Biscuit major Parle Products has launched a new range of cream biscuits that are embossed with cartoon characters Tom & Jerry under the brand Milk Shakti. The special edition biscuits are a result of an association between Parle Products and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, facilitated by licensing enterprise Dream Theatre. Campaign India caught up with Mayank Shah, assistant marketing manager, Parle Products, to find out more about the new product and its marketing.
What was the thinking behind the launch?
Tom & Jerry are timeless cartoon characters having a great appeal. Secondly, cream as a category normally targets kids. Given that we felt that if we had to create some excitement around the brand we decided on using these animated characters. There are two ways of using these characters: product licensing and promo licensing. Promo licensing is far simple where you have some promotion or give some item of the character free with your product. Product licensing is about integrating the characters within your products. So you could have products in those shapes or imprints of the characters on your products. So that’s what we have done with Milk Shakti and Tom &Jerry. It is first of its kind in the category as nobody has done this earlier.
The packaging reads ‘Special edition’. Why?
It would have to be called a special edition as technically also the ownership of these characters lies with Warner Bros. And we have taken this from them for a period of two years. So as long as there is a commercial arrangement, we can sell it with Tom & Jerry. The moment we discontinue it we cannot sell it with Tom & Jerry embossing.
What TG and markets are you looking at for the new offering?
We are targeting kids in the age group of 4 to 14 years pan India. Tom & Jerry are very well known and loved across the country. There would be very few kids who do not know of these characters. Both Tom & Jerry have a timeless appeal and have been existing even when we were kids. The product has had a soft launch in early November with a few markets. But now it is available across the country and now we are looking at releasing its TVC.
The brand ambassadors for Milk Shakti were MS Dhoni and Vishwantathan Anand. How come the move to animated characters?
Earlier we had Vishwanathan Anand as the brand ambassador and then we brought MS Dhoni on board. These two were the brand ambassadors for Milk Shakti’s milk biscuits, while now we have launched the variant of cream biscuits under the same brand of Milk Shakti with milk cream in it. We could have launched the cream biscuit under the brand Creams but we have not done that and launched it under the Milk Shakti brand.
Cream biscuits are typically targeted at kids and milk biscuits are too, but they are a bit different. The kind of functional needs a milk biscuit fulfils vis a vis a cream biscuit is different. Milk biscuits are typically consumed in a functional manner whereas cream biscuits are an indulgent option. The primary reason for consumption of a cream biscuit is for taste and that becomes a primary driver unlike milk biscuits where nutrition is the primary driver. This is why extending those brand ambassadors for these cream biscuits would not be right. While Dhoni or Anand would be a fit for Milk Shakti milk biscuits, for a cream biscuit they would not be apt. For a cream biscuit Tom & Jerry would be more apt.
Would you be able to share the marketing spends for the brand launch campaign? How will the new offering be promoted?
We would be looking at spending at least 10 to 15 per cent of the brand (Milk Shakti) revenues for the new product promotions. In the first phase, we are talking of an integrated promotion plan so we are looking at TV, press, point of sales, and on ground activities. The TVC created by Everest Brand Solutions will go on air in mid-December. For the digital medium, we intend to use gaming sites and other portals to target kids. In the second phase, we are looking at activation that would be conducted in the end of January and beginning February. It would be 10-city activation strategy where we plan to go to schools, malls and other such places with the Tom & Jerry characters.
What targets have you set for the new product?
We are looking at achieving a 10 per cent market share of the Rs 1500 crore premium cream category (all cream biscuits available at Rs 10 and above) in the biscuit market. We plan to achieve this in a span of two years.
How is Parle faring in the biscuit category?
Parle has been the market leader in the biscuits category and we are undertaking many initiatives to offer different options to consumers of our brand. So of late we have been launching new brands such as the Gold Star. Milk Shakti (Milky sandwich) is one more addition to our new brands for discerning consumers.
Our market share is 32 per cent of Rs 22,000 crore biscuit industry.