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Parle ropes in Ravi Kishan and Rituparna Sengupta as brand ambassadors
Posted On: 2011-01-10

The countrys top biscuit maker, Parle Products, is going regional with its marketing strategy. The maker of Monaco, Parle-G and Hide & Seek biscuits has roped in regional actors Ravi Kishan and Rituparna Sengupta for endorsing Monaco salty biscuits. The company has decided not to have a national-level brand ambassador and did not renew its endorsement contract with Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan that ended in mid-2010, a top official said.

We are putting a regional focus on Monaco now, which is why we did not feel the need to sign a national-level star, Parle Products group brand manager Shalin Desai said. Parles decision to rope in regional brand ambassadors reflects marketersincreasing focus on rural markets. Anirban Das Blah, MD of celebrity management firm Kwan, said, Getting regional celebrities for endorsements works out very cost-effective for brands, and helps them to establish a huge connect with regional audiences. Parles Desai said the companys decision not to extend Aamirs contract was based purely on the brands new regional strategy and to connect better with regional audiences.

Aamirs contract was for a two-year period and we achieved our targets on a national level in those two years, Desai added. While Bhojpuri star Ravi Kishan will promote Monaco in the Hindi belts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Bengali actress Rituparna Sengupta will do the same in East India. Besides featuring in television commercials, the regional stars will be seen in a series of below-the-line promotions and brand activations for Monaco biscuits. Industry experts say actors like Ravi Kishan or a Rajpal Yadav, for example, can be signed at 10% of the cost of what a national-level actor like Aamir Khan would charge. Industry estimates suggest Aamirs endorsement fee is now in the range of 10-12 crore per brand annually. And regional actresses can be roped in for as low as 30-50 lakh per year.

Late last year, packaged consumer goods maker Dabur signed Ravi Kishan to endorse its Chyawanprash brand exclusively for localised below-the-line activities such as interactions with consumers, dealers and stockists. In September last, telecom services provider Bharti Airtel released ads for rural audiences featuring Rajpal Yadav, a popular star in the North, with the tagline - Airtel bajega toh tarraki bolegi. Yet another example is that of beverage maker Coca-Cola . Despite having national star Akshay Kumar as brand ambassador for its Thums Up brand, Coke uses Telugu actor Mahesh Babu for endorsing the brand in the South.

The 5,000-crore Parle Products leads in the 11,295-crore biscuits market, and industry analysts say Parle\'s focus on the volumes segment and competitive pricing backed by strong distribution, especially in rural markets, has paid off. In the 428-crore salted cracker segment, Parle Monaco leads with a 27.8% share, followed by Priyagolds ZigZag asnd Britannias Time Pass, going by Nielsen data for the period between April-September 2010.

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