Parle Hippo: Maa to the rescue!

Mother’s love is wasted on the wrong product. ‘Hippo’ was better off solving the world’s hunger problem

There's an old saying in the advertising world: When all else fails, use emotion. And when that seems a trifle out of sync proposition in the product category, rush to good ol' mother's love. Can't go wrong in India with maa ka pyaar.

Well, 'Hippo', for its new 'Round-Round' munchies variant, has tried to do exactly that. Earlier, the Parle Agro snack brand had attempted to solve the world's hunger problem. That bleeding heart strategy appears to have done little magic… more people are dying of starvation on Earth than ever before. So I suppose that prompted the advertiser to drop the idea of saving the world, and instead switch to selling the munchie on the promise of love and care.

Now the 'animal' (we only get to see shadows for some reason) substitutes mummy's affection. Especially for 'children' far removed from their dear mommas. Army jawans, a boy in a hospital, a firangi tourist, etc. And of course, moms from all parts of India make an appearance to force in the pan India positioning. The Hippo, like a Mumbai dabbawalla, takes their 'preparations' and circulates them all over. And yes, there's that expected emotional jingle, which pays glowing tributes to maataji.

So will it work? Well, maa can't go wrong in this mother-obsessed nation, can she? It's always a safe trick to pull. However, for this particular product category, which is nothing but a fatty, mass-produced snack, I find the connection a bit corny. Which mother would like to send out frivolous food to her ailing son? Or to her jawan son posted at the border? If this was a deliciously produced health food, loaded with vitamins, proteins, minerals, etc, etc, the 'maa ka dulaar' concept may have worked. But for a floozy tit bit, this idea is totally incredible. In fact, the last thing a caring mom would want is to courier a time-pass munchie to her hospitalised son. Come to think of it, security guards posted at good hospitals won't even allow it to be carried into the premises!

Net net: Mother's love wasted on the wrong product. Hippo was better off solving the world's hunger problem. Especially in India where the aam aadmi isn't able to afford basic food stuff like onions, toor dal and tomatoes. "Can't afford a chappati? Go for Hippo instead!" I can hear Soniaji muttering in Italian.


ONGC pipeline off Mumbai coast develops leak

New Delhi: An oil spill was reported today off the Mumbai coast following a rupture in a pipeline carrying crude oil from state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's (ONGC) offshore oilfields, reports PTI.

The leakage in a pipeline carrying Mumbai High crude oil to Uran was reported around 0845 hrs and production was immediately stopped, a senior company official said.

"Production from the Mumbai High and Bassein oilfields was restarted around 0950 hrs and crude oil is being transported to shore using a separate line," he said.

ONGC boats and Coast Guard vessels have been pressed into service to access the damage. "Right now it is difficult to say what the damage has been," he said.

Production from the field was stopped for a short while following the incident but was resumed shortly after oil flow from subsea wells was diverted through another line.

Mumbai High and Bassein fields together produce 247,000 barrels of oil per day and the brief stoppage would mean that they would produce about 25,000 barrels less oil today.

The official said divers are being pressed into service to go down to sea-bed to access the damage to the pipeline.

"Remedial measures will follow once we know the extent of the oil spill," he added.


Accenture appoints Avinash Vashistha as country managing director for India

Avinash Vashistha has also been appointed co-chairman of India

Accenture said it has appointed Avinash Vashistha as the country managing director for India. Mr Vashistha has also been appointed co-chairman of India, along with Harsh Manglik.

Mr Vashistha, 49, joins Accenture from Tholons, a global strategic advisory firm for outsourcing, research, investment and education, where he served as founder, chairman and CEO. Earlier in his career he founded neoIT, an offshore advisory firm, and prior to that, he led Nortel's pioneering outsourcing efforts in India.

Accenture chief executive officer Pierre Nanterme said Mr Vashistha has the skills and experience to take Accenture to the next level in India. "Avinash brings to this role more than two decades of operational and execution leadership in global outsourcing along with knowledge, relationships and experience with Indian companies and the Indian marketplace. He will help us drive growth in our domestic business and support our global clients through our global delivery network centers in India."

Mr Vashistha holds an engineering degree from IIT Kanpur, a master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Alberta and an MBA from Arizona. He is a known thought leader in the industry and co-authored the book, "The Offshore Nation."

Mr Manglik, who intends to retire later this year, has served as chairman and country managing director of Accenture India since September 2006.


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