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Nov 09 2015

Maggi Looks Back at Indian Mothers as Brand Advocates


Maggi is one of the most loved food products to a lot of Indians for its taste and convenience and hence, Nestle has a bigger task of creating a similar or better image of Maggi now. And it seems that Maggi's target audience, in early 1980s India, was much the same as it is now.


As per BBC, in its first ads in the country, When Maggi instant noodles arrived in India in 1983 with its "two-minute noodles" advertising campaign on state-run television with which Maggi launched itself turned out to be an instant attraction because of its liberating message for women.


The brand popularized the image of the "Maggi Mom": the Indian woman who cared for her children as much as the more-traditional Indian mother, but, as a modern working woman, didn't have the time to make time-consuming curries. 'Kids loved Maggi; moms loved making Maggi' was the thought the brand propagated. And since Nestle India has cleared all tests for its newly manufactured Maggi noodles, it has kickstarted its marketing campaign in order to create positivity around the product.


In its recent attempt, Nestle has launched a digital campaign with three films announcing Maggi being safe. Interestingly, the films are showing mothers sharing their joy on Maggi being announced as a safe product.


Conceptualized by McCann Erickson, this campaign consists of multiple films, including two in Hindi and one in Tamil. The mothers in the film raise their concern that when Maggi was banned, they were forced to think whether or not they had done right thing by allowing their children to eat Maggi all this while. The films are doing rounds in social media conversations. It will be interesting to see how Nestle builds on this campaign.


Mothers' Maggi?

The series of ads came after the brand had earlier targeted single men with advertisements following food safety scares. And now the brand is trying to woo another group of consumers ahead of the return of its instant noodles to India: worried moms. Will this strategy pay?


KV Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer, SapientNitro points out that it is a fabulous strategy to restore the confidence of people. "Bringing mothers to the forefront strengthens the belief and develop deeper affinity with the brand. These ads are not about selling Maggi but the thoughts which people had in mind about the brand. The advertising has brought it out very nicely," he opines.


Elvis Sequeira, COO, Hakuhodo India also finds this strategy of targeting mothers as brand advocates as absolutely right. "Using mothers to stamp their seal of approval would have been the obvious, and perhaps the only route to take, as opposed to taking a celebrity endorser (and I'm sure there were none of them willing to take the risk in the light of the controversy surrounding the brand and endorsers). The strategy will go some way in assuaging doubts about the safety of the product, but I still think that it will be quite a while before everyone stops thinking about it with a little suspicion, especially where the health of their children is concerned," shares Sequeira.


To this, Nisha Singhania, Co-Founder, Infectious, adds that it is a good idea to reassure mothers on Maggi. "When Maggi was banned, most mothers questioned their decision to let their kids eat Maggi. It was a big letdown for them. And for a brand like Maggi, having moms on their side is always a good idea," points out Singhania.


Nestle India is not keeping any stone unturned to promote the brand as everyone's favourite. Nestle had also released a print campaign across the national and regional dailies to announce that it is safe for consumption.


Narayan Devanathan, CEO, Dentsu Creative Impact&nbsp;feels that the current campaign is a natural step and a part of a larger strategy by the brand. "Moms are their other big constituency (along with the kids), so taking the "my faith in the brand won over my doubts in its troubled times" track is a wise, if expected, step in the strategy. But I think that there is more to this strategy. Bringing parents to the forefront is probably just one phase of its comeback strategy. A brand as large, with as varied a consumer base, will not put all its eggs in only one basket," shares Devanathan.


As per Sridhar, what the ad does best is that help people feel more confident about the brand. "Maggi has emerged as a brand that can handle any onslaught. It can withstand any story. It is from the category of Coke, Pepsi and Cadbury, which have stood every test of time. Interestingly when Cadbury faced a problem it showed Amitabh Bachchan in the brands production facility. In this it has taken moms who have cleared every doubts," shares Sridhar.


Creative Comeback?

For the record, Nestle pulled hundreds of millions of packets of its Maggi noodles from store shelves this year after Indian food regulators alleged the product contained levels of lead above permissible limits. Nestle maintained its noodles were safe to eat and that is own tests hadn't detected illegally high-levels of the toxic metal.


Later, court-ordered retesting of the noodles failed to find lead or any other harmful ingredients. Nestle was cleared to start producing the noodles again last week but said it would not sell them until newly-manufactured product batches were cleared as well. The company said testers had passed the new noodle batches, paving the way for the return of the popular snack. But does a popular product like Maggi need a comeback campaign at all, especially when people are eagerly waiting for the brand to get back to the stores?


As per Sridhar, there were a lot of people who were quiet when Maggi was banned because they were confused about what was happening. "People were not sure what the government was doing. They were also not very sure about what the government was pointing in the ingredients. But it did raise questions in the mind of people. So now when the Maggi will be re-launched, people who are closest to the brand will consume it and others who have their doubts, will join them once they see other people consuming it. Hence a comeback campaign will add more people in the queue waiting for their Maggi."


Originally published on www.adageindia.in

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Sapient, part of Publicis.Sapient, is a global services company that helps clients transform in the areas of business, marketing, and technology. The company operates three divisions that enable clients to gain a competitive advantage and succeed in an increasingly digital world. SapientNitro, Sapient Global Markets, and Sapient Government Services fuse insight, creativity, and technology to drive innovation and to help clients navigate complex business problems. Our approach is the subject of case studies used by MBA programs at Harvard and Yale. The company has operations in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. For more information, visit http://www.sapient.com.