Knorr’s ad thrust

Knorr hopes to reposition itself from an evening to a pre-dinner snack with a new campaign.
The clock strikes seven and the young lad begins a conversation with his stomach. It is not yet time for dinner but hunger pangs have begun to tug. The mother, finding it odd, wants to find out what’s the matter. The boy explains that it’s not him but his stomach. Her response is predictable: If she prepares a snack at 7:00 pm, there are very strong chances that he might skip dinner.
The boy begins to wonder whether he should listen to his tummy or mummy. The mother, played by film actor Kajol, moves into the kitchen muttering ‘tummy-mummy’ and reaches out for a pack of Knorr soup. Knorr soup with 100 per cent real vegetables is so healthy that mummy is happy. The kid slurps the soup while mother smiles and says: “It’s so yummy that the tummy is happy too.” The 30-second advertisement ends with a voice over: “At 7: 00 pm — Knorr soups; now tummy is happy and mummy is happy.”
This is clearly a repositioning exercise undertaken by Hindustan Unilever for its soup brand. Knorr has always been positioned as an evening snack. The big strategic thrust for Knorr in this relaunch is to find a role for soup in the daily Indian menu. The aim for Knorr’s new campaign is to leverage the vacant spot between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm as the perfect pre-dinner snack.
Soup is an under penetrated category and the incidence of purchase is much lower than other categories of fast moving consumer goods. Still, the stakes are high. Industry estimates attest that the branded packaged soup market has crossed the Rs 100-crore mark and is growing at a healthy clip of 20 per cent annually. Companies like Hindustan Unilever need to get their positioning clear. The soup category today is evolving significantly with a change in consumer preferences. Therefore, growth of the category has been rapid.
And competition is strong — Nestle’s Maggi and Capital Foods’ Ching’s. Nestle, of course, has capitalised on the huge brand equity of Maggi instant noodles. A survey carried out by the National Council of Applied Economic Research named Maggi the country’s most valued FMCG brand. With the first mover’s advantage, it has 12 variants in traditional soups under three categories: Home, Chef and Chinese. In addition, it has the Sanjeevni range which has Indian flavors like almonds, spinach, pulses, amla and tomato.
For its part, Hindustan Unilever conducted research that revealed that mothers were not very comfortable with giving their children a 7:00 pm snack, afraid that it could result in a loss of appetite for dinner — a meal vital for school-going children who often miss breakfast in the morning rush.
Keeping that in mind, the brief given to Hindustan Unilever’s creative agency of four months, Lowe Lintas, was to build the category. The strategic challenge was to find a role for soup in the consumer’s plate by finding a relevant context in his life. They figured that at that particular hour only one person can be happy — either the mother or the child. And they wanted to convey the fact that this product makes both mother and child happy says Lowe Lintas Creative Director.
The ad also marks a departure from the previous advertisements the company came out with for Knorr. The soup brand first ventured into television advertising around 2003-04. The first advertisement, Sher ghaas nahi khata, (The lion doesn’t eat grass) was targeted at mothers whose kids didn’t like vegetables. The next advertising campaign in 2005-2006 was targeted at couples that went with the tagline, Knorr Knorr Knorr, paas laaye aur, (Knorr brings you closer). The 2007 campaign positioned soup as a healthy snack alternative with the introduction of the new Oriental and Snacky range (2008 saw the introduction of Knorr Indian soups).
This latest communication with the tagline, Tummy bhi khush, Mummy bhi khush, (Happy stomach and happy mother) is an effort to alter snacking trends among Indian consumers. It reinforces Knorr’s product features of 100 per cent real vegetables with no added preservatives. This, however, cannot be a unique selling proposition because Maggi soups have similar properties — they contain real vegetables, are low in fat and cholesterol and are free from synthetic colors and added MSG.
As for the choice of the celebrity, both the agency and company believe they have got it down pat. Giving the brand a thrust is the mandatory 360-degree campaign that includes multi-lingual ads and commercials, out-of-home media tactics, extensive print plan, experiential sampling sessions and so on. The TV campaign already took off and may run until early next year.