GSK Marketing Director Prashant Pandey on his journey with brand Horlicks

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December 2014 saw a reshuffle of top leadership positions at Glaxo Smithkline Consumer Healthcare leading to company veteran Prashant Pandey taking over as Marketing Director in India. Having been with the brand since 2008, Pandey has led the marketing for Horlicks including its new variants. In conversation with Rashi Bisaria, Pandey discusses Horlick’s latest campaign focused on exam time, his gratifying journey with the brand through the years and the challenges of his new role. Edited excerpts:

What is special about this new campaign, considering Horlicks has always focused on smart children, their nutrition and health?
Horlicks Exam Time campaign is not just about smart children, it is about equipping children with improved concentration amidst the increasing distractions. Horlicks has always aimed at providing children with necessary nutrition and is the only health food drink clinically proven to improve concentration.

Horlicks-adDesigned around the thought of ‘Exam aage toh dhyaan na bhaage’, Horlicks Exam Time is a 360 degree campaign comprising TV, print, radio and digital, along with on-ground and expert-led workshops across the country to help students, parents, principals and teachers understand the importance of good nutrition and health during the exam time. As part of the campaign we have also designed a Concentration App that helps parents gauge the concentration levels of their child and a national workshop to help parents and teachers understand concentration and its importance better.
The brand understands the challenge of examinations for children today and has developed 4 original soundtracks on examinations with the help of budding musicians across India, to help them face exams more confidently.

How is this campaign being received, and what has the response been like?
The response to Mission Exams (school contact programme) has been extremely encouraging. Over the last 3 months we have reached out to 360 schools across 8 cities, engaging over 60,000 students from classes 5 -10.
Another highlight of the campaign has been the Exam anthems through which we have reached out to more than 3500 musicians, and received hundreds of submissions from budding talent across India. As mentioned above, the top 4 were made into videos and are being promoted on our social channels. The Exam Time anthems have received over 1mn views on YouTube and Facebook till now

What are the different kinds of innovation that Horlicks is looking at in the near future to renew its presence in the market?
Since a large number of consumers are spending time on social and online platforms, we are engaging with them through relevant and innovative initiatives. The entire process, including call for anthem entries, engagement around it and the final gratification was designed leveraging our digital assets. With this, Horlicks has made its debut in the user-generated content space.

In addition to this, Horlicks, on the occasion of Women’s Day launched a digital video dedicated to mothers across the country. It captures how a mother is one’s ultimate pillar of support and celebrates the unique bond between a mother and her daughter. Called ‘Love You Maa’, the video has received over 1.1mn views on YouTube with over 100mn impressions in all.

With the success of these initiatives, we will look at tapping the digital and social space more actively. Our upcoming campaigns will be a combination of new elements.

You have been handling brand Horlicks since 2008. How has it evolved?
It has been an extremely memorable journey so far. From creating a new segment with the launch of Women’s Horlicks in 2008 to the latest Exam Time campaign, each step has been gratifying. The brand has evolved with 9 sub-brands and extensions, each of them fulfilling different needs of different members of the family. Over the years I have collaborated with various teams within GSK, as well as with agency partners, to develop ideas that have built brand love, driven innovation and helped maintain leadership in the category.

How has your recent promotion changed your responsibilities and how are you adapting to this new role?
I am excited about this new challenge and hope to build the business ahead with category leading brands and with the support of a very capable team here. The team here is a young and energetic lot, very competent and full of ideas. I am looking forward to this journey.

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