Big B to compete with Munni at paan shops

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In a bid to push the consumption and brand recall of its cool oil ‘Navratna Tail’ among rural consumers, Emami has launched a wall painting campaign in the remote areas of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

FMCG and personal and healthcare player, Emami assigned Adwallz, India’s only organised premium wall painting service provider, to paint images of Navratna and its endorser Amitabh Bachchan at strategic consumer touch points – such as the small makeshift shops that sell beedi and paan, also called ‘ghumti’ painting. This was done in order to familiarise rural consumers with the brand and raise awareness about the availability of the brand in convenient sachets, at an affordable price of Re 1.

Krishna Mohan, CEO - Sales, Emami

Krishna Mohan, CEO - Sales, Emami

However, Krishna Mohan, CEO – Sales, Emami, says that it is not the first time that the company has taken this initiative. It has been doing that since a very long time for the rural market. “We realised that in areas where the reach of traditional media was abysmally low, the only way to engage rural consumers was through these small local shops where the consumers come in direct touch with the brand,” says Mohan. Thus, distribution has been the most facet of this campaign for the company.

Adding local flavour
This is an intelligent move on part of the regional brand to expand its outreach in a market, where consumers are slowly moving towards branded products but are still wary of the high price tag that may come along with the product. Also, the low price point and easy to carry SKUs will pull more and more rural consumers towards the brand, thereby increasing its potential to garner more market share and compete grey market players. “Rural India contributes to almost 60-65 per cent of the sales of the Re 1 sachets of Navratna Oil and 50 per cent for the oil including other SKUs,” shares Mohan.

On the choice of ‘gumtis‘, Mohan says that there are two important aspects of this – firstly, these kiosks have moved beyond selling just paan and beedi to selling small SKUs of various impulse buying products like soaps, shampoos and oils, among other things. And secondly, these are the places where our TG, which is the male population spends most of its time chatting up and all. Additionally, these shops cover every nook and corner of the villages and owners of the ‘gumtis‘ like getting additional income with other products apart from cigarettes and paan.

So is there a challenge from local  and smaller players too? Mohan replies, “Yes, they do play by volumes but at the end of the day it is the reach and distribution that plays a vital role in rural marketing. We operate on such larger scales and smaller players may not have that kind of geographical reach. Because of the kind of time and money we invest in brand building, it is ultimately the value that matters.” Thus, he goes on to say that the kind of micro-centric media that Emami uses to connect with rural consumers is to give competition to these smaller players. “So, we have to think locally,” says Mohan.

Rural is the new urban
With rural consumers aspiring for more and more urban products, Emami’s move will bridge the gap. The brand has already become a popular household name for its products like Zandu balm (through Malaika Arora’s Munni song), BoroPlus and Navratna oil, because of their localised formulations, names and subsequent campaigns. In addition, good monsoons, growing incomes, government employment schemes have exposed the rural consumer towards branded products. “Rural consumers want to upgrade to branded products now and our efforts of brand building are in sync with their demands,” the spokesperson adds.

Moreover, the brand has been endorsing its products through popular celebrities from the Indian movie industry that have mass appeal. Thus, Amitabh Bachchan’s association with Navratna Oil lends it a distinct appeal and will help maximise brand recall among rural consumers.

According to the company, it has a reach of over 45 lakh outlets where Navratna oil is present across urban and rural areas. Its campaigns for Navratna in the rural areas has helped it add five lakh outlets in the last one year. Most of it coming from its heartlands – Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In terms of the rural sales of Navratna oil, the company witnessed 12 per cent growth in volumes over last year, in the cooling oil category. “The overall growth of the cooling oil segment in rural market has been 7.1 per cent, hence our growth is double of that figure,” adds Mohan.

Mihir Mody, Founder & CEO, Adwallz

Mihir Mody, Founder & CEO, Adwallz

However, the campaign, which lasted for over two months starting November last year, was not short of its share of risks. The most important being the right portrayal of the brand ambassador and avoiding any caricaturing or wrongful depiction of the Bollywood actor. Thus the campaign was executed with utmost caution.

Commenting on this campaign Mihir Mody, Founder & CEO, Adwallz says, “This campaign was a very big challenge for us as we had to paint Mr Bachchan’s image across the walls of India. We thank our painters who executed this difficult campaign in an efficient way. We look forward to carry forward our relation with Emami in the future.”

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