From ‘Jee Lalchaye Raha Na Jaye’ to ‘Bringing Hearts Closer’, Alpenliebe marks 25 years of its presence in India. We traverse through the Alpenliebe advertising journey with a dose of nostalgia.
As Doordarshan triggers nostalgia, taking us back to the 90s with the revival of path breaking shows, there would be no better time to relive our childhood and caramelise today’s Brand Saga with the Alpenliebe advertising journey.
Be it introducing us to one of the friendliest crocodiles – Mr.Munch to making us adore his chemistry and masti with Kajol to giving us various flavours to ruminate, Alpenliebe has kept its fun and quirky element intact since its inception.
India welcomes the Videsi candy
After tasting success and popularity in the European markets, Perfetti marched towards India in 1994. It merged with Van Melle in 2002 to become Perfetti Van Melle (PVM). PVMI is credited by the brand custodian to create the Indian caramelized candy segment with Alpenliebe, launched in 1995.
A hard-boiled sugar candy, Alpenliebe was rolled out in the Indian low value, low margin, and fragmented sugar confectionery market that was quite different from the market in other developed countries but very competitive nevertheless.
Alpenliebe was launched in India originally in three flavors – cream strawberry, rich milky caramel, and chocolate. Reportedly it accounted for bulk of PVMI’s revenue in the country.
P.S. The word ‘Alpenliebe’ literally means “Alpine love” in German.
Alpenliebe Advertising Journey
With multinational giants vying the candy market and the sugar confectionery segment becoming price sensitive, PVMI rolled its sleeves to invest largely in Alpenliebe’s marketing adopting the 4 Ps strategy to reach every Indian home. Initially Alpenliebe was positioned as the rich milky caramel toffee with an affordable pricing of INR 50 p or INR 1.
In the late 90s and early 2000s when the competition become stiff with players like HUL and Wrigley entering the space, Alpenliebe was reportedly spending around 15 to 22 % of its revenue on advertisements which was relatively high for a FMCG company back then.
Rohit Kapoor, Director Marketing at Perfetti Van Melle India recalls, “Alpenliebe’s India story started in 1995 and it has been a great innings for us especially on the back of some very memorable campaigns over the years. One of the initial campaigns in 1998 did well to establish Alpenliebe as family candy brand and break the ‘only for kids’ codes of the category”.
“Jab Alpenliebe ho Paas toh sab kuch maaf’ the commercial which aired on Doordarshan reminds us all the small petty fights we often got involved in with our siblings.
While most of the candies or chocolates at that time came in rectangular shape, Alpenliebe was round and placed itself as the product that spoke to the ‘child’ in us catering to age groups across the spectrum. The taglines ‘Jee Lalchaye Raha Na Jaye’ and Lagey Raho’ brought out the brand’s quirky flavour which was also reflected in its advertising.
Kapoor shares, “Alpenliebe was India’s first deposited candy in India which provided smooth, rich caramel taste. It also introduced the innovative pillow-pack packaging in the Indian market to protect the quality of the product”.
The brand tried to focus on building emotional relatibility through its TVCs showcasing family set ups, relationships and how Alpenliebe is successful in making people happier.
For Indians, Alpenliebe has always been a foreign name and a few would face difficulty in pronouncing the word. Hence the initial 30 seconds’ ads had the brand name pronounced atvleast five times to ensure that the target audience got familiar with it and pronounced it properly.
In 2002, Alpenliebe’s first flavour extension, Cream Strawberry, was launchedl the following years saw the brand launching a lollipop version of the candy yet again in three flavours, this time adding ‘cola & vanilla’. By 2002, Alpenliebe was estimated to be a more than INR 1 billion brand in India and accounted for one-third of PVMI’s revenues.
In 2005, the company also launched a center-filled candy under the brand name Abpenliebe Creamfills followed by Alpenliebe Chocoduet in 2007.
Venturing into the lollipop category, owing to its strategic marketing, Alpenliebe claimed to have emerged as the market leader in the category while moving away from the kid-centric positioning of lollipops. It was priced at mere INR 2 and targeted young and adults both. The commercials later followed the colloquial advertising pattern reverberating the tagline Lagey Raho.
There were certain products which PVMI only created keeping the Indian consumers and demands in mind. For instance Alpenliebe Creamfills was more caramilised and promoted with the tagline, Kuch Alag Achanak. It was later launched in China, Poland followed by other markets.
Since the candy and sugar-based confectionery market is largely based on impulse buying, Alpenliebe tied up with professional marketing and distribution agencies and created a string of media campaigns with high recall value.
“Then came the period of 2006, when we introduced an unusual element in our campaign, a Crocodile along with a Bollywood celebrity and that did well for us to break the clutter,” exclaimed Kapoor.
It was the first time in 10 years that the brand went for a celebrity-driven a and approach ed in Kajol.
Campaigning with Kajol paved more ways for the brand to penetrate into Indian households and focus on its acceptance. It was largely geared towards wooing Indian adults, especially parents and guardians who would ultimately lead to consumption by minors.
Alpenliebe also came up with a new tagline – Laalach Aha Laplap – which promoted the message that when a person consumes Alpenliebe, the desire and greed for the candy increases. Conceptualized by McCann India, the advertisements followed a chain of events happening between Kajol and the alligator named Mr.Munch.
In 2008, Alpenliebe forayed into co-branding with Ajay Devgn’s movie You Me Aur Hum, also releasing a TVC starring the husband-wife duo of Ajay & Kajol.
At this point, a few brand experts questioned the Alpenliebe advertising journey talking about the risk taken by the company to go in for a theme built around an animated crocodile. According to data, they felt that though the new ads scored high on attention and recall, the company risked diluting the brand image by venturing into the realms of ‘absurdism’.
Like ‘Creamfills, ‘Mangofilz’, ‘Chatapata’and more versions of Alpenliebe were launched further especially created for the Indian market and taste preferences. Later, similar ad campaigns were released featuring Kajol and the animated reptile as leads for its many variants including Juzt Jelly which was launched in 2012.
Alpenliebe – Bringing Hearts Closer
Cut to 2018, Alpenliebe played the role of a catalyst for family bonding and was positioned as a candy that “Brings Hearts Closer”. The relaunch campaign featured Boman Irani and was conceptualized by McCann Delhi.
“Our last campaign with Boman is also very special – as it conveys the Alpenliebe brings hearts closer message and builds an emotional appeal,” Kapoor quips.
The task for the agency was to dramatize the indulging experience that comes with an Alpenliebe and make it equally relevant to adults.
With the launch of Alpenliebe Chatpata and insight that light-hearted banter, wit, and a ‘chatpata’ twist add moments of laughter to the great Indian family’s everyday moments, Boman Irani reprised his role as the family patriarch in the campaign.
Recently, marking its 25 years, Alpenliebe rolled out a campaign celebrating two and a half decades of sweet indulgence in India.
The brand also activated a consumer engagement contest to help Alpenliebe families create sweet memories. It was supported by a video aired on TV and digital mediums.
Over the years, Alpenliebe has tried to build a connect with consumers on the digital medium with brand stories through right opportunities.
Alpenliebe regularly customizes its TV ads for the digital medium – ensuring brand mention/stickiness in the first 3 seconds, building intrigue and added call outs. “We also use static posts, Gif, cinemagraph, and other relevant digital properties to convey short brand stories and leverage topical events such as family day /father’s day, etc,” Kapoor shared.
Recently, it partnered with Bookaroo – a book festival encouraging families to spend time together and bond over books.
The brand has also experimented with gaming as a genre to build a connect. Digital also allows it to micro-target the right audience through various affinity- and interest-based filters.
In addition to memorable campaigns, differentiated & consistent product quality, regular roll-out of Indian palette variants to build the category have been key pillars of the Alpenliebe advertising journey.