Bournville: Flat humour

The butler did it in the Bournville ad, but Indians aren’t quite biting

‘You don't just buy a Bournville; you earn it.’ This is the positioning Cadbury’s has been using in India to market its premium bitter dark choc called Bournville. Here’s my theory behind this rather uppity proposition: One, the market for bitter chocs in India is very small. We like them nice and milky. Two, Bournville is pretty expensive. So one can easily presume a positioning strategy was needed that gives the chocolate a super premium image. The ‘not-for-everyone’ sort of an aura. In that context, the ‘earning it’ message is pretty sound.

Last year, they released the launch advert which featured a reporter at a Brit countryside. He consumes Bournville without earning it first, and is immediately whisked away by a flying dragon. That commercial was pretty funny. The mythical dragon provided a neat twist, and the sequence of the kidnapping of a reporter was not just amusing, but very timely too. One wished all those bumbling, fumbling TV reporters parked outside the Taj during the 26/11 attacks had met with the same fate!

In contrast, the new commercial is pretty dull. The TVC, set in an English castle, features a propah angrezi butler called James. It’s quickly established that this twit isn’t known for appreciating fine things in life, and is often pulled up by his master for clumsiness. The angry butler mimics his boss and intentionally spills tea on the carpet. And does more such damage out of angst. Finally, he mocks a slab of Bournville as well, and contemptuously grabs a bite from it. As ‘retribution’, a piano falls on his head. The voice-over admonishes: ‘James, you don't just buy a Bournville, you earn it.’

Totally unfunny and boring. And the piano dropping on the poor butler’s head is too trite and forced a twist to even discuss. This is where the ad has gone wrong: This sort of a PG Wodehouse-ian, if you like, humour may work in the UK, but will fall flat with our audiences. While the promise of earning the Bournville is all very well, and so is the usage of an English setting to create the rich aura, the story has to be told keeping our desi sensibility in mind. Which is why the flying dragon worked, but the disgruntled butler fails.

The same reason why an Avatar rocks in India but Woody Allen flicks don’t.
Net-net: A total waste of big money (reportedly the film crew flew all the way to Sweden to shoot this travesty!). And it’s back to the drawing board. The client should drop a bombshell on the agency creative director’s head. And tell the gent: You gotta earn your money, mate. 


FMCG sector: The small outpace the tall

While consumer goods giant Hindustan Unilever continues to stumble, smaller rivals like Dabur and Godrej are maintaining their growth trajectory

Despite its valiant restructuring and revamping efforts, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has been struggling to maintain a decent earnings growth. On the other hand, HUL’s smaller rivals like Dabur India and Godrej Consumer Products are growing steadily, as is evident from their recent quarterly results.

Dabur India has reported a 28% rise in consolidated net profit to Rs137.84 crore, over the same period last year. Revenues jumped 18.6% to Rs932.56 crore compared to Rs786.21 crore in the same period last year. Lower input costs helped the company post a sound operating margin of 19%, compared to 17% in the same period a year ago.

The revenue growth was mainly led by the hair-care and skin-care segments. In the hair-care segment, Dabur’s shampoo range registered a 41% increase in sales. The skin-care segment grew 32.5%.

Meanwhile, Dabur’s international business recorded an 18.2% growth on the back of pick up in demand from the Gulf, Egypt, Nigeria and Bangladesh.

On the other hand, Godrej Consumer Goods reported a 53% increase in net profits, aided by a sound 26% growth in international business. Its consolidated revenues touched Rs528.21 crore, rising nearly 50% from the year-ago period. Godrej derived its growth from strong volumes in the soap and hair colour segment.


Another high-profile exit from a foreign mutual fund

Narayan Ramachandran of Morgan Stanley is the latest to leave a foreign mutual fund

Narayan Ramachandran, CEO and country head of Morgan Stanley has put in his papers and will be exiting the firm next month, reports PTI. A full time India CEO will be announced in the future, the company said.

This exit comes close on the heels of the exit by Krishnamurthy Vijayan from JP Morgan Asset Management as its executive chairman. Mr Vijayan will join IDBI Mutual Fund.

Mr Ramachandran joined Morgan Stanley in 1996 and held senior global positions within Morgan Stanley Investment Management, notably heading the firm's global emerging markets and asset-allocation businesses.

Mr Ramachandran has decided to resign from the full-time charge to pursue personal interests in entrepreneurship and public service, stated the release.
He began his banking career at Goldman Sachs Group in New York. 

Morgan Stanley's Asia chief operating officer, Scott Gaynor, will take on the additional responsibility as the company's acting country head for India.

Morgan Stanley has 1,200 offices in 37 countries worldwide.


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