needs to be reconsidered and also reframed to impress upon people the reasons to buy Hippo which is a product in the impulsive buying category and not an emotional or value based one. The company is using Digital media effectively although here also it presents symptoms of weak brand associations. Once the signaling and brand positioning are re-evaluated, Hippo does seem to have a bright future ahead!

Brand Analysis Count

Another brand has entered into the highly competitive snack- food market. The brand Hippo was nationally launched recently by Parle Agro. The Indian branded snackfood market is worth Rs 6500 crore has now become a battle ground of titans.

Indian snack-food market growing at 25% p.a is witnessing marketing fight worth watching. The players are trying every tricks of the trade. This intense marketing competition has expanded the market and also created new segments. One such new segment is the healthy snack segment.

Marketers were aware of the gradual trend among consumers towards healthy foods. Although this trend is limited to certain sections of society, marketers are calculating that healthy snack-foods will become a mainstay category in the snack-food market. Infact Ms Indra Nooyi of Pepsico had openly stated her vision of Pepsico leading the healthy food movement.

The healthy snack segment in the Indian Snack market has got a big boost in recent times with the launch of Aliva brand by Pepsico and Monaco Smart Chips by Parle. Earlier, Lays tried its hand by launching a low-calorie version to counter Bingo's claim of 'baked not fried 'proposition. The high profile campaign of Monaco Smart Chips featuring Aamir Khan put the spotlight on the healthy angle of snacks.

Hippo calls itself " Delicious Baked Munchies ". This baked wheat based munchy is neither a potato chips nor a biscuit, but something in between ( source Business India). The munchies are available in Pizza flavor,Chinese Manchurian, Hot N Sweet, Thai

Chilly , Yoghurt Mint Chutney and Indian Chatpatta. brand is priced at Rs 10 per pack.


Hippo is currently running its launch campaign across channels. Watch the ad here : Hippo

Hippo has tried to position itself differently from the rest of the brands. While the other snack brands have positioned itself on product properties, Hippo brand tried to take the generic need platform.

For example : Lays is positioned as a convenient snack, Bingo on the different tastes, Aliva also on health + taste Monaco Smart Chips on health ( baked ).

Hippo is being positioned as a hunger- killer. The brand wants to be a guilt-free snack for hunger moments. The brand is banking on two properties - made from wheat and free of MSG & GMO to prove its healthy snack claim.

The brand also chose a different way to communicating its positioning to the consumer . The brand is trying to tell a story. The story is based on the premise that ' Hunger is the root cause of all evil. So the brand motto is ' fight hunger, fight evil'. The brand has adopted the mascot Hippo who is in the forefront of eliminating hunger and thus eliminating evil. Hippo has the tagline " Hippo Fights Hunger ".

Although the brand has tried to tell a story and successfully created an initial hype, I have serious reservations about the differentiation of the brand. The brand has taken the " Hunger" platform, but how is it different from other snack-foods that offer same qualities ? How is Hippo different from a Bingo or Monaco Smart Chips ? .

I feel a lack of uniqueness in the brand. The problem of lack of differentiation will come into forefront when the initial consumer interest dies down. Without a clear USP, the brand needs to constantly stay on top of the Share of Noise to drive the sales. If you observe the campaigns of Parle Agro brands, the company adopts a " On/Off " kind of advertising strategy. Sometimes there are lot of ads, and sometimes, there is no sign of any brand communication. In a category like Snacks such intermittent burst of ads may not work. One needs to have a steady continuous stream of campaigns ( ATL and BTL) to drive the sales.

From the first campaign, I don't see any attempt from the brand to create a differentiation. What the brand had tried to do was to establish brand familiarity which it had done successfully. But the brand needs to find a meaningful differentiation if it wants to survive for the long term. The brand can develop its positioning further using its core brand promise of " Guilt-free snack for hunger moments ".

One of the most striking aspect about this brand is the packaging. The company has put in lot of work behind making the packaging stand out in stores. Since the purchase of snacks are highly spontaneous, the packaging offers immense strategic importance. Hippo has really differentiated itself from the rest of the crowd in the packaging front.

Another aspect of the brand is its emphasis on ' After-Marketing". After- Marketing is what the brand does after it has sold itself to the consumer. Like Appy Fizz, Hippo has cleverly used the packaging to engage the consumers after the purchase. The pack contains interesting information and one-liners which takes the brand-consumer conversations beyond advertising .

As a new product launch, Hippo has done all the right marketing moves. The brand has a catchy name , good product qualities, excellent packaging, nice pricing, distribution reach etc. It has also created right kind of noise in the media during the launch. The real test is after the initial euphoria. The brand is fighting players with deep pockets. It will be interesting to watch how Hippo takes on the giants. Market dynamics: In India the branded snack category is approximately of 6500 crore and is growing at the rate of 20-25 % per year. Competitors in this market are Pepsi Cos Frito Lays (with Lays, Kurkure and Uncle Chips), ITCs Bingo and Parle Products Musst (Bites, Stix and Chips) and Sixer.

Hippo has been launched under five flavors: Pizza, Chinese Manchurian, Hot-n-Sweet Tomato, Thai Chilli and Yoghurt Mint Chutney. Each variant will be priced between Rs. 5 and Rs. 10, initially.


Creative Land Asia every time comes with the surprises by bringing new clutter breaking ideas. Some of them have potential sustain over very long period. Be it Saint Juices Juice the way god meant it to be (100% juice, nothing else), Frootis why grow up, LMN or Appy, all most all ideas have potential to establish the brand.

Hippos commercial trying to convey that the root of all the evil is hunger and Hippo has the answer for it. Hippo is a sweet cook and he cares for all. He is disappointed

with few people in the world because they dont understand what the biggest enemy of humanity is. Another aspect of this TVC is of sharing. After watching the commercial consumer is influenced to do the same in real life (but it is not true in the case of every ad). E.g.: When customer sees Cokes ad (Open Happiness) or Dairy Milks ad (Kuchh Mithas Ho Jaaye), customer recognizes the emotion attached to the product. In most of the cases, when customer feels or want to feel the similar emotions in real life situation, he/she will buy the product. TVC of Hippo in same way influences the viewers to share the love by giving others Hippo Munchies. Since love and share situations occur in life very frequently, so consumer can identify themselves in such situations. Music, incidents and lyrics are so nice that people can enjoy this TVC. Ad conveys the message in such a simple way that viewers can easily understand it. When it comes to individual website of the Parle Agro's products, either they are incomplete or not the detailed one. The ideas behind the brands have the potential create wholesome experience for customers even through social media, because most of the ideas are fresh and young, which appeals the youth. Youth spends their good amount of time on social media, so this opportunity should be leveraged.

Advertising Policy

Parle Agro, a trusted household name in the beverage industry and an upcoming player in the foods segment, released the first TVC for its new snack brand HIPPO. Having completed a nationwide rollout since its launch in June last year, the brand has come out with its first television commercial. With social consciousness high on the company agenda, HIPPOs first ad is a light hearted and satirical take on an issue with social relevance. The TVC is based on the belief that hunger is the root cause of evil - therefore kill hunger, kill evil. The campaign highlights the evils of society being resolved by offering HIPPO in situations of conflict, restoring cheer, goodness and happiness amongst people. The entire film is seen through the eyes of Hippo, the brand mascot who is on a mission to make the world a happier place by fighting hunger. Throughout the film, Hippo relentlessly fights tribulations such as terrorism, child labour, violence and adulteration by offering HIPPO munchies to people. The line in the TVC, Hippo ka manna hain ki duniya mein harr buraayi ki jadd hain bhook. Toh please, bhooke mutt raho (Hippo believes that the root of all evil in the world is hunger. So please, dont be hungry), explains the HIPPO philosophy. The classic Kishore Kumar number, Pyaar baante chalo which plays in the background further strengthens the brands message of spreading love through snacking. The insight that an empty stomach is the devils workshop stands true when one observes how an irritable or grumpy mood can be changed by killing hunger. Thus food is a great way of calming one down. The HIPPO ad campaign shows everyone resolving their problems and celebrating the 'fight' over hunger with packs of HIPPO. This approach not only breaks category norms but generates interest as well. Speaking on the ad campaign, Nadia Chauhan, Joint Managing Director & CMO, Parle Agro, said, With the new TVC for Hippo, we have attempted to move away from category norms. Hippo doesn't want to be a me-too brand in a category cluttered with frivolousness in its communication. In he TVC, we have tried to integrate a

social message into the brand in order to add soul and purpose to HIPPO. Hippo has taken snacking responsibly by positioning itself as a solution for hunger. The commercial, shot in Mumbai, has been released in seven languages. It is conceptualized by Creativeland Asia and directed by Equinox Films. The 100-second ad has 50 and 20 second edited versions airing on TV as well. A website,, has also been created to generate buzz around the brand and take the proposition forward. It will involve contests and other engagement properties. Some corporate social responsibility initiatives are also being planned, apart from outdoor and radio advertising.


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Seasonal Combo packs Tie up sales with Frooti Title sponsors for programs targeting youth



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So, make Hippo available not only in general stores but also in all college canteens and bus stands, railway stations

Advertising Increase budget allocation towards TV advertisement to reach all segments Promote Healthiness of the munchies Focus on taste and variety of flavours Theme for advertisement varying with flavour