Hide & Seek finds the love that’s been hiding

Mayank Shah, senior category head, Parle Products, speaks about the insight behind the campaign, why marketers should keep clichés at bay and more...

Jan 19, 2022 04:58:00 AM | Video | Eularie Saldanha

Hide & Seek has launched a campaign titled ‘Start your story with Hide & Seek’ which celebrates ahead of Valentine’s Day. Conceptualised by Brand League Partners, the campaign aims to tell stories of first connections in young adults, through three different films. 
All three films feature potential couples in the context of love at first sight, with Hide & Seek being the main catalyst for igniting their connection. Each of the films has no dialogue and is supported by the same romantic track, alongside subtle gestures by the protagonists. 
The TVCs have been rolled out in seven languages including Hindi, English, Marathi, and Tamil and will be supported by a digital campaign. 
We caught up with Mayank Shah, senior category head, Parle Products, to learn more about the campaign, what celebratory events mean for brands and how the biscuit category is perceived. 
Edited excerpts:  
What was the insight behind the campaign?
We’ve always positioned ourselves as an enabler of getting two people together and wanted to reinforce this positioning. There are situations where people are a little hesitant on how the other person would perceive them if they make the first move. That's where the brand comes in and it helps them make the first move, without the fear of rejection. This is the area we wanted to help in. 
Do topical (festivals or occasions) campaigns actually result in sales for the brand? 
We have seen that whenever it comes to gifting occasions, there is a spike in sales of our product. With the range of offerings in Hide & Seek, we have a heart-shaped tin, which is very well received around these kind of occasions. 
How can brands try and reduce the cliché element in their Valentine’s Day campaigns?
The first brief we gave to our agency was to not make it cliché. What we’re speaking about is not intense love, but the innocent love, which is an attraction or a liking that you might have taken to somebody. When you do cliché things, you cannot differentiate your product because everyone would have the same communication as yours. If you try and keep it clean, people will appreciate it and you will also cut through the clutter to stand out. A brand should try and do something which is really novel, rather than being very obvious about the fact that it’s Valentine's Day. That's what we have attempted through this communication and are very sure that people would also like the fresh spin to the entire concept. 
What is your current market share?
Hide and Seek holds about 40% of market-share within the chocolate chip cookies category. If we talk about substitutability, Hide & Seek is highly substitutable for chocolate. 
The brand, even generally could have chosen any theme. Why then does it usually plan its communication around romance?
Chocolate, as a product too, is either about indulgence, or sharing with somebody they love the most. That's the territory in which most chocolate offerings are. It is something that you reward yourself for doing good. That's also the space in which this product category is. The target audience that we’re looking at are teenagers and young adults. When you talk about offering a chocolaty thing to somebody, it's more than just sharing and is a way of showing them how special they are and how you wouldn’t share it with anybody otherwise. 
What are your expectations from this campaign?
Hide & Seek is our flagship brand within our platinum range of products. It's also one of the most loud brands and through our research, one that stood out time and again. This makes it all the more challenging for us to ensure that we retain that kind of mindshare. We hope that people would like our campaign and that its differentiating factor from others will help us get an edge in terms of better recall. 
At a time when people are looking at healthy snacking versus biscuits, how is Hide & Seek looking to stay relevant? 
In India, most biscuits are considered to be a healthier option, in comparison to a lot of fried items. There is an exception with regard to cream biscuits because of their sugar content, however, if it's not a cream biscuit, but a cookie or another cream with lower fat content and lesser sugar, it is perceived as a healthier option. As mentioned before, I see Hide & Seek being treated at par with chocolate. We are more about indulgence than mindless snacking.
What is the one peculiar thing you'd like the product to be known for? 
We're talking about youngsters who would like to go out and talk to somebody, especially ones they're fond of. We aim to make this entire situation very informal, and want Hide & Seek to be known as a friend who helps you do that. If we get that right, it would really help our brand.