Keeping it sweet

Keeping it sweet


Prathap Suthan is the chief explorer at brand consultancy The Advisory, and chief creative officer at iYogi, an information technology company. With around 23 years experience in advertising, Suthan is best known for the India Shining and Incredible India campaigns. He has also worked on brands such as Vimal, GE Capital, ONGC and Samsung.


The new campaign for Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate, by Ogilvy & Mather India, showcases ads which feature a family at the dinner table enjoying meetha or something sweet after their meal.

What did you think of the campaign?

I’d be the zillionth person to like this campaign. But no harm writing about something that makes me smile from inside when I watch them. Even at the risk of sounding redundant. Sure enough, the fact that we look forward to meetha at the end of dinner is a fabulous insight. And I have always believed that ferreting out a true insight, or natural behaviour, and springing creative from within that is bull’s-eye technique.

The magic of this campaign is exactly that. Believable truth and familiar moments—a mirror of our own lives. Compelling to make anyone overlook the freckles and pimples, and celebrate home.

Do you think the brand has succeeded in positioning chocolate as a dessert for everyone, as opposed to just for children?

Positioning wise, this is a case study. I now get it that chocolates can be dessert material. It has been wedged into my head. But then, this is Mahabharat territory. And an epic battle for Cadbury. Though unfortunately, this is the only road to gain wider Indian percentage. The odds are staggering. It calls for a change in habit, change in tradition, change in culture, change of acquired taste, and change of wallet share. And in a society that’s getting health conscious, they have to fight for mental, physical and calorie space with fruits, ice creams, and a billion Indian sweets—and their diet versions. Besides, how can you replace the mithas of mother-made, wife-made, and other home-made goodies? Even Cadbury would agree.

What must brands keep in mind while trying to negotiate a space which has been held by tradition or local brands?

Common sense is a good idea. Because market expansion is tricky. It will need David and his catapult. The problem begins with chocolate being an impulse buy. It doesn’t make the grocery list. And certainly threatens middle-class budgets. Besides, in India, chocolate is about special indulgence. A gift for a job well done. Considering that Cadbury has consistently invested in the above routes, commandeering people into the daily meetha framework is a toughie. Chocolate again doesn’t go with Indian food even as dessert. Much like wine isn’t quite the right accompaniment to mutton biryani. I can see more chocolate being bought for impulsive reasons.

As told to Gouri Shah