By Malay Desai
By: Perk by O&M; Munch by JWT
Earlier this month, Cadbury’s wafer-chocolate Perk launched a commercial showing a runaway son leaving behind a letter to his father. In it, he alleges that he was given an inferior, lesser weighing chocolate as compared to that given to his brother – and the father is shown sobbing amidst melodramatic music. Then, about a week later, competitor Nestle India brought out a spot for its rival brand Munch using the same theme, showing the boy’s brother this time. Taking a dig at Perk’s ad, it says that not everything with more weight adds to taste, among other things. Munch also backed up this film with the online campaign #MunchkaPunch.
Do we like
Sit back and rub your hands in glee, for here we have another round of ad kushti. The category isn’t the heavyweight TOI/Hindu, nor the middle-weight Pepsodent/Colgate. It’s rather the feather-weightbrands, Cadbury’s Perk and Nestle’s Munch that have begun the wrestle. They do not impact the nation’s voting habits nor public health, but have done well to reinstate their segment’s competition levels.
The champion here is Perk, Cadbury India’s five-rupee treat for nibblers. Having established its ‘ultralight but yummy snack’ position three years before Munch arrived in 1999, Perk has pretty much been among the school boy favourites (many who only realise the word’s other meaning later). In its film, it targets Munch for being lighter and having less wafer layers.
The idea is hilarious – a melodramatic letter with music right from a 70s scene featuring actress Rakhee, delivered well with a sobbing father. The punches here – details of weight and size are delivered crisply, and to a hilarious effect. If you would only watch the Perk ad, you’d be a fan. At the other end of the ring we have the challenger Munch, which comes after some clever films that have used Virat Kohli’s stardom beautifully. In a confident counterpunch-cum-cheeky slap, it uses the same lighting, characters and theme to eventually say that it’s better being light-weight. Its opening disclaimer is witty, its copy is in-the-face and its company logo toward the end is an attempt to distinguish its maker.
Moreover, its social media campaign ensures it leverages the ‘LOL did you watch?’ reactions to rub more salt into Cadbury’s wound.
Our verdict, however, is with Perk; for it still holds ground as a standalone film whereas its detractor will have to hope its viewers get the reference. Besides, the goodwill for its other products Gems, 5 Star (not Dairy Milk currently thanks to another ‘worm’ update!) will surely add some perks to their package.
(To watch Cadbury’s film, go to Youtube.com/CadburyPerkIndia and to know of Nestle’s counter-punch on social media, search with the hashtag‘#munchkapunch’)
Whatsapp, ‘Last Seen at’ Facebook’s Headquarters!
What you must know
We assume you know that even more waking hours of your time will now be controlled by this century’s biggest internet phenomenon, Facebook. After having taken over Instagram,it has bought over Whatsapp, which has made a stunning growth in its user base from the past two years. The deal that stunned the tech world was at 19 billion dollars (or the GDP of a few small countries put together) and this writer is still recovering from the fact that all this is for an app, a little messaging application which soon will have the power to reach a billion people through their smartphones. The humungous deal makes sense only in the long-term view, that Facebook will eventually reach the millions of smartphone owners in the future in regions such as India, Africa and South America.
Then, some intriguing facts
Just the number of zeroes in this deal isn’t the interesting factor here. The story of Whatsapp’s founders, hitherto not known to you thanks to their low-profiles, is filmy to say the least. Legend has it that Jan Koum and Brian Acton wanted a ‘different kind of company’ in Mountain View, California. Their team devoted several hours to develop the lightening fast communications app, one which us professionals – writers, doctors, sportsmen et al cannot do without now. Today with 32 engineers, it serves over 450 million users. And perhaps the most important fact – unlike Hike and WeChat (apps this column has regularly poked fun at!), Whatsapp hasn’t indulged in a single paisa of marketing or PR. How’s that! And what if we told you that both the founders of Whatsapp come from modest childhoods, the latter having even been rejected by Facebook in 2009!
And what now?
We wish we had a definite answer to this one, but even the sharpest tech gurus aren’t predicting too much. From what we see of Facebook’s treatment of Instagram (letting it operate independently but pulling off previews from Twitter), it’s going to be a somewhat similar ride ahead. The key here is that Whatsapp’s growth in its first few years has been phenomenal (way higher than even Facebook’s surge post 2003) and it will depend upon how the powers to be at Palo Alto tap the sensibilities of new users in growing markets (hardly anyone in America uses Whatsapp, comparatively). We hear that FB will carry on with the app’s ‘no ads, no games, no gimmicks’ policy. But we also hear that FB will now see your IP, browser info and URLs of the sites you surf that Whatsapp logs. Nothing comes for free!