Brand Saga: The Parle G advertising journey; 8 decades of nurturing Geniuses in Indian households
From ‘Swaad Bhare Shakti Bhare’ to ‘G maane Genius’ to #YouAreMyParleG, Parle G advertising journey has been of innovation backed with strong consumer insights.
‘In the world full of cookies and cream biscuits, Be someone’s Parle-G‘ – this is not just a saying but each one of us’ adulation for the 80-year old biscuits that filled our childhood with us and still continue to drown in that cup of chai happily. Parle G advertising journey has been evoking nostalgia and making our lives sweeter one biscuit a day.
With loads of memories and a Rs 5 packet of Parle G biscuits in hand, we traverse through the iconic saga that the brand beholds with just 20 years less to become a centenarian brand.
‘Common Man’ wala Biskoot
The inception of Parle Products was by Mohanlal Dayal Chauhan, a confectionery maker in Mumbai’s Vile Parle in 1929; it was only a decade later that the company forayed into manufacturing Glucose biscuits.
Very few would know that Parle-G biscuits were earlier sold as ‘Parle Gluco’ until the 1980s. The “G” in the name Parle-G originally stood for “Glucose” and the brand slogan also stated “G for Genius.
The story behind Parle G’s claim to be the biscuit of the masses stems from its positioning since the start. During the pre-Independence era, biscuit manufacturing was in a nascent stage and was more of a luxury to the common masses. A few companies were producing them and sold it on a costlier range; the brains at Parle products thought to make biscuits for the Indian common man.
Post 1991 the product consumption exploded and newer categories were welcomed. Till 1991, Parle G occupied 70 percent of the biscuit market and in 2001, 80 percent of the glucose biscuit category was ruled by the brand.
‘Desi’ Glucose biscuit brand
In the pre-Independence era, Parle’s Gluco campaigned against the Western brand of Gluco biscuits. It used the high-impact medium of print to advertise its range of fresh out of oven biscuits with an illustration of a woman grazing her cows.
In 1947, when ‘Bharat’ was freed from the clutches of foreign hands, Parle Products launched an ad campaign, showcasing its Gluco biscuits as an Indian alternative to British-branded biscuits adorning the desi avatar.
From Parle’s Gluco to Parle-G
Years passed. In 1980, Parle identified the need to stand out amidst the many newly launched glucose biscuits and rebranded the product from Parle’s Gluco to Parle-G and used newspapers, radio to spread the word and thus continued the iconic Parle G advertising journey.
In 1982, Parle G launched its first-ever TVC for Doordarshan with the slogan ‘Swaad Bhare Shakti Bhare’ conceptualized by Everest Brand Solutions. The spot featured Dadaji and his grandchildren singing the slogan. The brand targeted not only kids but also managed to grow affinity in the older generation too, keeping its targeted audience not restricted to any age group.
The ‘Parle-G’ girl
The primary purpose of a mascot is to help build and strengthen brand identity. In the case of Parle-G, the iconic white and yellow wax paper packaging of the biscuits boasted the infamous chubby Parle-G girl.
While a few identified the girl as Neerja Deshpande hailing from Nagpur captured by an artist, a few recognized her to be an unknown child artist. The speculations were put to rest when Mayank Shah, Group Product Manager at Parle products denied all stories by making it public that the featured kid is just an imagination and an illustration by Everest creative Maganlal Daiya back in the 1960s. Real or imaginary, the mascot has been an integral part of the Parle G advertising journey via every communication across mediums.
The Doordarshan days
In 1998, when the whole of India was hooked to ‘Shaktimaan’ on Doordarshan, Parle-G tried to leverage the character’s popularity and roped in the actor as a brand endorser.
Parle-G increased its focus on television advertising on Doordarshan after identifying the literacy challenges faced by the rural population. Soon, it dropped the positioning of ‘Tasty and healthy snack filled with energy’ and began tapping the emotional quotient. The company carried out activation campaigns between 1998-2003 while Everest Brand Solutions stayed intact with Parle-G over the years.
In the year 2001, Parle-G refreshed its packaging by replacing the wax wrapper with plastic becoming glossier, however, retaining the traditional designed followed by the launch of a six-month-long campaign ‘Mera Sapna Sach Hoga’ in 2002. National level promos were run which promised free scholarships for kids and free trips to Disneyland in Paris and Singapore.
From ‘G Maane Genius’ to ‘Aao Banaye Kal Ke Genius’
After a brief period of research, a few insights like mothers wanted their kids to be all-rounder surfaced. Parents were becoming supportive of their children’s choices beyond medicine and engineering and motivated them to participate in extra-curricular activities. Parle G decided to tap on this sentiment and in 2004 rolled out ‘G mane Genius’.
It was in 2006 that the long-running client-agency (Parle-G and Everest Brand Solution) bond hit a saturation point and Parle G’s account was moved to Grey Group India. The new agency on-board weaved ‘Parle-G Hindustan ki taakat’- placing the biscuit brand as the pride of India and associated it with the energy, strength, and intellect.
“G maane genius” was promoted in its varied forms thereon; the brand also roped in superstar Aamir Khan to endore the ‘Do Genuis- Ek Takat’ proposition.
The brand extended and revived this positioning in 2013, this time with Ogilvy & Mather conceptualizing ‘Kal Ke Genius’ where Gulzar Sahan penned down the lyrics ‘Roko Mat Toko Mat’, composed by Vishal Dadlani; Piyush Mishra lent his voice for the track. The ad spot was directed by Chrome Pictures’ Amit Sharma.
It was now time for the heritage brand to enhance its positioning and move beyond emotional and rational benefits.
Of Nostalgia and 5 seconders
After brief creative stints with Grey and Ogilvy, Everest Brand Solutions pitched for Parle G again and retained the account, this time to experiment and trigger nostalgia with ‘Wahi Pehli wali baat’ in 2014. Parle G claimed that the campaign series comprising of eight 5-second TVCs was something that no other brand attempted to do earlier. It put the spotlight on how things have changed but Parle G is still the same and always with you.
In January 2017, the brand and agency duo teamed up to bank on ‘India’s pride’ aspect and roped in veteran writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar to write the new campaign, titled ‘Bharat Ka Apna Biscuit’.
The TVC aimed at bringing back memories of the origin of the biscuit and further strengthened its positioning as one of India’s most loved homegrown brands. The video highlighted how young Indians, through their innovation contributed to various fields, making India a progressive nation globally.
Parle- G for Digital India
In 2018, while keeping its core ‘Genius’ at the center, Parle-G slightly shifted the communication from ‘Kal Ke Genius’ to ‘Genius Badal Raha Hai’. Identifying the rapid innovations happening in the digital spectrum, the brand joined hands with Taproot Dentsu and became digitally active. ‘Aaj ke Digital Genuises ke liye’ was one of such attempts in the direction.
The three-part series captured the fact that Parle-G has been a default choice and has constantly evolved to make it an intrinsic part of every child’s life even today.
In the same year, Parle G as an associate sponsor of IPL leveraged the tournament to launch a nostalgia-driven campaign, ‘Who is your Parle G?’.It drew a parallel between Parle G and the strong but subtle emotion one feels when one gets nostalgic and reminisces about things that they take for granted in their daily lives. Conceptualized by Taproot Dentsu, the campaign featured five TVCs.
The brand went onto revive the concept of #YouAreMyParleG on multiple occasions like Raksha Bandhan and Independence Day, launching digital films in association with ThoughtBlurb.
Going all out on digital through crowd-sourced content under the second leg of their campaign, the brand requested consumers to write descriptions of who in their life do they associate with Parle-G. The 5 digital films have been inspired by real-life incidences shared by consumers. Parle shortlisted these stories from several entries that they received when they launched the campaign back in May 2018.
With 26k followers on Instagram, 36.2k on Twitter and 609 k likes on its Facebook, the folks at Parle G have taken it upon themselves to keep their social media presence as millennial and vibrant as possible.
We bid farewell to Ma Durga today! Parle-G wishes you and your family lots of love and prosperity. #HappyDurgaPuja #ParleG #BiscuitPosted by Parle-G on Monday, 7 October 2019
𝓐𝓵𝓵 𝓽𝓮𝓪𝓬𝓱𝓮𝓻𝓼 𝓪𝓻𝓮 𝓰𝓮𝓷𝓲𝓾𝓼𝓮𝓼! This #TeachersDay, let’s appreciate the people who teach us invaluable lessons every day, and…Posted by Parle-G on Wednesday, 4 September 2019
From topical content on Instagram to occasion-based illustrations and creatives on Facebook and Twitter, they keep it going.
An online fact says that if you stack Parle-G packets produced in a year, adjacent to each other, you can circle the earth 192 times in a year. The brand has been capturing the attention of consumers for eight long decades now. Parle G is based on strong consumer insights, loyal offerings, risk-taking and an attitude to changing with times through constant innovation – to keep the brand high on consumer recall. Parle G seems to have epitomized it all.
Did this Parle G advertising journey remind you of some of your favourite tea-time moments?
PS: Do you still feel sad when your PARLE- G biscuit drowns in the cup of tea? Mine just did.