Parle-G, the 80-year-old biscuit brand with striped yellow packaging featuring the iconic Parle girl, has tweaked its advertising strategy to talk to millennials and highlight the immense nostalgia associated with it.

Made by advertising agency, Dentsu Taproot, the ‘You’re my Parle-G’ campaign features the protagonists in their 20s connecting with loved ones and remembering how the brand played a crucial role in their lives. The series of ad spots harps on nostalgia and attempts to build Parle-G right up in the emotional consideration set of consumers.

“Our consumer research said that for the consumers Parle-G is more than just a consumption habit. Rather it has a deeper emotional connect with the brand which became the genesis of the campaign," said Mayank Shah, category head, Parle Products.

As Parle-G is consumed by people across age groups, the biggest challenge to talk to each consumer group, Shah said. Parle-G’s advertising has so far been focused on young children with campaigns like ‘G maane genius’ and ‘Aao Banaye kal ke genius which highlighted the innocuous truth (curiosity defines childhood). Last year, the company chose to speak to a more mature consumer base with its ‘Bharat ka apna biscuit’ which rode on nationalism.

“Parle-G consumption happens from 6 to 60 years old across SECs. Our biggest challenge is to devise communication that speaks to all the target consumer groups at one go," said Shah.

The current campaign is being promoted on youth centric male skewed sports property Indian Premier League (IPL). Parle Products Pvt Ltd is estimated to be spending Rs80 crore as an associate sponsor with Star India. The campaign is also being promoted across social media and digital platforms.

“With the wide choice that is now available among biscuits, the advertising task was to elevate this position of Parle-G in the minds of our consumers. The idea is based on the human tendency to take the familiar for granted. This campaign uses this tendency to point out how invaluable the familiar in our lives is while making a compelling connection with the brand Parle-G," said Shashank Lanjekar, head, strategic planning, Taproot Dentsu Mumbai.

Parle’s offers only one variant, Parle Gold along with a special kids edition branded as Parle-G Chota Bheem as opposed to its competitor Britannia, which has introduced seven variants to Tiger glucose biscuits.

It is not just the individual brands, but the sweet biscuit category itself that is witnessing slower growth as an increasing number of consumers opt for healthy alternatives. According to market research firm Euromonitor International, the sweet biscuit category grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6% between 2012 and 2017 as opposed to savour biscuits category, which grew at 13.5% in the same period.

Advertising experts unanimously agreed that while it is crucial for the heritage biscuit brand to stay relevant among young consumers who grew up on the brand, the current campaign does not seem to work in the brand’s favour.

“While I’m a believer in broadening a brand’s consumption base, I’m a bigger believer in staying true to what a brand stands for. For me, this campaign reinforces the fact that Parle-G is a part of your past, while offering no role for the brand in the present. Is it tasty? Does it go well with tea or coffee? Will it give me energy? This campaign lacks the answers," said John Thangaraj, national planning director at advertising agency FCB Ulka.

Thangaraj thinks that Parle-G should try and stay relevant by continuing to appeal to its core consumers, young kids (and their mums).

Snehasis Bose, senior vice president, planning, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, feels that Parle-G is trying to do what instant noodle brand Maggi has done with its Meri Maggi campaign shifting away from children to weave nostalgia and life stories.

“Maggi has witnessed amazing traction. There is no reason why Parle-G can’t walk down a similar road to its next milestone but this is not that campaign as it fails in execution. Strategically it is a viable direction and definitely a welcome correction from the Bharat ka apna biscuit campaign. But the core elements of effortlessness and innocence which define the Parle-G equity need to be guarded," he said.

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