Kurkure: chala Bingo ka chakkar?

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Frito Lay has upped its ante in the Rs.1800-crore branded snacks market. Kurkure has always been a visible brand in India and they have increased the noise levels with their ‘Chala change ka chakkar‘ consumer promotion. In this promotion, an individual could swap places with the celebrity brand ambassadors of the company for one day. This is a ‘big’ consumer promotion idea which has the potential to capture the consumer imagination. Because its ‘different’ and plays up the voyeur in all of us, this has potential to become a success. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live the life of a Saif Ali Khan? How your wife reacts to ‘Kareena’ tattooed on your arm is another story.

Is this a reaction to the success of ITC’s Bingo? ITC’s Bingo was one of the most successful marketing launches of last year. With a 16% share in Year 1 and a marketing mix that was the envy of the industry it was one of the most celebrated efforts of last year. Business Standard’s Brand Derby voted it as the No.1 launch of last year.

The jury is still out about the effectiveness of the campaign. But as practitioners of consumer promotions, I think there a few lessons here:

Look for the big idea: instead of the through-the-year sales promotions, it is perhaps wiser to launch a big consumer promotion selectively. Several FMCG brands give away free stuff in some form of the other – extra, price off, a small freebie. They are usually carried on year after year since the numbers went up last year. There could be some truth in that. A freebie with utility value, say a pen, maybe a strong hook. But the consumer has seen more exciting stuff. Yes, a low-cost promotion is sometimes the only option. But we can still make it exciting for the consumer. It’s time to revisit these ‘truths’.

Treat it like a theme commercial: many of the promo films suffer from the ‘shout from the rooftop, announce the offer’ syndrome. The usual reason: ‘let’s not be subtle, yaar! The consumer won’t get it!‘ Assuming that the consumer’s IQ is equal to the Neanderthal man is a huge mistake. Apart from the Kurkure effort, the recent promotion by Maruti Estilo to promote the test drive is a good example of what I am talking about.

Integrate the offer into the creative: whether its a free toy or 100g extra, making it part of the story makes it interesting.

And oh, about the Kurkure spots: another interesting thing about the commercials was the choice of the profession of the common man. Dhoni playing the ‘bhai‘ was cute. What next? Juhi swapping roles with a kaamwali bai?

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