With 40 years of rich branding history, our this week’s Brand Saga takes a look at the Rasna Advertising Journey to relive the juicy moments once again.
‘I love you Rasna’, I don’t think my love for this brand needs more words. Rasna has been a part of my growing up journey-throughout the highs and lows- as they say. Not to forget, orange is my favorite flavor ever since. Summers were awaited firstly because of the grand vacation and secondly to binge on Rasna flavors through the afternoons – remember those Rs.2 sachets? If your 80s or 90s kid you must remember trying to make popsicles out by freezing Rasna drinks.
From introducing us to the bubbly Rasna Girl to the all-new masala orange flavor to binding us emotionally through ‘Pyarelal’ to adding glamour to its advertising via celebrity faces, the Rasna advertising journey has been a juicy one.
The ‘Made In India’ Brand
Rasna likes to be touted as a stellar example of a ‘Made In India’ brand and its strength lies in product innovation, distribution network, decades of experience. The 43-year-old brand is a family-owned business and was established by Pirozsha Khambatta, Grandfather of the present Chairman and Managing Director of Rasna – Piruz Khambatta in 1976.
Rasna eventually started gaining popularity in the eighties when in 1984 they embarked on he advertising journey simultaneously taking on the world going gaga over carbonated soft drinks like Thums up, Gold Spot and Limca.
The pre-liberalisation soft drink concentrate brand joined hands with Mudra Communications and the duo gifted us with the ‘Rasna Girl’ in the form of brand mascot just like the ‘Nirma Girl’ or the ‘Amul Girl’.
Back then, the TVCs featured a family set up and sparked innocence. It focused on how during summers when the sun shines real bright evoking constant heat, a glass of cool Rasna is the perfect replacement for your evening cup of chai, targeted towards children and adults both. The ‘I love you, Rasna tagline went on to become an iconic one, also according to the reports, DDB Mudra Communications’ creative platter made Rasna one of the largest selling soft drink in 1986.
In the original ad campaign, the Rasna girl was played by Ankita Jhaveri, although following many years she was replaced by other child artistes.
During the 90s the brand also leveraged the rising cricket fever a and roped in Kapil Dev to promote it’s Yorker variant asking families to take a cricket break.
Mudra remained to be the brand’s creative aid till 2005 after which the mandate was moved to Dentsu. The association lasted till 2009. As per online reports, in a bid to keep up with the changing times Rasna too experimented with various taglines, like ‘Relish a Gain’ in 2002 symbolizes its health benefits and thirst-quenching quality and ‘Taste the Madness’ redefined the brand positioning.
In 2009, the creative mandate was again shifted and Rasna had a 93% market share in the soft drink concentrate market in India.
To communicate it’s ‘Relish a Gain’ strategy, Rasna took on board Asha Bhosle who lent her voice to sell the fruit drink concentrate. The ace singer recorded a three minute-plus jingle Rasna rozana utsav which was played across radio and TV in two weeks.
The pricing benefit…
The market was witnessing intense competition, though even international competitors like Tang were not able to make their mark and Rasna remained constant. A marketingpractise blog mentions that a smart marketing practice adopted by Rasna was to launch products at interesting price points like 50 paise, Rs.5 Rs.10, Rs.15, Rs.20 to Rs 85. The brand came out with smaller packs, Sachets and a packaging innovation like Rasna Sticks at Rs 5. These price points acted as a strong entry barrier for the competing brands.
Back to the roots
In 2011, Rasna made a comeback to its original tagline of ‘I Love You Rasna’ albeit with a fresh take. The brand kept its youthful vibe alive promoting its FruitPlus variant while keeping the focus on health benefits and the TVC was directed by Prahlad Kakkar.
After investing six months in R&D, Rasna concluded that kids who relished the ” I love you Rasna ” era have now grown up and the brand needs to establish the same connection with the next generation. The kids have shed their cute avatar to become naughty and smart. The same was reflected in the commercials.
According to DryPen, Rasna in 2010 claimed a market share of 97.2 percent (in March 2010) as against Coca-Cola’s Sunfill (2 percent); and Sugar Free (0.2 percent); the other players in the market were C Sip Vitamin C (0.0 percent) Kissan Mr. Fruit (0.1 percent) and Tang (0.5 percent) while 2011, the company had a turnover of ₹3.5 billion.
Later In 2012, Avan Khambatta the youngest daughter of Piruz Khambatta featured alongside Genelia Dsouza in an ad, again directed by Kakkar.
The ad rationale accentuated the innocent appeal to more fun and quirky avatar in 2013 when the ‘Animated America Tour ad’ was devised by Curry Nation for Rasna Fruit Fun’s ‘origin’ flavoured variants. It was taking onto the competitive real fruit juice world promising real fruit flavors combined with vitamins and minerals. The TVC was directed by E Suresh of Eeksaurus.
From ‘I Love You Rasna’ to ‘Life Me Rasna Milaofy’
Yet again, Rasna bid goodbye to it’s age-old ‘I Love You Rasna’ tagline to imbibe the millennial slang in its communication oriented towards youthful demographic, this time with ‘Life Me Rasna Milaofy’.
Economic Times quoted Khambatta saying, “We want to get out of ‘kiddy’ drink, ‘party’ drink space.” He added, “it’s a bold move by the market leader to expand the base and grow.”
“The campaign is aimed at converting the consumers of Maazas and Slices to Rasna — whether be it our powdered drink or ready-to-drink beverage. To keep up relevance, it is crucial for Rasna to garnish the brand experience with content and a context more relatable to today’s consumer”.
Here Rasna took the risk by breaking away from its ‘kids only’ image and catering to a wider group of consumers by launching new offerings.
Creating Stories- Rasna presents ‘Pyarelal Ke Bachpan Ka Pyaar’
Now it was time for the brand to ride on some emotional strings and create bonds that would appeal to a cross-section of age group. Rasna joined hands with Scarecrow Communications in 2017. The ad featured Bollywood actor, Ram Sethi (fondly known as Pyare-laal in the Hindi film industry) and Daisy Irani and captured the affection shared by the duo in different time periods portraying Rasna as a unifying factor.
The two and a half minute advert marketed heavily on YouTube had pictures of old India, reminisced history spanning decades with a 9th-century soundtrack.
The agency went ahead, next time to take a dig on Darwin’s Theory of Human Evolution and gave it a quirky spin-off, that resonates with the younger generation. The film spoke about how school kids these days are tired in a similar manner but Rasna helps them stand up in just five seconds.
The Celebrity Connection
Right from Karisma Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Anupam Kher, Paresh Rawal, Genelia D’Souza, Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor to Kapil Dev, Virender Sehwag, Saina Nehwal, Rasna is no new to the celebrity gaze in advertising.
Now with Kareena Kapoor Khan, Rasna is keeping the peppy tone upbeat with each launched variant and flavours in the market.
Juicing up the Social-Verse
Though Rasna did not really ride the ‘digital storytelling’ wave, it is doing its bit to match up the trends and live in the moment. Putting up contests and creatives suiting the situation, therefore, going the moment marketing way simultaneously keeping an eye on the competition.
From being a compulsory serving component in family gatherings to being a preferred drink for childhood birthday parties to being the mass brand, Rasna has grown from strength to strength and gifted us with cherished jingles. It won hearts, failed sometimes but did not stop experimenting and living the moment. Rasna’s journey, truly, has been a magnificent one!