Brand Saga: Milton’s 50 years of defining ‘Kuch Naya Sochte Hain’

Milton advertising journey

The homeware brand, Milton, completes 50 years in 2020 and we were bound to deep dive into Milton advertising journey kickstarting our new year edition of Brand Saga.

Don’t we all get nostalgic about our big red water bottle and that fancy tiffin box we all carried to our schools and claimed to be our prized possession? Our parents aren’t missing the bus to a memory lane either, a lot of their lunchtime office stories revolved around the popular steel tiffin or the hot case popularly known. What is common in all these memories is a half-century-old brand called Milton. And as we all evolved so did Milton houseware products with us. 

Milton in recent times was also honoured with “Brand of the Year” award at the World Branding Awards 2019. The international award ceremony held at Kensington Palace, London recognized and celebrated some of the best global and national brands for their work and achievements with Milton being the only brand in India alongside brands like Cadbury in the UK. 

As the year 2020 marks Milton’s 50 years of presence in India simultaneously being recognized as one of the prestigious brands on a global stage, there couldn’t have been a better time to trace the journey of this age-old brand which triggers nostalgia like no other. With this, we kickstart the New Year edition of our Brand Saga series exploring the Milton advertising journey in its simplest form. 

The Inception  

The 1970s witnessed the birth of Milton as a partnership firm and manufactured houseware products. Since then the company has established a network of over 55,000 retailers and a host of strategically-placed manufacturing units across India; this has allowed it to constantly move forward in its endeavour to innovate better and more efficient products for its customers.

Strengthening its marketing game, in 1999, the company decided to introduce new ranges of houseware products and claimed to have been conceptualized with the endeavor to providing innovative and efficient houseware products to customers that bring convenience to life. The brand further launched a range of products that are inspired by the day-to-day lives of the modern Indian customer and offer solutions to everyday problems. Some of the products in the Milton portfolio include bottles, casseroles, tiffins, flasks, jars to name a few. Milton, along with Claro, Spotzero, and Treo, is a part of the Hamilton Group of companies.

The brand also claims that this deep unwavering commitment to bring a positive change to the everyday lives of consumers has won them consumer loyalty in India, and across more than 60 countries worldwide.

The Milton Ad Nama

While online research doesn’t give you many clues about Milton’s advertising and marketing strategy in the initial years, the brand had its mandate with BMB India, advertising unit of Madison World. The company-agency duo leveraged festive seasons and came up with outdoor, print and traditional campaigns to promote various offers.

‘Kuch Naya Sochte Hain’ with Milton

It was in 2014 that Milton India weaved its first brand campaign, ‘Kuch Naya Sochte Hain’, to highlight the brand’s philosophy of solving life’s problems through thoughtful innovations. Ogilvy & Mather conceptualized five films as part of this campaign to demonstrate one product innovation in each film. Two films, titled ‘Electron Tiffin’ and ‘Thermosteel Flask’ depicted an Army man who gets his meals and tea hot and fresh, thanks to Milton’s Thermosteel flask and Electron Tiffin. The product attributes are cleverly woven into a female voiceover, which belongs to the Army man’s wife.

In an earlier press statement on the campaign, Mahesh Gharat and Azazul Haque, Group Creative Directors, O&M– Mumbai, had stated, “The idea was to portray the intuitiveness of the woman and the innovation of the brand through sweet, relatable stories. And to crack a unique treatment that helps in storytelling and becomes a signature style for Milton. So we thought of the voice of woman pre-empting what happens next in the story. It sounds fresh and charming.”

The films were heavily promoted during Republic Day in the year 2015 and were run across traditional and online media channels.

The other films, ‘Pickle Jar TVC’ reflected the mindset of any health-conscious person who is in love with his Pickle Jar. Someone who doesn’t want to think twice before picking up a spoon full of his delicious pickle.

Milton extended the campaign till February under the same philosophy of ‘Kuch Naya Sochte Hain’ with a new TVC for Milton’s Crisp Casserole. The story revolved around a husband returns home late, and tries hard not to disturb his wife for dinner. Yet at the middle of the night wife has already ensured he not only enjoys hot sabzi, but also hot and crisp rotis.

Another Milton Glass Lid Casserole TVC also picked up from a moment between a couple together from years, where the wife knows her husband well, and before he asks for “Khaane me kya h”, the glass lid casseroles are there to answer.

In 2016, Milton came back with its fifth film showcasing a first-of-its-kind casserole called MicroWow. The film, conceptualized by Ogilvy Mumbai, promoted the casserole as a hot update.

The film talked about the delightful moment in a mother-daughter relationship, where a tech-savvy teenage daughter looks at her mum in awe. It also reiterated that how in the digital-savvy world people are losing on time and that’s when Milton products come for the rescue.

India’s First TVC on iPhone

2017 was one of the landmark years in Milton’s advertising journey, where its agency of record Ogilvy created India’s first TVC shot on an iPhone for the brand’s newly launched Leak Lock Steel Tiffin. Milton aimed at upping the standard of innovation by implementing leak-proof technology in the quintessential steel tiffin while leak-proof plastic tiffins have been in the market for a while.

The film depicted the daily routine journey of the tiffin from home to office, through regular city life and this entire journey was filmed on an iPhone. 

Milton’s audience has always been the intuitive Indian woman who anticipates her family’s unspoken needs and goes about solving them. Through simple yet thoughtful innovations the brand helps her effortlessly care for her family. In this case, the Leak Lock Steel Tiffin ensured that no two dishes get mixed inside the tiffin.

The story behind ‘Kahaan Ka Piya’

With Kahaan Ka Piya?’, Milton positions the product as a travel essential for every explorer and shifted its focus on Gen Z. The campaign released in 2018 aimed to connect with the youth of India by means of a solo traveller’s journey, appealing to their sense of adventure and self-discovery.

Conceptualised by Ogilvy India, the two and a half minute long film portrays a solo vacationer’s journey across the country, capturing the beauty of travel and a world of opportunities. The thrill of solo travelling has witnessed an increasing interest by women over the last few years and Milton’s new TVC is an ode to this trend. Treating self to a one-of-kind experience, the young traveller’s escapades feature the bottle as her sole companion as she explores different parts of India in diverse weather conditions, from the hot and dry climate in a beautiful sandy desert to the cold and minus degree temperatures of magnificent snow-covered terrains. The background music with its apt chorus, ‘Tune Kahaan ka Piya’ questions the viewers and encourages them to tread onto unfamiliar terrains and explore the unexplored with Milton

On the campaign thought, Anurag Agnihotri– Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy India was quoted saying, “KahaanKaPiya? How many rivers, lakes, streams and seas have you crossed? How much of the world have you seen? That’s the question this commercial poses to all the young people sitting at their desks, in offices or colleges, to go out there and explore the world. It’s a perfect communication fit especially when it comes from a brand that offers top quality and innovations in its products”.

The idea hence was to break a pre-conceived yet a very strong notion about the brand  by introducing a stylish, young and cool looking range of Thermosteel bottles – to make a shift from the younger audience’s perspective of Milton as a typical flask used by the elder generation – to a stylish and multipurpose must-have travel accessory.

Of solving India’a ‘Rozi Roti’ problem

In the same year, Milton weaved a TVC titled ‘Rozi Roti: Milton Microwow Tiffin’  that aptly communicated the brand proposition of easing consumer lives by providing India’s office-goers with intelligent tiffin solutions to make lunchtime enjoyable without hampering their daily work commitments.

The ad’s jingle & Khaana 2 min garam karo, aur 2 ghante garam rakho & accurately depicts the product proposition of Microwow tiffin as the perfect solution to today’s fast-paced lives allowing consumers to heat their food in the same tiffin in just two minutes and enjoy it hot and fresh anytime later at their convenience.

Stating the campaign objective, Ajay Vaghani, Managing Director at Hamilton Housewares said in a press statement, “The campaign highlights the underlying culture of lunch-breaks and the dilemma of every office-goer in India today. The high- standard high-pressure workplace makes one settle for cold food and rushed lunches. Small joys of having hot home-made food get compromised. Our product solves a real problem of finding the right balance between lunch breaks and work. The communication focuses on the solution by highlighting the core benefit of our tiffin while taking the viewer on a journey that is both engaging and entertaining”.

For the kids

Being inclusive and also in its target audiences, Milton launched a Hands-free Sipper Bottles for children, carrying forward the brand’s message ‘Kuch Naya Sochte Hain’.

The launch was supported by a TVC aimed to resolve a common concern among parents of children being prone to germs while playing. The film encouraged mothers to let their children embrace their curiosity and cherish each adventure. 

Conceptualised by Ogilvy, the film shows a young girl exploring her surroundings and enjoying the outdoors. The message of the film has been captured through the voiceover of a watchful mother, narrating the story of her daughter’s escapades. The girl is seen climbing a tree, peeking into a bird’s nest and spending her time in her comfort.

Also Read: Milton asks Gen Z – Kahaan Ka Piya?

Milton and the Metro Millenial Love

In October  2019, Milton released a new TVC titled ‘Metro’ for its Thermosteel range of water bottles. The film brings to life the colorful range of Thermosteel bottles which is sure to catapult it as the hottest ‘must-have’ product for millennials. The TVC aimed to strike a chord with the youth. The brand showcases how their wide range of bottle colors reflects the dynamic personalities of today’s youngsters, perfectly carrying forward the brand’s message, ‘Kuch Naya Sochte Hain’.

The TVC showcases the ability of today’s youth to make connections through engaging unspoken moments; it captures how a millennial conversation takes place today; it is not always through words, but through unique, quirky and colorful ways that they express themselves and their feelings.

Mastering the Digital Advertising Art

While Milton’s mainstream advertising has been the point fo discussion for years, its digital presence has gained limelight in recent times. The brand has been promoting its campaigns across social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

For instance, during the launch of ‘Kahaan Ka Piya’, the brand went all out on social media utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram to the core while generating the campaign recall by posting about it regularly since it’s inception in mid-August.

Milton had also launched a microsite for the Kahaan Ka Piya positioning and takes the conversation ahead.

Later, in a bid to highlight the number of colours the brand has launched these products in, Milton took to social media with #ColorsOfMilton. These posts came out during Navratri and were created in sync with the festive season. With more than 1k posts on Instagram, Milton’s Instagram presence is as colourful as its homeware collection.

With the launch of Milton Rhythm Bottle, the brand roped in celebrity choreographer Melvin Louis and actress Harleen Sethi to roll out dance challenge #MiltonWithMelvin #MiltonDanceAnywhere.

The Milton saga is something to reckon as the brand has been on a steady ride for five decades triggering nostalgia while its products ready to serve us for many more years.

The one thing common in all of Milton’s communication over the years is the love that we share for our school day tiffin meals in relishing them in Milton dabbas, reminds us of daily office-squabbles for hot food from our colleagues’ lunch boxes, or invokes memories of so many houseware products that brought convenience to life.