Brand Saga: Parle Monaco, a namkeen journey that defined the category

Parle Monaco advertising journey

Traversing through the iconic Parle Monaco advertising journey, we take a look at its crispy branding stints and ‘namkeen’ flavored campaigns that stood the test of time.

What’s special about Sushila’s tea parties? She makes the most fascinating snacks with Parle’s Monaco Salted Snacks. The print advertisement released in 1958 created by Everest Advertising made everyone rave about the new entrant ‘Monaco’ and pegged it as a ‘must’ for tea time snacks. Serving as a multipurpose biscuit brand for almost 7 decades now, Parle Monaco advertising journey has been about adapting to changing times and bringing smiles with its humor led campaigns over the years.

Parle Monaco – The Salted Snack History

In the year 1928, Parle, helmed by Mohanlal Dalal began as the first-ever Indian-run sweet factory in the suburb of Vile Parle in then, Bombay. Setting shop in British India, the first Parle factory came up in 1929, with 12 people making confectionery. Parle aimed to cater to common Indians as against the only other domestic confectionary company, Britannia, which provided to the British.  

A decade later since its inception, the company invested in the biscuit major and launched biscuits with ‘Parle-Gluco’ in 1938 followed by ‘Parle Monaco’ in 1942. Since then, the brand has progressed with changing times and introduced different variants of Monaco crackers including Monaco Piri Piri, Jeera Cracker, Sixer Salted, Monaco Pizza – the classic regular being my absolute favorite.

Parle Monaco Advertising Journey

The 76-year-old Parle Monaco – an elite party snack, in the early 1940s, created the newest category of salted snacks in the market where the masses craved for something ‘namkeen’ and tasty to have with their ‘cup of chai’. Time and again it has been touted as the pioneer of the salted cracker category and is truly an anytime brand available desi flavors.

Introducing a new category alone wasn’t enough. With simultaneous launches of more biscuit and confectionery brands, Parle company focussed on creating a need for ‘Monaco’ within the Indian set up and went aggressive on print advertising with quirky creatives.

 

From Sushila’s tea parties to Hima’s bridge parties to selling it as the perfect two-in-one snack, Parle went all out in promoting it as the winning combo of taste and oven-fresh crispness.

 

The advertising carried specifications around its product packaging, quality, affordability, and customization in various packs according to the consumer’s needs and wants. An early bird advantage was truly benefitting for Parle as in the initial times it was successful in building a fair set of loyal consumer base.

This later paved a to the Indian tradition to get served with Monaco biscuits with in its various delectable forms with tea or other beverages in Indian homes and offices.

Humour Led Advertising

Going by its characterization of being a ‘namkeen’ brand, the helmers decided to expand their horizon to other traditional mediums with a major focus on TV and spin campaigns that would amass a larger consumer base. The objective was to tickle people’s funny bones with a dash of humor in the ad campaigns based on its theme of ‘adding spice to life’.

Parle Monaco focussed on imbibing a lighter and crisper attitude in its ads supported by its former tagline ‘crisp light Monaco for lighter moments’. In partnership with its creative agency of many years then – Everest Brand Solutions, Parle Monaco ventured into television advertising with a fresh take on things and presented a lighter side of life through commercials.

During 2003-04, the brand introduced the tagline ‘tension kyon leneka, Monaco khaneka‘ as it shifted its proposition from physical to metaphorical, promoting Monaco biscuits as an alternative to relieve stress and forget worries while having it.

Acknowledging the power and benefits of celeb-led promotions, Parle Monaco bought on board Aamir Khan as the brand ambassador in 2005 and launched a tagline ‘Life Namkeen Banaiye’ and a campaign promoting the same. The ‘Scratch’ film was targeted at teenagers, ‘Rally’ towards mature adults while the last one in the series focused on housewives.

As a reflection of his personality – a versatile actor and a perfectionist- Khan played a regular intellectual guy with smart thinking and interesting ideas in the series of commercials.

Building on its most-used proponents – crisp, light, crunchy, and salty – the series of ads featuring Khan evoked laughter and were conceptualized by Everest Brand Solutions around participative humor. The campaign insight was inspired by an often quoted statement – ‘zindagi mein namak nahi hai’ which means that ‘life is not that interesting’. Hence the proposition selected – ‘life mein namak’ always fit and worked for the Parle Monaco brand.

Also Read: Brand Saga: Gillette India, the brand that balanced hard-sell & storytelling

Till 2010, Monaco and its creative partners kept the messaging intact where it communicated the little nuances of making one’s life ‘namkeen’ (interesting) by finding humor in the most mundane activities. The company in the past has claimed that it is always committed towards learning and using the key takeaways from its previous experiences to change with the changing times.

Soon came the famous TC ad featuring Vrajesh Hirjee. The campaign however, was condemned by a few stating that it was about troubling others for no reason rather which is not a ‘funny’ thing to do. Following the critical reviews, the Parle company kept its Monaco advertising journey subtle and humor which never came at cost of others.   

How can we forget the vegetable vendor and the smart aunty’s antics in the commercial where she outdoes his cunning acts with her quirk quotient with Monaco at her side. The memories remain unfazed.  

In 2009, the company entered the health snack category with the launch of Monaco Smart Chips and continued with the ‘Aamir Khan’ charm in its advertising where he can be seen spreading awareness about the benefits of ‘baked chips’ over fried ones and that snacking can be healthy too.

This was yet another feat by Parle in terms of keeping up with the trends, since its research showed that the people have become more conscious of ‘healthy eating’. The film was created by Thoughtshop Advertising and directed by Amit Sharma of Chrome Pictures. Keeping the humorous touch constant, the creators did not aim to put a serious tag on health and sound preachy. The idea was to peg Monaco Smart Chips as adventurous and sporty.

Later in 2013, with a new tagline ‘Anytime is Monaco time’, the brand weaved a refreshing take on its positioning with an aim to break the clutter rolling out nine 5 seconder ads. Conceptualised by Everest Brand Solutions, the nine TVCs highlighted instances in a person’s daily life. While the primary TG for the campaign was set as 25-45 years female, Monaco aimed to delight the whole family.

In a prèss statement, Dhunji S Wadia, President, Everest Brand Solutions highlighted that 5seconds is a tough concept. He stated, “It is incredibly short to view, so the communication needed to be crisp and connect instantly, else it can get lost. Nine TVCs in a similar vein, yet differentiated, take a lot of ideating, messaging and brand connect. Each TVC spells out in a fun manner the product, use, audience, and message.”

Parle launched ‘Naam toh suna hi hoga’ campaign in 2017 during the Indian Premier League leveraging the cricket fever across the nation. Launched as an integrated brand campaign which, showcased a portfolio of brands and a message that strongly links each of these brands back to the mother brand, Parle. 

Conceptualized by Taproot Dentsu, the campaign featured four TVCs. The films were a humorous take on the daily lives of Indians stuck in awkward situations – a friend-zoned boy confronting his crush, an employee being questioned by his boss, a school principal complaining to a mother, two women bragging about their lifestyle. Parle and its products featured as an integral part of the narrative, helping them realize what the characters are unaware of.

Adding more variants to its portfolio like the Monaco Cream Cracker sandwich and Parle Monaco Pizza art gallery knows how to lure in the trendy consumers and go with the flow.

Krackjack and Monaco are among the oldest brands in the Parle pack. To celebrate the milestone, market Parle launched #ToNewBeginnings to build its millennial credentials. The multilingual campaign captured the essence in a fun yet light-hearted manner building on emotions.  

Monaco on Digital

It is surprising that a legacy brand like Monaco from the House of Parle does not have a dedicated social media profile but is rather promoted through the parent company’s social media channels, featuring product variants, announcements, and campaign details.

However, Monaco’s reach is testimony to the fact that the brand has carved a niche for itself in the form of multipurpose snacks and hundreds of food bloggers and even consumers like you and me have experimented with its various uses.

The company also puts its efforts into primarily placing ‘Monaco’ as the party starter where it can be served in different forms including dressing, with dips, toppings as canapés,  fried with spicy batter for pakoras and cutlets to using it as a sandwich filling –  the savories are unmissable with tidbits of Monaco in or on it.

The YouTube page of Parle Products boasts of various recipes out of Monaco and a simple hashtag search #ParleMonaco on Instagram and Facebook will lead you to innumerable food ideas – be it a Monaco chaat or a timepass sandwich.

People from all classes and age groups have relished the joys of laughter induced Parle Monaco advertising journey as the biscuit brand continues to deliver taste and health being a staple in the remotest Indian homes.


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