Garnished with chatpatapan and adding twists to this throwback Thursday is the Kurkure advertising journey – no less than a family pack offering varied marketing flavours, one ad at a time.
Those were the days when Sunday evenings called for the sofa to be occupied by close family members catching up with TV supplemented by garma-garam adrak wali chai and a family pack of Kurkure. Though the family structures and the gathering system have somewhat lost its charm in this highly fragmented digital world, the chai and that packet of Kurkure remain constant and so does the Kurkure advertising journey.
We dive into the brand’s strategy panning two decades of concocting marketing formulae to grab as many tedhe eyeballs to becoming the quintessential Indian snack.
Born in the 90s
Pepsico introduced Lehar, a savory snack brand, in 1996 and three years later in 1999 launched Kurkure as a sub-brand. With a bright orange packaging, the corn puffed snack looked contemporary and was created with an aim to redefine ‘namkeen’ for Indians.
Lehar Kurkure, in its initial years, was positioned as ‘Familiar taste in an Innovative format’. In her book titled ‘Storm The Norm’, Anish Motwani, shares Kurkure’s starting journey; she mentions that with its zesty, multi-sensorial taste that was energizing and mood transforming, and as a consumer once put it, an ‘item number in the mouth’, it was launched with the tagline: ‘Kya karen, control nahin hota’ to drive home the addictive taste of the product, commencing the Kurkure advertising journey.
Kurkure rooted itself in the family social context and became a commentator on the changing Indian family. It professed that families that snacked together, laughed together, stayed together.
P.S: Lehar Kurkure used traditional Indian ‘kitchen ingredients’ like rice, lentils, corn and Indian masala seasoning; and the story goes that it took 220 trials to get our snack, Kurkure right. Consumer testing had people loving the crunchiness and saying it was very ‘kurkura’ (crunchy) — and from there came the name.
Moments of Togetherness with Kurkure
2001 witnessed Kurkure getting launched as an independent brand and stepping out of the Lehar portfolio. It was also the time when the company tried to focus more on building consumer bonds. That’s when we saw Kurkure being positioned as a family snack. During this time, Pepsico roped in Draftfcb+Ulka (Now FCB Ulka) to communicate the product positioning and keep ‘Family togetherness’ at the core of the communication.
Enter- Juhi Chawla
There were more players entering the snacking market and it became challenging for everyone to keep pace with consumers’ insatiable want for salty snacks. Kurkure had to maintain its position and to advertise its uniqueness brought onboard star actress Juhi Chawla. The campaigns featuring Chawla at her eccentric best combined with bizarre family dramas.
With ‘Is Kahani Mein Kurkure hona chaahiye’ the commercials spoofed popular Indian TV shows such as ‘Jassi Jaise Koi Nahin’, ‘Saas bhi Kabhi bahu thi’, ‘Anarkali’ with – ‘Kahaani mein twist.
Kurkure found an apt fit in Juhi Chawla who congruously defined the brand’s core values of ‘Infectious, Irrepressible Spontaneity’ through her presence.
Moving on to ‘Chai Time Masti Bole toh Kurkure’
After tasting success with Kurkure Masti, in 2005 Kurkure planned to launch more sub-categories and flavors. To further regularise Kurkure’s consumption, the brand identified the evening tea time as one of the major consumer consumption moments.
Kurkure set onto target the homemaker who desired ‘Evening Tea’ as the moment of changing gears, act as the moderator who brought people together in a living room to chat – the moment was introduced as ‘Chai time Masti Bole To Kurkure!’
Further strengthening the ‘The Kurkure Family’, the brand started plugging in ‘Family ‘Teatime Moments’ in its communication, simultaneously launching two sub-brands ’Kurkure Solid Masti’, as new age substantial indulgent snack option for that ‘evening peckishness’ & ‘Kurkure Masti Squares’, as an aid to the homemaker who desires to create versatile snacks for her family during Teatime.
When both the sub-brands failed to meet the company expectations and generate sales, Kurkure came up with consumer engagement initiatives like ‘Kurkure Mast Family Jackpot’ ‘Kurkure Jump for the Cup’ (during the ICC World Cup’07) and ‘Kurkure Chai Time Achievers’.
The winning families would have their photograph featured on one million Kurkure packs.
Kurkure Chaitime Achievers was reportedly the first-ever Consumer-generated participation move in the history of Advertising in India – 100,000 responses in just 6 weeks, and Sales growth of 19% over the previous year were recorded. Kurkure advertising journey created an industry first.
Meanwhile, in 2008, Kurkure faced stiff competition from Bingo Mad Angles attracting the younger generation with new-age communication. To combat it, Kurkure launched its ‘X-treme’ limited edition of flavors to re-enforce Kurkure’s position and bolster up it’s positioning of ‘always doing the Unexpected’.
Iconic – Tedha Hai Par Mera Hai’
In tune with its portfolio promotion, ‘Chala Change Ka Chakkar’, launched in 2008, Pepsico India rolled out a fresh 360-degree campaign for Kurkure, repositioning the “Masti” co-efficient to a “tedha” one as a part of the Kurkure advertising journey.
In late 2008 Kurkure repositioned itself as the ‘Rangeela Indian snack that celebrates ‘Everyday Imperfections’. The insight then was rooted in confident Indians who are no longer striving to be perfect but are comfortable about their imperfections and quirks.
This also gave birth to Kurkure’s evergreen stance of ‘Tedha Hai Mera Hai’ which brought the much-required edginess. With an array of commercials pegged around the tagline, Kurkure reclaimed its charm.
Such was the impact of the tagline and its recall that we even started applying it in our daily life when we termed our quirky loved ones as ‘Tedha hai par mera hai’.
Also Read: Social Media Strategy Review: Kurkure
With yet another sub-brand, Kurkure Desi Beats, targeted specifically at youth, Kurkure looked at creating regional relevance by associating with regional festivals. It took upon itself to bring a fresh wave of wind in the Indian marriage systems and urged families to adapt to the idea of marrying outside one’s caste and religion.
Bebo’s role in Kurkure advertising journey
While Juhi Chawla continued pouring in her cheerful charm in Kurkure’s communication, the brand signed Kareena Kapoor for promoting its Kurkure Desi Beats: Crunchy Wheat from the house of Frito-Lay, Pepsi’s snack division. The launch was supported by an integrated campaign featuring Kapoor. JWT (Now Wunderman Thompson) -created TVC, shot in the fields of Punjab, juxtaposes an urban Kapoor with her desi avatar.
The TVC, while promoting the brand extension, reiterates the ‘No fun without desipann’ positioning and was directed by Imtiaz Khan.
2010 saw Kurkure gearing up for some ‘ingredient-centric’ launches including ‘Funjabi Kadai Masala’, made of Rajma inspired by the food culture in Punjab. In promoting this particular variant, the commercials were devised keeping the ingredient at its core with an objective to build behavioral/cultural nuances around it like the exuberant, zesty Punjabi Culture.
Bringing back Family Time
Rebounding back to the family time stance, Kurkure in a bid to bringing people together, took to champion ‘Spend Time with Family’ movement in 2010. The brand invited families to come up with ‘Tedha Fun idea to spend time with Family’ and the winning entry was granted a family trip to Disneyland Hongkok.
With the movement, Kurkure advertising journey attempted to sensitize everyone about family time which has got replaced with individual time in the internet age. An extension to the thematic brand campaign ‘Kurkure 20% Extra Large Bag’ was launched in 2011.
The ‘Tedha Hai Par Mera Hai’ Family
In 2012, Kurkure took to revamping its brand identity while also amplifying its ‘Tedha hai par mera hai’ stance. The brand, as part of the initiative, created ‘Kurkure screen family’ and launched a campaign featuring Parineeti Chopra.
Along with Chopra, the company also roped in Kunal Kapoor, Farida Jalal, Boman Irani, Ramyakrishnan and Shivansh. The new bevy of ambassadors brought forward an unconventional yet relatable modern Indian family to take forward Kurkure’s journey in the Indian snack market.
The series of ad campaigns had the actors playing different roles and depicting a new generation family with traditional values, conceptualized by JWT Delhi.
Identifying the value of star connection and relatability value, Kurkure further leveraged the actors in various commercials while adding a twist to Kurkure’s marketing tale with their class characters. Be it promoting Kurkure Masala Munch Super Saver Pack or the Celebrity Vine series or responding to #WhySoSweet.
Also, know for its festive marketing gimmicks, Kurkure leveraged major festivals like Diwali. In 2012, it weaved ‘Zyada meetha ho gaya…’ introducing Kurkure as a Diwali gifting option as opposed to traditional sweets.
Sharing the creative thought behind the ad-film, Bobby Pawar, ex-Chief Creative Officer, JWT India had shared, “Indians love to get together for fun-filled family moments, which is what our latest campaign aims to bring alive. The concept is stemming from the thought that we all have large social circles and can’t escape from leaving extended family/ friends out of a ‘small’ gathering”.
Kurkure occupied 60 percent of the category share at this point of time.
Meanwhile ‘Butter ka mazza, Kurkure ka tadka’ featuring Parineeti Chopra and Kunal Kapoor brought to life the great-tasting combination of – butter and a spicy twist in true Kurkure style in 2015.
Digitally-powered Kurkure Family Express
Kickstarting a new consumer initiative, Pepsico, in 2016 launched Kurkure Family Express. The specially assigned train by IRCTC traveled major parts of India with many Indian families discovering their love for Kurkure.
Kurkure also launched a host of new products, taking the number of offerings in their portfolio to 30 with 15 new snack offerings like South Tangy Twist, Chiwda Mix for the West, Punjabi Chatka, Shahi Mix, Navratan Mix to address the diverse Indian palate. The campaign was in line with its objective to bring Indian families together on the train since they have become more distant and more device distracted.
It was also touted as one of the highly digitally driven campaigns from the brand conceptualized by The Glitch. Trains are the quintessentially about families, conversation and snacking and hence build synergies for Kurkure. Kurkure Family Express, launched during the holiday season had food aficionados Rocky Singh and Mayur Sharma hosting 40 different families across the four zones over an eight-day journey across India.
Four lucky families were granted an all-expenses-paid culinary trip to Europe. They were also given a chance to be the face of the Kurkure brand and get featured on Television Commercials, Digital platforms, and other marketing initiatives.
From Twistkeen to Mango Achaari Triangles to Kurkure Chaat, every flavor got its share of promotion under the Kurkure umbrella.
Cut to November 2019, Kurkure’s new positioning ‘Khayal toh Chatpata hai’ celebrated progressive thinking that young Indian homemakers bring in to traditional families.
As Kurkure embarked on a new journey with a promise to add more fun and excitement to family time, the brand announced its new positioning, with Bollywood actress, Taapsee Pannu.
With this, Kurkure continued its efforts to recognize the Indian homemaker, who has been the central force in bringing families together. The new positioning highlights progressive ideologies that the homemaker holds today.
Further dialing Indian homemakers as the central force, Kurkure joined hands with ZEEL and Mindshare’s Content+ where protagonists of eight network channels’ shows delivered a thought-provoking script; enabling their families to take a step towards embracing forward-thinking through fun and intelligent humor with Kurkure at the core.
Commenting on the association, M K Machaiah (Mac), President, Content +, Mindshare South Asia had shared that for Kurkure’s proposition of ‘Khayaal To Chatpata Hai’, the team identified top serial plots that could bring alive the brand story in a context that’s relevant to Indian families.
Bringing back the ‘Mascot’ Charm
She is here to represent the largest workforce in the world – the homemakers. She stands synonymous to Chief Operating Officer of the house, whom we admire for her ideologies, and dedication, hidden powers that keep the house running in order. This is how Kurkure, one of the eight INR 1,000-crore-plus brands for the Pepsico company, introduced its newest brand mascot Ms.Kurkure.
Launched by Taapsee Pannu, the chatpata avatar of Ms. Kurkure was conceptualized by Wunderman Thompson to foster conversations on colloquial topics.
Varun Channa, Sr VP & Managing Partner, Wunderman Thompson was quoted saying, “The idea is to create a unique brand identity on a digital platform – which will stand out in the clutter. It allowed us to visually show the quirky Kurkure humor that consumers love.”
Kurkure on Digital
While initiatives like Kurkure Family Express and Ms. Kurkure have been digitally-driven, Krkure snacks’ social media pages are abuzz with creatives around the latest talk of the town.
Kurkue’s Instagram page also boasts of animated series like #PadosiWaliFamily and #NewPlaceNewFriends emphasizing relationships and bonds thereby humanizing virtual content. The creatives are cross-posted across social platforms.
Embodying the spirit of India, Kurkure has positioned itself as ‘The Made in India Brand’ even before Modiji’s ‘Made In India’ policy came into being. Its advertising journey justifies the tangy and ‘chatpatapan’ it offers.