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When cleaning up is serious business

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‘Dunk that Junk’, a clean-up drive by Parle and MTV, is fast turning into India’s version of the ice bucket challenge, with celebrities nominating each other to try it. With actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Varun Dhawan, and Cyrus Broacha supporting it, the campaign has made some noise. Pravin Kulkarni, General Manager Marketing, Parle Products Pvt Ltd talks to us about the brand’s benefit from the drive and plans to convert it into a youth movement against littering




Q] Parle MTV Junkyard has a new slogan – ‘Dunk that Junk’. How did the association with MTV come about?

Last year, Parle had launched an anti-litter campaign where we approached around 1,500-2,000 schools across India, creating awareness on the subject. This year, MTV is doing something similar through this project, by appealing to the youth with the slogan ‘Dunk that Junk’. It was only natural that we agree to it when they approached us. In fact, the idea appealed to us a lot especially because MTV was executing it so innovatively. The idea is to go from college to college, clean the junkyard area and beautify it with graffiti art, taking the help of well known graffiti artists. Once the place is beautified, there is little chance of it being littered again. We will be roping in 300 colleges across 15 cities for this. Also, there will be a contest among colleges on who will beautify the place best and they will be rewarded accordingly. It will culminate in a rock concert, which will also be inspired by the concept.


Q] How strong do you think is the brand association with the contest here?

Nowadays, the youth of the country are not just looking at commercial benefits from a brand, but also what a brand is doing for society. Talking only about the commercial benefits is a sure shot way of  putting them off. So, we wanted to create goodwill among youth and do something for society. This campaign seemed like a great idea as it goes well with our category, i.e., snacks and biscuits. This is because people have a tendency to litter the streets by throwing used wrappers on the road.


Q] Would you say tying up with social causes is a better way of appealing to the masses than regular product ads?

Yes, it is. However, every brand has to do some advertising for its specific products and there is no alternative for that. At the same time, if the brand is seen doing something good for society and consumers, the youth will see it in a different light.


Q] What would be the marketing mix for the ‘Dunk that Junk’ campaign and the focus of your ad spends?

Currently, we are using Television and online media. We have videos with celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan, Kriti Sanon and Varun Dhawan, VJs, models, television actors, etc. We are trying to create a campaign similar to the ALS ice bucket challenge. One throws the challenge to some other celebrity and that celebrity takes it up. Like one celebrity was given the challenge of throwing a piece of paper into a dustbin placed at some distance. Once he finished it successfully, he dared someone else to do it.


Q] What kind of response do you see?

The idea is going viral. We are getting very good response with a lot of celebrities supporting this campaign. Recently, we got Randeep Hooda on board; he was present in Delhi when we unveiled the dumping truck of the Municipal Corporation. We have beautified the dumping truck which is making the rounds of the city. Similarly, we will beautify 100 more trucks in Delhi alone. This idea will be duplicated in other cities including Mumbai.


Q] Parle has a wide variety of products. Do your marketing efforts come under the same umbrella for all verticals?

It depends on the product, really. Each one has different needs and demands a different approach – for example, some are in the awareness stage, others in the maturity stage. Some brands require high impact communication, some require very little. So we have to create the campaign accordingly, as per the need of the brand.


Q] What kind of challenge does your biggest brand, Parle-G, face in the market?

Parle-G as a product has not reached the maturity level, however the category has. With newer products coming into the market, especially in the premium category, there is a lot of innovation on offer for consumers. As a result, they are getting lured away from the glucose biscuit category. So, the challenge for the brand is to retain customers and to add new ones to the fold.


Q] How has the competition shaped up over the last couple of years?

Our biggest competitors were Britannia and ITC, but today a lot of regional brands have come into the picture. Earlier, these brands were only available in a particular zone or state. But now they are spreading their distribution, increasing their presence on media like Television and Print. So, they are definitely going to pose a big challenge in future.


Q] What makes Parle products stand out when compared to competition?

The USP of Parle products is value for money - that is our biggest strength along with reliability and trust that the brand has built for more than 85 years. These are the three key reasons why the brand has been able to build such a strong relationship with consumers, one that goes back many years. We are present in almost every household today.


Q] What are the emerging consumer trends and opportunities in the FMCG space, looking ahead?

The consumer earlier didn’t experiment so much with this category, i.e., biscuits, confectionary and snacks. But now they are willing to experiment. They have started looking at new formats and innovations, and are ready to pay the price for it. That is what led to the emergence of the premium category in the past 4-5 years. There is a lot of scope for new formats to come up in the biscuit and

snacks category.


Q] Tell us about a memorable experience while marketing Parle products…

The earlier campaign we had for Krackjack in 1995 was targeted at kids. But our market research told us that many youngsters are also consuming the product. So that day, we decided to change the focus of our campaign. We brought in characters called ‘Krack’ and ‘Jack’ which appealed to both youth and kids. We repositioned the brand completely and got back the volumes. That campaign was very successful.


Q] Do we see Parle expanding into newer categories soon?

Yes, definitely we are looking at other categories also. Of course, within the food sector only.



Parle Products has been India’s largest manufacturer of biscuits and confectionery for over 80 years. They are the makers of the world’s largest selling biscuit, Parle-G, and a host of other popular brands. Since 1971, with a 40% share of the total biscuit market and a 15% share of the total confectionery market in India, Parle has grown to become a multi-million dollar company.










Pravin Kulkarni has more than 15 years of experience in the domain of sales and marketing management across various leading companies such as Blow Plast, Pidilite and Parle. He joined Parle Products in 1994 and is currently GM, Marketing. He is based out of Mumbai and is responsible for corporate strategy, business profitability, product portfolio management, strategic brand management, advertising and promotion for all Parle brands in the country.



Understand your consumer and follow him very well. You don’t need to look at competition so much, because for all you know they are following you.


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