Sticking one's tongue out is considered impolite and even rude in many cultures, but has also come across as a sign of irreverence and a sense of humour — just ask The Rolling Stones and Albert Einstein.
So there's nothing wrong if Perfetti wants to sell its gum the same way. When Center Fruit was launched six years back, the confectionary giant chose ‘kaisi jeebh laplapayee’ as the tagline for the brand and probably worked backward to integrate this tongue twister in its ads. According to Nikhil Sharma, director-marketing, Perfetti Van Melle India, Center Fruit is the fastest growing brand for the company and the largest candy with a 14% share of the Rs 6,000-crore Indian candy market.
To build a brand in a segment that hovers at the one-rupee price point is extremely difficult and Perfetti has managed to garner mindspace for its brands via some outlandish TV commercials. The ads for Center Fruit show people having some sort of an oral freakout occasionally caused by just looking at a picture of the candy. And the latest execution has a bunch of foreign tourists leap aboard the tongue-waggling wagon.
In the commercial, a few tourists are solicited by tour guides at Mumbai's Elephanta caves, with each trying to outdo the other. Enter the hero, the Center Fruit munching tour guide and everybody, from the competition to the tourists is left tongue-tied or should that be tongue wagged? Almost the entire soundtrack is a kindergarten-esque choir of tongues waggling and producing strange noises — the natural reaction to the presence of Center Fruit, if agency and marketer are to be believed.
"So far the ads have shown that tongues wag subconsciously when someone sees a Center Fruit, but this time around the protagonist is deliberately using the weakness of people when they see the candy to his advantage," explains Sharma. According to him it was time for the kaisi jeebh laplapyaee tagline to take the next creative leap.
Ravi Deshpande, chairman, Contract Advertising thinks the ad provides entertainment in the 30-second time it gets and manages to get the brand accentuated. "If the brand has been using the proposition since launch, it makes sense to continue the process. It is kind of irreverent and mad. It makes sense to carry on," he says. But Deshpande, the chief of the agency which handles bubble gum brand Bubbaloo from Cadbury also thinks the idea is very average and gives it a rating of five on the scale of ten.
Ogilvy, the creative agency that launched the brand, continues to work on Center Fruit. And Abhijit Avasthi, joint NCD, Ogilvy says they considered a few options before zeroing in on the 'Guide' idea. However compared to the earlier 'ATM Machine' and 'Jugalbandi' ads, the 'Guide' ad fails to invoke laughter and feels a tad forced, or rather flavourless and chewy to extend the gum metaphor. Is it time to pop in a fresh one?