Paper boat: Back to basics

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Published: April 7, 2015 12:19:04 AM

Paper Boat is all set for the summer with new variants even as rivals play catch-up

Temperatures may be rising across India, but at Hector Beverages things couldn’t be cooler. The beverage company is all set for the Indian scorching summers with its range of unique ethnic flavoured drinks under the Paperboat umbrella brand.

With nine flavours under its belt and five more in the pipeline, Paper Boat plans to aggressively tap the R4,000 crore fruit juice industry in the country. Focusing on the SEC A and B segment in the 20-40 years age group, primarily residing in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, it wants to appeal to their idea of “home”, speaking also to people who have migrated away from their “native places”.

Says Neeraj Kakkar, CEO and founder, Hector Beverages, “Summer is a very exciting season for Paper Boat. We as a brand have taken the initiative to introduce ethnic drinks that have a strong connect with childhood memories. Traditional beverage is a niche segment, and as a pioneer here, we look forward to developing and nurturing it. We also are confident that the campaign will create not just awareness, but change expectations itself.”

Aligning with the plan, the company has launched a multimedia campaign. Conceptualised by Karishma Lintas, the five commercials celebrate the various favourites from the traditional Indian kitchen. “Since our drinks are from a time in the past, we wanted our communication also to hark back to a simpler time, recalling innocent memories, and guilelessness. We wanted to showcase our range, taking pride in our Indian culture’s diversity. And finally, we also wanted to cue consumption occasions for our drink – at the airport, late night at work, sometime on the move, etc,” says Kakkar.

With a marketing budget of almost R10 crore, the money will be spent in phases, on its niche target audience. To speak to the right TG, social media is an important medium of engagement along with television for the company. The first film was released on social media last week and has seen over 1 million views on Facebook.

Rajesh Ramaswamy, group creative director, Karishma Lintas, says, “We really wanted to make a video that connected with as many people as possible. So we went to the most fundamen tal memories that almost everyone had. We decided to use poetry. Not lyrics. As the meaning of the lyrics tend to get lost when sung. And then there was Malgudi that universally takes us all back to that innocent world.”

The brand’s confidence in a market that is ruled by the cola giants originates from its unmatched range. At the same time, Paper Boat acknowledges that the cola giants have helped develop the market for packaged drinks. Says Kakkar, “As a product, carbonated beverages worked well on many need states: of indulgence, thirst-quenching, food accompaniment, and regular consumption. In a sense, they homogenised taste and people’s expectations. We’re trying the same but with traditional recipes. Here are products that were made at home, where recipes have been perfected over centuries—and have a significant personal connect.”

Perhaps that is why established players too are taking the traditional route. PepsiCo’s Tropicana Slice, which is building the mango drink category in the country, has innovated to bring the king of mangoes, Alphonso, to consumers. It plans to launch 7UP Nimbooz Masala Soda, nationally, this summer.

“People are becoming more health conscious. That is the reason why companies are investing in staple beverages, i.e., natural drinks,” says Harish Bijoor, a brand consultant and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults. “It does not matter where the person resides – metros or villages – if she knows the benefits of a “good” drink thEn shelling out more will not bother her,” says Bijoor.

Another veteran brand, Frooti, from Parle Agro, is also gearing up for the summers with a new campaign showcasing a new identity and visual language for the product.

Said Nadia Chauhan, JMD and CMO, Parle Agro, “Since the brand has been an integral part of everyone’s growing up years, it was important to shed the traditional Frooti image and give it a bold and contemporary look to make it relate-able to the youth of today and tomorrow.”

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