Saturday, April 09, 2005

I scream, you scream

.

This is is one of the many hoardings for Kwality-Walls icecream dotting Bombay city right now. I'm guessing the brief which produced the ad went as follows:

"Yaar, icecream is seen as a kiddie product. Make it exciting for youth. Make it sexy."

And that, literally, is what has been done. Maybe it's an international campaign being used in India - the models are quite foreign-looking.

But it could be an Indian campaign trying to look international - 'aspirational' they call it.

As a side-bonus, the hoardings are likely to catch the eye of the Moral Police whowill file a PIL and provide the brand with lots of free space in newspaper columns.

As happened with VIP X underwear last summer.

Aakhir kyun
Something is gadbad. Young people are not eating enough ice cream, which is why advertisers are trying to shock them into noticing their product.

Here's what I think went wrong.

When I was growing up - in the mid 80s - the ice cream parlour was THE coolest place to hang out. Especially the Yankee Doodle outside Natraj hotel on Marine Drive.

It was the place you went with friends to give your birthday treat. You lolled around on the jhoolas and watched the Page 3 people of the pre-Page 3 era coming and going from RGs, the disco which the happening crowd frequented at the time.

There was also Dollops ice cream parlour - from Cadbury's which had a really good black currant ice cream I still remember vividly.

In Ahmedabad, where I studied for two years, there was a famous Vadilal parlour at Law Garden. And the inimitable 'Dairy Den'.

Cut to 2005 and you'll see the coffee shop has taken over hangout status completely. The ice cream parlour culture is dead.

Yankee Doodle was shut down when Natraj went under renovation. The hotel re-emerged in a new, swank avatar which had no space to spare for a plebian ice cream parlour.

Dollops - which I as a consumer thought was a fairly successful diversification for Cadbury - was apparently not such a good idea. It was sold to HLL, which killed off the brand.

I don't know about the Vadilal parlour but the Dairy Den in Ahmedabad's Municipal Market which I visited for old times sake recently was clearly no longer popular. Even the ice cream quality had deteriorated.

Thanda matlab ...
All that's left now is Baskin Robbins - which has good icecream but is sold from tiny, uncool shops or counters.

There's Natural "of Juhu scheme" which was once arage but has stagnated and almost become invisible of late.

And the ubiquitous paanch ya dus rupaye waala 'softy' machine.

Then there's kirana shop icecream. Here, Amul is beating HLL because it's priced lower. And because it contains 'real milk' as opposed to Kwality-Walls which is made from vegetable oil.

That's a real selling point in Amul's favour as far as parents are concerned!

The last avenue is home consumption and here too Amul appears to be more popular. They generally have some offer like "20% extra free" or buy strawberry and get a small vanilla pack free.

And a lot of junta feels their ice cream tastes creamier and better.

Still, I would be more than happy to try out Kwality Walls -if they came up with something out of the ordinary.

Sadly, their last such attempt - the Vienetta - was a disaster. The ice cream looks nowhere like the enticing picture on the pack and in fact tastes extremely ordinary.

Still, there's hope
I think ice cream is one of those things people young and old love. It just has to be packaged and sold better - as an experience.

One way to go could be Haagen Dasz - which offers really rich creamy and sinful stuff. If they actually come to India though, they are likely to be too expensive to ever make a mass impact.

So the space is wide open for a Vadilal or a Kwality Walls to upgrade themselves and corner the adult ice cream-as-a-treat market!

I think ice cream is all about flavour and Indian ice cream makers have hardly tried to invent new ones.

Vadilal once experimented with gulab jamun icecream and gajar halwa ice cream (because people apparently liked the combination at weddings). It didn't work but hey, at least they tried.

Vanilla, chocolate and butterscotch are 'killer app' ice creams. With trial and error, I'm sure many more are possible!

Creating magic
"Had a bad day? Had a good day? Either way, our four NEW Mood Magic flavors are sure to bring you emotional rescue".

That's Ben and Jerrys icecream for you - and I think the appeal is far more effective than sexual innuendo!

Of course Ben and Jerry's is the crazy company which sells Cherry Garcia and Karamel Sutra - flavours which were in fact suggested by consumers.

Ben & Jerrys is the google equivalent of the ice-cream world, and retains its uniquely cool and delicious image. Despite now being a wholly owned subsidiary of Unilever.

Hey, that means we just might see Ben & Jerry's in India in the near future. Keeping my fingers crossed! Toes too!!

Post script
According to this morning's Indian Express, the Kwality-Walls hoardings are being 'edited'.

In Gurgaon, the visual with boy and top of girl has already been replaced with a close up of only the girl. The 'course correction' comes after comments from consumers about the 'Pleasure Up' campaign being too daring.

12 comments:

  1. hey rashmi....or should i say...hail rashmi.Love your insight.love reading abt new things...keep u the good work

    ReplyDelete
  2. Harshil4:35 AM

    My dad knows the guy who own Vadilal really well. They are really good friends. Apparently, from what I have heard, I think Vadilal is trying to tap more into its business overseas, such as in the US. The competition among the Indian food companies here is very intense, and I think thats what Vadilal is focusing on. The Kwality ice cream here has come with all kinds of different flavors.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Up north, in Delhi, we still have our Nirulas ice cream, which proves that a parlour can work, if the quality is exceptional.

    Age again in not a factor, as anyone without diet problems would like to sink their teeth into the Hot Chocolate Fudge Sundae, the stuff of legends over here.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Black currant icecream from Dollops..yum. Made me take a walk down memory lane. Thanks Rashmi

    ReplyDelete
  5. second the local brand !

    In Bangalore, Corner House ice-creams are to die for ! They are not just brands, they are experiences !

    ReplyDelete
  6. second the local brand !

    In Bangalore, Corner House ice-creams are to die for ! They are not just brands, they are experiences !

    ReplyDelete
  7. You should try Move-n-Pick icecreams. A bit on the expensive side but worth every penny (and more).

    And yes, Corner House ice-creams are to die for !

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for the update on the ice-cream wars! I am an 80s kid, born and party raised in Bombay, and this piece brought back memories...and yes, Dollops ice-creams ruled!

    ReplyDelete
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Disqus for Youth Curry - Insight on Indian Youth