Featured in 4Ps magazine

Over the weekend the latest issue of 4Ps would have hit the stands. I have been featured in an article called ‘Marketers@War’, which is about the marketing war between Cadbury’s & Nestle. The questionnaire that came by from the correspondent Shephali Bhatt and the answers I shared are here. The link for the final article is not up on the site yet. Will share once I get it!

  • How aggressive, in your opinion, have both the brands been, in marketing their various chocolate variants?

If I have to consider all facets of marketing (not just communications), I believe that Cadbury’s has been relatively more aggressive. In my opinion, their distribution strengths far exceed that of Nestle. Also, regular promotion strategy for new products and festive seasons are highly catchy as compared to the Nestle stable. The focus shown by Cadbury’s in having different SKUs in the chocolates segment is again superior. You will always find something at every price point by Cadbury’s and I think it starts at Rs.2/-

  • Though Cadbury Dairy Milk(CDM) occupies a major share of the entire market, one doesn’t see advertisements of variants like Fruit & Nuts, Crackles or Wowie. Do you think that affects the consumer mindset in anyway?

Not necessary to advertise the other variants. The strategy could be to get the consumer to ‘ask’ for a particular (maybe the cheapest) variant in your stable. Since Chocolates are ‘low-involvement’ & ‘high-impulse buying’ products, they would almost always be ready to pay that Rs.10 or Rs.20 extra to go for the other variants. Especially Wowie, which I have never seen advertisements of. But consider this scenario when a family is walking through the aisles of a super market looking at CDM & the kid spots Wowie. The consequences will be far higher than the parents can imagine if the kid doesn’t get it! J

I always go to a store with the determination to not buy chocolates, but end up buying a crackle or Fruit & Nuts. Not as much of CDM though it is evergreen!

  • What are your thoughts on Nestle Kit Kat’s squirrel commercial? Do you think Nestle’s recent marketing campaigns have been able to oust the impact of Cadbury in the crunchy chocolate category? ( Cadbury: Perk, 5 Star Crunchy. Nestle: Kitkat, Munch)

The Squirrel commercial was heart warming. No doubt about that. The insight, the creative & the execution were to perfection. But the campaign could not survive the onslaught of Cadbury’s muscle of being present all around the Nestle communication, distribution and the variants at every price point. Though Kit Kat is a lovely product, I think they must do something far reaching like the Jesus in Kit Kat (Dutch viral) to outdo the effects of Cadbury’s. The products from the Nestle stable are as good or better, but should have more muscle or that ‘one great idea’ to outdo Cadbury’s.

  • Nestle launched fresh campaign for Bar One late last year. Would you consider it a wise move considering their product faced competition from both CDM, and 5 star?

It is a variant in a similar price point. I think it was a good move by Nestle to launch the Bar One chocolate as against the 5 star. Bar One has again been in the market for way too long, but has almost been forgotten. Also, the issue with Nestle is that there is no over arching brand identity as compared to Cadbury’s. People will always remember 5 star as a Cadbury product, but not many realize that Bar One is a Nestle product. Their chocolate category communication requires rethinking.

  • Despite not much competition in the Milk chocolate category, we hardly see any marketing activity for Nestle Milkybar? What does that say about consumer demand for the category?

In my opinion Milkybar is a smaller niche as compared to the dark chocolate market. This is a very acquired taste and is very evolved in many other markets. India is still a dark chocolate market and would take a long while before there will be activities in this space.

  • In general, which are the best marketing initiatives of each of the brands that you like the most?

Cadbury’s – 1st of the month campaign & festival campaigns are great. Their latest ‘Khane ke baad kuch meeta ho jaye’ is not exactly as great as their ‘sweet uthao, majaa lo’ campaign. However, their support to these campaigns are just inspiring.

Nestle – I believe that their Kit Kat Squirrel campaign was very heart warming. Also, their old campaigns still ring in my head!

  • With CDM Silk getting popular in the market, do you think it would make the cut to the premium chocolate category( imported chocolates)? Or we are still far from that?

Not exactly. ‘Chocolates’ is a not a requirement market. It is not a necessity. Hence the urge to try the new one will always be there. One can expect slightly lesser levels of loyalty in the consumer as against to most other ‘foods’ category. So we are far from creating great / successful barriers for say a Ferroro, bounty, Mars or Snickers. They will find their own space in the average chocolate eater’s stomach!

  • Any last words on how do you perceive the market for chocolates growing as an observant of consumer behaviour.

As a rank outsider, I believe that the chocolates market has grown leaps and bounds with (not in any particular order):

  • Frequent abroad travels by many
  • Availability of different SKUs at every price point
  • Easy availability
  • Distribution in-roads (you can now find chocolates at local chaaiwala shops too)
  • Variants to address the different palettes

It will continue to grow as long as the consumerism that the Indian markets have witnessed since 1991 continues and probably far longer than that.






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