Of Parle Hippo and cohesive brand ideas

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The new TVC for Parle Agro’s baked munchies, Hippo, is creating some buzz. A majority of people have reacted with positive comments. In a highly competitive category, the ‘root cause of all evil is hunger – appease hunger with Hippo’ proposition is being seen as unique.

Agency: Creativeland Asia

The brand name Hippo, the packaging, communication and the planned surround ideas seem to follow a similar pattern seen in the earlier work from the Parle Agro-Creativeland Asia combination: a focused brand idea which then permeates across the brand name, packaging and the communication. Take for example, Saint Juice. Positioned as a 100% juice, every aspect of the brand – from the name, to packaging to communication reflected this pure, honest platform. Even with LMN, they had a focused proposition, a memorable brand name and an insightful communication.

With Hippo, here are the things that worked for me:

– a focused approach: ‘Fighting world hunger’ is an exalted claim and one may argue that it’s hyperbole at it’s best. But hey, at least they’ve stuck to it from the word go. As outlined in the personality of Hippo in the website, the brand is a caring cook. They carried that thought in the brand name too. The attempt seems also to differentiate from the market – and hence the packaging is relatively simple & stark.

– big idea with legs:  by not focusing on ‘how my brand makes you feel’ or a specific feature of the product, they have taken an exalted stand: what the brand does from a larger perspective.

And the things that didn’t work for me:

– there is no reason-why given to buy the brand. The focus is all on making a clutter breaking commercial which hopefully leads to likeability which hopefully leads to sales

– isn’t hunger satiation the job of all snacks? I could distribute samosas and fight evil? How is Hippo better placed (baked not fried gets a mention) to do that? Just because they are saying it first doesn’t make it any more credible.

– at 1:40 seconds it’s a bit of  a luxury in media. Yes, making a cracker of a longer duration commercial is better than making a mediocre 30-seconder, but ain’t this a tad too long?

– huge opportunity lost in not having the website ready to complement the TVC. The TV commercial promotes the web URL only for you to see the  TVC again there.

But the above issues could be just quibbles. By not playing safe and thinking big, Hippo has created buzz. More importantly the focused, cohesive approach across all elements appealed to me. Remains to be seen if the consumer bites the fighting hunger argument. Do you?

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