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Grand Old Parle Embraces Social Media Advertising To Tap the Millennial The biscuit and confectionery maker is also using e-grocery platforms to promote brands such as Zing and Rola Cola

By Prasannata Patwa

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Change is inevitable and one can only resist it for so long. This age-old adage seems to be catching with the 91-year-old Parle Products Pvt. Ltd.

The biscuit and confectionery maker has shifted focus to promote center-filled Mango candy, Zing, and cola-flavoured Rola Cola candies, among other brands, targeting the millennial. This is a paradigm shift from targeting homemakers. And aptly, the company has chosen social media platforms and online grocery platforms for the new promotion strategy given the target audience is glued to these new-age mediums.

Parle has social media accounts on micro-blogging platform Twitter, and Instagram, where people primarily share pictures. Parle's official Twitter account, and pehlehideandseek handle post millennial-centric pictures featuring biscuit brand Hide and Seek and its premium offerings. "Conversations over Hide and Seek' on caricature-like picture of a couple enjoying beverage, among other pictures, and videos are posted on the Instagram handle, starting 2017.

The company also started #RolaColaisback campaign in October. The brand, which was discontinued in 2006, was brought back when a user shared a post urging the candy-maker to bring back the brand.

"It has been almost four months since we launched the product (Rola Cola). We have made it primarily available on e-commerce platforms including Flipkart, Grofers, and Bigbasket," said Krishnarao S. Buddha, senior category head at Parle Products.

Parle's products are available at about 6.2 million stores in India with a few brands having a huge mass appeal. For instance, brands including Crack Jack and Hide and Seek may not be available in a same store which may be selling Parle-G. "If you ask a shopkeeper who sells Parle-G to stock Happy Happy and Monaco, he would not buy them. Only certain brands have that kind of mass reach," said Buddha.

Of late, many prominent fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) makers have started promoting either all or a few of their brands through social media platforms. Britannia Industries Ltd's Instagram account features most of Britannia's biscuit offerings whereas Kolkata-based ITC Ltd has separate handles to advertise Farmlite, and Sunfeast Dark Fantasy, among other brands. FMCG-giant Hindustan Unilever Ltd usually advertises its brand Dove through Instagram advertisements and through social media influencers.

Social media usages have increased massively since 2016 when Internet data and mobile phones becaeme available at dirt cheap price points. Such resources introduced more than 200-300 million of Indians to online shopping.

To be sure, Parle will continue to advertise through traditional mediums including television. "Earlier, if I had to spend INR 100 on advertising I would have used a large chunk of it for television advertising. But now, I will keep about INR 10-15 for digital marketing," said Buddha.

The confectionery category contributes about 15 per cent of Parle's total business.

Prasannata Patwa

Entrepreneur Staff

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