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Farmville, Kissan style | Business Line

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Farmville, Kissan style


PRIYANKA PANI

Gangs of Kissanpur: HUL involved city-bred children in a tomato growing initiative

Hindustan Unilever woos kids with soil, seeds and a saucy idea. Will Kissan reap the benefits of this tomato farming campaign?

June 6, 2012: It's tomato mania again. No, not La Tomatina - the messy Spanish festival, but a saucy new desi campaign that involves growing tomatoes, not throwing them. Last week Hindustan Unilever (HUL) painted Mumbai red with its tomato farm at Inorbit mall in Malad, where it seeded nearly 7,000 tomato plants. The idea was to acquaint city-bred kids with tomato growing and build brand equity for its Kissan ketchup. It's all part of the company's five-month campaign Chalo Kissanpur that has seen over 76,000 people across Delhi and Mumbai growing tomatoes. Soon when you buy a Kissan ketchup, you might be surprised by the picture of the brand ambassador on the bottle. No film star, no cherubic child model. Instead, it's somebody who has sown and grown a tomato plant. HUL promises to launch a hundred new faces on its ketchup bottle soon. These are consumers many of them kids who have grown saucy red tomatoes and posted pictures of them on Facebook as part of a contest the FMCG giant organised. The best of these entries get to feature on the ketchup bottle. It all started in February when HUL distributed over 25 lakh tomato seeds in Mumbai and Delhi through sachets stuck to the morning newspaper. People were urged to plant the seeds at home and post photos of the plants on the company's Facebook page. HUL says the tomato growing campaign created by marketing agency Lowe Lintas with a huge digital media component it created a special site called www.kissanpur.co.in has boosted its ketchup sales by 120 basis points.

Saucy initiatives
For Kissan, which has been fighting a neck-and-neck battle with Nestle's Maggi in the Rs 806-crore ketchup category, there was a real need to come up with a clutter-breaking campaign. Kissan with 41 per cent market share (in 2010) had slid to second place behind Maggi (47 per cent). Besides, the category is seeing increasing competition with the likes of Del Monte, Heinz, Sil, Druk and several private labels such as Future Group's Tasty Treat all in the fray now. According to Euromonitor International data, the ketchup market is growing at 26 per cent and is likely to touch the Rs 1,000-crore mark by 2014. What's more, as far as campaigns go, the brand recall of Maggi's It's different campaign as well as Del Monte's memorable Chhota Bheem advertisement (in which the animated character from Pogo's popular show features) were creating waves. So, it was time to come up with a breakthrough idea. Says Harpreet Tibb, General Manager, Packaged Foods, HUL, In today's world, consumers are seeking real experiences and the Kissanpur campaign fulfilled this need for them. The campaign has received a great response and has surpassed our expectations.

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03-10-2013 15:44

Farmville, Kissan style | Business Line

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/brandline/farmville-kiss...

Such campaigns also help us engage with our consumers, Tibb added, pointing out it was a strategic move to connect with users. As brand strategist Harish Bijooor, CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults, says, Marketing and advertising activities are becoming more participative and inclusive. Such initiatives tend to benefit not only the brand but also the category. It adds to the soft equity of the brand. People remember the brands if they are closely involved with them.

Co-creating with consumers


For several FMCG firms now, involving consumers in the pre-production stage, testing and marketing has become the way of doing business. Nestle India's Maggi Kitchen' in Gurgaon invites consumers to share their experiences around food and even cook! Companies such as Godrej, and L'Oreal too are getting into co-creation with their consumers, not only inviting them to their facility but also studying consumer idiosyncrasies by visiting their homes to observe their habits. Take Cadbury-Kraft, which early this year launched a consumer connect programme called Amazing Anjali. Managers from the company visited consumer homes to understand their tastes and get them involved. Brand experts believe that HUL's Kissanpur initiative is in the same mould. However, some marketing consultants think that though such campaigns are excellent clutter-breaking communication tools, they might also dilute the strength of a brand that is present in more than one category. Kissan is also in jams, spreads and concentrated drinks and the danger of the brand name getting identified too much with sauce is all too real. HUL's campaign is quite powerful. However, it will be successful only if it is able to extend it to their other categories. This will help hold the brand together. If it doesn't, then consumers might get confused about the brand thus affecting their other products, says Alpana Parida, President of marketing research firm DY Works.
(This article was published on June 6, 2012)

Keywords: Hindustan Unilever, HUL, tomato farm, Inorbit mall, Malad, seeded, tomato plants, city-bred, kids, tomato growing, brand equity, Kissan ketchup.
Printable version | Oct 3, 2013 1:40:59 PM | http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/brandline/farmville-kissan-style/article3493817.ece The Hindu Business Line

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