Anuj Goyal, Associate Director, Tropicana and Slice at PepsiCo discusses the use of AR in their new campaign, Aam Nahi Khaas Ho Tum and why the category unlike other beverages is not just a summer specific drink
Q] What was the thought behind the Aam Nahi Khaas Ho Tum campaign?
The second wave took a toll on each one of us. At one point even I was down with Covid-19. Across the country we were hearing stories of people helping each other selflessly and I experienced that too through my family members. It was a big gesture of humanity, which each one of us was trying to extend to the other. We thought as a brand, can we take that message to the consumer. We were working with our agency, and the thought Aam Nahi Khaas Ho Tum came up which fit well into the entire conversation. I think it really made sense for Slice to talk about something like this and recognize these COVID heroes and what can be bigger than the brand putting it out on their logo and reflecting the various stories. This was our way of saluting the spirit of helping others.
Q] Brands changing their logos to salute COVID warriors especially on the packaging, is becoming a trend. You have gone a step further, by using augmented reality to achieve that, tell us about it
We wanted to do something bold, which catches the attention of people. We chose tech because as a responsible brand we wanted people to stay inside their homes. So, we thought, can we enable them to get this message, while quarantined in different parts of the country? With technology, they didn’t have to go out to buy a bottle of Slice, they could sit in the comfort of their homes and still read these stories. The team came in and said, we have a solution wherein you can actually scan the logo anywhere- on a bottle, on the website and read the stories. This really got us excited. And that was the reason we didn’t go for a physical logo change, I’m not trying to draw any comparison here with the others who have done it. What we did was distinct.
Q] Slice has tried everything from using celebrity appeal to seduction in a classy way, to taking on competitors with the recent taste challenge. Which of these approaches has been the most fruitful for Slice?
At a very early stage Slice developed a different tonality, it was talking to a certain set of audiences. But over a period of time, the footprint of the brand increased, today we are talking to the masses. Mango based drinks is a 200 million category in India as per reports. The potential is immense and Slice enjoys a very strong position in the category. The taste challenge is one of our attempts to face the competition head on, because we believe in the superiority of our product. I think across the year, everything that we’ve done has worked wonderfully for us, including this recent campaign. In fact, despite the challenging times we’re seeing strong results and it is getting good traction.
Q] You appointed Katrina as a brand ambassador a few years ago. Today is she synonymous with the brand?
Yes, if you go through the social media conversations on Slice and Katrina, both of them associate very strongly with each other. Such credentials and relationship is the result of the work the brand has done over a number of years.
Q] Today, people don’t want to consume drinks with high sugar content. How are you appealing to them?
There are different sets of consumers. At different life stages, the priorities change for every consumer. We have a large portfolio of juice and juice based drinks between the two brands, which are Slice and Tropicana. Within Tropicana we have the real fruit juices category and within Slice we have a mango drink category. We cater to all strata of society, all demographics, and we definitely leave it to the consumers to choose the best product for them.
Q] Unfortunately, summer is the best season for sale of mango drinks and the two waves of the pandemic have hit us exactly during summer. What is your strategy now when people can’t walk up to the store and grab a drink in the heat?
It was a huge challenge to reach the consumers during the lockdown, there was a change in consumer behaviour too. While the outlets were closed, there were lot of hyper local delivery platforms which emerged and we latched on to that opportunity because we wanted to reach out to our consumers in these testing times. Partners like Swiggy and Dunzo came in really handy, e-commerce became another channel which picked up big time. Platforms like Big Basket or Grofers were servicing all of us during these lockdowns. We consciously increased our saliency on these channels. Also, Slice is largely in the ‘in-the-home’ category. When the pandemic struck, in summer, we saw a trend where people were actually consuming a lot of these products inside their homes now because they didn’t have anything to do except watch television, and enjoy time with the family. We played it aggressively by providing relevant, affordable price points to reach the customers. The sales have been accelerating now. Another thing is that Mango is one of the most favourite fruits. The beauty of it is, it’s seasonal. So even when the summers are over there is a craving for Mango and that really works in our favour, because it then becomes an all year round product that people want.
Q] So, for the first time would you say the sale of a mango drink is happening more online as opposed to kirana & other physical stores?
Not really, because e-commerce is not the largest part of the channel mix, it is still very small. We all realized as consumers that it was the kirana waala within society, for people like us who are staying in big condos, and for somebody who’s staying in a colony, it was the corner shop that came in handy because they were the ones who were actually trying to supply essentials during these times. The sale still remains largely with those outlets. Yes, there are different channels which opened up and it helped to try that kind of a sale, but the Covid related restrictions naturally have impacted sales from the large scale mom-and-pop stores.
Q] For the Aam Nahi Khaas Ho Tum campaign, what is the marketing mix you’re using?
We are focussing on the digital channels and are present on all the key platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We used all these channels to drive awareness.