Puesh Kumar, Director, DS Group, talks about the group’s foray into the Confectionery market, media strategy used to differentiate the varied brands from competition, challenges faced by the brand and more

Q] The DS Group has a set of varied brands under its umbrella, ranging from the F&B space to Infrastructure. How does your marketing strategy differ from segment to segment?

Each product has its USP and the way it needs to be positioned is also unique to the product. The nature of the product also determines the type of marketing strategy that needs to be adopted to promote it. Chingles, the mini chewing gum, is positioned as ‘prank enabler’, which adds excitement, particularly for the younger consumer segment. The product format has the added advantage of multiple helpings. Piyoz, the mix-n-drink, has the positioning of ‘makes water interesting’ with the pillars of marketing being convenience, affordability, quality and flavours for everyone. The tagline of the brand emphasizes on the same, as it goes: ‘Saada Pani Mat Pilao, Catch Piyoz Toh Milao!’ Positioned as the ‘One minute shake’, Catch Yomil is a milk-based powdered beverage, perhaps the first of its kind product in the beverages segment in the country. Yomil provides a unique content composition that creates refreshing flavoured shakes in just one minute by adding only water. It offers consumers convenience and value-for-money while retaining the goodness of a shake in a wide variety of ethnic Indian flavours. It breaks the age barrier with its diverse flavours that cater to the taste of all age groups. The communication plan and the marketing strategy of all products has been designed according to their positioning, thereby differentiating the brands and the segments they belong to.

Q] What are the challenges faced by the brand in the Confectionery and Mouth Freshener segment?

The unorganized sector, in the Confectionery and the Mouth Freshener market, is much larger than the organized sector at the moment. So this brings its own set of challenges. In India, the major players in Confectionery segments are international players; however, domestic players are increasing their foothold in the market. The major challenges faced by the industry in today’s scenario are the profit ratio, which is less, as the price cannot be increased. But ingredient and packaging costs have increased tremendously.

Q] What is the positioning for your flagship brand Pass Pass?

Pass Pass is positioned as a herbal mouth freshener; it offers the novelty of high quality ingredients like dry dates, fennel, herbs, etc., making it a unique mouth freshener offering discerning flavours for Indian taste buds.

Q] The DS Group made its foray into the chewing gum market with Chingles. What made you enter this market, that is already being dominated by Perfetti, that has brands like Centre Fresh, Big Babool, Centre Shock and Happydent under its umbrella?

According to reports from EuroMonitor and Tata Strategic Management Group, the estimated confectionery market in India is around Rs 9,800 crore, of which the gum market is around Rs 1,600 crore, which is growing at 28%. The gum market, which constitutes 16% of the total confectionery market, is trailing behind sugar confectionery (33%) and chocolate (51%). The main reason for the Group to make a strategic business decision to enter the confectionery industry with mini chewing gums is the positive growth rate of the chewing gum market. This segment well complements the existing products of DS Group in the Mouth Freshener category. The robust distribution network further facilitated the decision-making process.

Q] How does Chingles plan to position itself against other players in the industry? The chewing gum and bubble gum markets differ; so where does Chingles belong?

Chingles belongs to the chewing gum category. The brand has been positioned on the element of fun. The differentiating factor from the competition is the format and the flavor of the gum, as well as the packaging. All the three differentiating factors (format, flavour and  packaging) will ensure success.

Q] How do you use media to differentiate Chingles from competition?

‘Chingles’ has been launched under its flagship brand Pass Pass. Chingles is positioned as an antidote to the seriousness that creeps into our lives as we grow up to become responsible adults. Our campaign ‘Aaj Lee Kya’ was a call to the audience to break the monotony of their daily rut and infuse a little laughter and light-heartedness into their lives with some harmless pranks on friends, family and colleagues. The tagline also works as a reminder to use the brand almost on a daily basis. In the communication, the product can be seen as a ‘prank enabler’.

The creatives start with the tagline ‘Aaj Lee Kya’, meaning ‘Have you teased someone today?’ The communication then promises to take all those who come into contact on a hilarious joy ride. Our aim with this campaign was to develop a clutterbreaking ad and strike an emotional chord with the target audience by creating a top of mind recall for the brand. Our target group comprises males and females in the age group of 15 to 24 years, Sec ABC. The brand is being promoted through various ATL and BTL activities, with advertising on TV, Radio, Digital, social networking sites, various consumer promotion activities in colleges, malls and at the marketplace, youth-centric events, innovative POPs at retail level, etc. Apart from this, various freebies are being used in promotions to generate more excitement around the brand at the consumer level.

TV has been the key driver and the campaign was brought to life on ground, digitally (on paid, owned and earned media) and on radio. Various consumer promotional activities at the retail level – in colleges and malls – to generate more excitement around the brand have also been undertaken. Digital activities on social media have been a major part of the campaign, as it’s an ideal medium not only from the category/TG perspective, but because ‘poking’ works well on social media platforms such as Facebook. BTL activities have been organized in metros and mini metros such as Nagpur, Pune, Chennai, Coimbatore, Noida, Ghaziabad, Sahibabad, Agra, Allahabad, Delhi, Gurgaon, Lucknow and Kanpur.

Q] Out of all the DS Group brands, which garners the maximum revenue?

DS Group enjoys the maximum revenue from its leading Mouth Freshener brand, Rajnigandha, followed by brands from the Food & Beverage segment.

How are you using digital media to build your brand and connect with the youth? Most of our products are aimed at the younger and young adult generations, which spend a lot of time online; hence Chingles and the Powdered Drink segments are majorly focusing on the Digital space. We leverage the best of both online and mobile mediums. On the online front, we are active on social media and have built up an enormous Facebook fan following for our brands Chingles, Pass Pass and Yomil. We have also explored innovative media display advertising, which gives more clicks as compared to industry benchmarks. As far as the mobile space is concerned, we are using it extensively for content downloads and ad serving. We have a dedicated website for Chingles (www.chingles.in) which allows user engagement via a Facebook application (Prank Factory) and online gaming (Takkarlee game).

Feedback: priyanka.mehra@exchange4media.com



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