On advertising as a strategic management tool
If the management and strategy of a company change, its advertising changes with them. For example, the recent advertisement of the Vodafone group, when it changed from Hutch to Vodafone. It became clear to the consumer that there was a change in management, but the service would remain the same and that benefits would, in fact, increase. So, advertising can help communicate change in a company.
Without a doubt, I am very much part of ITC foods’ advertising initiatives.
Ravi Naware, CEO, foods division, ITC Ltd (Photo by: Hemant Mishra / Mint)
In the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) sector, brands represent the company, and surveys show that consumers build loyalty towards FMCG products—so, it is a critical part of my role, and every CEO’s role, to be involved in the creation of the brand and the message conveyed in the advertisement.
On current trends in advertising
Advertising costs are going up, and so are demands from advertisers. Recognizing that, advertising agencies are doing the best they can within their limited resources. There are also more research methods available now to find out if the advertising is effective or not, and most advertisers are looking at that, especially while establishing a new brand or variant. Also, people are increasingly using advertising as a platform to communicate their brand image and values.
On ITC’s advertising mantra
ITC’s mantra has always been to create and establish the brand in the minds of consumers. Our products are new and they need quick recall. So, we have been open to using new mediums over time and (have) utilized distinct methods to make the brand memorable—Bingo is humour, Sunfeast is the use of celebrities such as Shah Rukh Khan and Minto has used the Laila-Majnu story to narrate its brand positioning.
On diverse media platforms
There are some products where using a 360-degree approach is essential. For us, at ITC foods, where all the brands are fairly new, we don’t rely on just print and TV, but also use the Internet and other digital platforms. For the launch of Bingo, our snack brand, we were everywhere—from digital to at the point of sale, outdoor, and even organized several events because the brand called for it. Today, TV and print are useful only for brand recall and used alone only as reminders.
My favourite ads
The Center Shock gum ad is one of my favourites. It is where a guy goes to get a haircut and the hairdresser gives him a Center Shock which makes his hair stand and look spiky, and the job is done. This ad depicts the core value of the brand and product in a memorable fashion.
The Fevicol ad is another favourite. It is where a truck is carrying a group of people and, despite the bumpy ride, no one falls off because it is a Fevicol truck. This ad uses a humorous and exaggerated approach, but brings forward the promise of the product.
Although I should not be talking of our own brand, the Bingo advertisement is one of my favourite ads; (the one) where the crispiness is tested under varying degrees of stress. Objectively, the ad is humorous and is certainly unforgettable and brings out the brand proposition clearly.