Case code- MKTG-20
FROM "PURE AND SAFE" TO "PLAY SAFE"
In the late 1990s, Parle Bisleri launched an ad campaign to create a distinct
brand image-'There is just one Bisleri.' Hoardings and point-of-sale promotion
material backed an aggressive print-and-TV campaign, and every interaction with
the consumer was used as an opportunity to reinforce the message that Bisleri
was "pure and safe."
The entire campaign was built around the tamper proof
seals. The campaign focused on the safety provided by the "breakaway"
seal, by illustrating the ease with which conventionally sealed bottles
could be refilled and recycled. Said Ashok Kurien, CEO, Ambience D'Arcy, Bisleri's ad
agency, "Our objective with the campaign was to highlight the tamper-proof seal
and create doubt in the consumer's mind of the purity of the other brands. That
is, Bisleri is the only one that guarantees purity."
In 2000, in the face of competition from the new
entrants, Bisleri decided to penetrate every possible segment of the
market by introducing more pack sizes and to establish the brand strongly
with trendy packaging. In 2000, Bisleri launched the 1.2 litre pack. This
added to the five pack sizes that Bisleri had (500 ml, one, two, five and
20 litres). The new pack was priced at Rs 12. This pack was targeted at
the regular mineral water consumer who is accompanied by a friend and also
restaurants and hotels. In the long run, Bisleri planned to replace the
standard one litre pack with the 1.2 litre pack. The company felt that
although the one litre pack accounted for 35% of sales in terms of volume,
it had problems in the form of leakages, loose caps and foreign particles
in the water. Bisleri thought that a heavier 1.2 litre bottle would solve
most of these problems.
Analysts felt that Bisleri would find it difficult to market an
unconventional pack like the 1.2 litre one. This would require increased
spending on marketing and advertising. However, according to company
officials, the higher margins that a crate of 1.2 litres bottle (12) would
generate, would be spent on marketing, advertising and on dealers.
The retailer price for a crate of 1.2 litres bottles would
be Rs 120, against a total cost (including excise and sales tax) of Rs 60.87 to
the company. Thus, the company would have a margin of Rs 59.13 per crate. The
comparable margin for a crate of 1 litre bottles was Rs 44.57. This meant that
the company would have an extra Rs 14.56 per crate. Bisleri planned to spend
this amount on advertising and marketing. .In 2000, Bisleri also launched smaller packs like the 300
ml cup. This 300 ml cup was targeted at large gatherings like marriages and
A study conducted by Bisleri showed that its one litre pack was not considered
trendy enough. Analysts' felt that since Bisleri had become generic to the
category, the one litre pack was not really considered a brand but merely
synonymous with the product. The new look was expected to correct this
perceptions. In place of the round ringed bottles, Bisleri would be available
in hexagonal flat-sleeved bottles. The new pack was already introduced in 500
ml and 5 litre sizes and would be used for other packs. The new design was
patented to prevent it from being copied by others. Said Chauhan, "The new pack
is trendy and has been well accepted by the consumers as we have experienced in
the case of 500 ml and 5 litre sizes." The new pack also allowed better brand
display. Vertical labeling was easier on flat sleeved packages. It made label
information visible from all sides of the bottle.
Bisleri also planned to target the soft drinks market. Chauhan was confident
that by 2003, the water business would grow at the cost of the soft drink
market. Most analysts agreed that this was possible. In 2000, pure bottled
water sold over 500 million litres a year. Soft drinks sold over 1 billion
litres a year. With an annual growth rate of 40% for water, water sales was
expected to catch up with soft drinks. Bisleri planned to target the soft
drinks market by adding a fun element to the product. Chauhan felt that soft
drinks were all about quenching thirst and having fun. While it was widely
accepted that branded water quenched thirst, there was very little that branded
water could do to provide a fun element. Chauhan said that Bisleri would soon
launch an ad campaign to address this problem.
By 2000, the smaller players also began to position their products on the
purity platform. They also offered better trade margins. New entrants like
Aquafina and Kinley concentrated purely on building their brands in a big way.
Bisleri had to come out with an ad campaign to make its brand stand apart.
In September 2000, Bisleri launched its Play Safe ad campaign. In the print ad,
a lady in a bikini is shown lying face down, soaking up the sun. A part of the
lady's body is shielded by a bottle of Bisleri with the message: Play Safe on
the bottle. The television version of the ad ran for 45 seconds. The film opens
with a couple sitting on a beach in front of a bonfire. The girl suddenly
starts running and is followed by the boy. As she collapses on the sand, she
whispers something in his ear which sends him back to the bonfire. He rummages
through the bags, but can't find what he is looking for. He rushes to the
nearest chemist's and picks up a huge carton. Back at the beach, he opens the
carton, and finds 500 ml Bisleri bottles inside. The girl quenches her thirst,
almost in ecstasy, as the boy watches her with a comical expression on his
face. Then comes the message: Play Safe.
The campaign targeted the youth and hoped to convey a social message: young
people need to make sure they are safe even when they are having fun. The ad
campaign saw a shift in positioning from "pure and safe" to "play safe."
According to Ambience D'Arcy, the shift had been necessitated by the fact that
every new entrant in the mineral water market adopted the purity. Said Chauhan,
"Our observation is that people consume mineral water not for the minerals, but
for safety. Hence the word "safe" is critical."
WILL BISLERI EVER BE A Rs. 10 BILLION BRAND?
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This case study is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion rather
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