Dark Fantasy, the Sunfeast snack food brand that ITC launched around 13 years ago, had begun to show its age and was in need of pepping up. Towards this end, almost six months back, the brand started to go in-depth to understand how to create a piece of advertising that can help it to generate relevance with the consumer.
The idea was for Sunfeast Dark Fantasy, which has 62-63 percent market share in the cream biscuit segment to chart out its growth roadmap around a new campaign.
The brainstorming session establishing a stronger connection between the Sunfeast Dark Fantasy range of comestibles and consumers culminated in the 'Har Dil Ki Fantasy’ campaign with none other than Shah Rukh Khan.
The campaign plays with the concept of the universal yearning for a touch of fantasy in one’s everyday life. With this piece of advertising, the brand seeks to resonate with diverse consumer segments, encouraging personal flights of fantasy anytime, anywhere.
Ali Harris Shere, chief operating officer, biscuits and cakes cluster, ITC Foods Division, said, “Often consumers feel that their reality is very ordinary. The world of fantasy lets us escape and experience a little bit of the extraordinary. From an 8-year-old to an 80-year-old, everyone has the fundamental right to fantasise once in a while. The brand wanted to accompany the consumer to their dreamland where they go to live their fantasy and then come back feeling alive."
“We genuinely believe that we need to keep reinventing ourselves, refreshing ourselves with fresh consistency so that, you know, consumers find the brand exciting and relevant all the time,” he added.
SRK – the ultimate fantasy
The Sunfeast Dark fantasy team considered stars from Hindi films as well as from regional cinema, but opted to go with Shah Rukh Khan, rationalising that no one represents the fantasy of India better than the Bollywood star.
“In that sense, we felt that the two fantasies—Shah Rukh Khan, the god of romance in India and Dark Fantasy—coming together is a magical combination and a match made in heaven,” said Shere
Sunfeast went to consumers in the North, the West and the East to understand their needs. Even in the South, the brand discovered that Shah Rukh Khan was really popular and with his movie Jawan now coming in, his popularity has surged even more. The brand along with its creative partner FCB Ulka leveraged Khan’s pan-India appeal and came up with an ad film aimed at connecting with consumers across the country.
Age is just a number
Sunfeast used to be aimed at the youth initially but over time the brand realised that by restricting its target demographic, it was not allowing deeper market penetration.
“We started to think about targeting consumers based on their mindset, based on their psychographics, and we realised that in India, the aspiration of the average Indian consumer is skyrocketing. Consumers want to experience things but their reality might not allow them to do so,” Shere said, adding, "And that is why we said, why should we target 18-24-year-olds? Why can't we target a mindset, which is of people who are experimentative, who want to try new things? Who are innovative and imaginative in their mind, and it could be an 8-year-old kid or an 80-year-old man or woman."
"We drive this category. We own this category. The onus is on us to really expand the category," Ali Harris Shere, ITC Foods Division
Over the last 20 years of Sunfeast, the brand understood that southern states are really the centre of adoption of premium products and new experiences, along with Maharashtra and some parts of South Bombay. “The rest of India has not been as disruptive as the south for the brand. This campaign helps us open up the north and parts of the east; we are betting on Shah Rukh Khan's appeal strengthen our connections with potential customers,” said Shere
A brand that pays attention
“We drive this category. We own this category. The onus is on us to really expand the category,” said Shere.
To get an edge over its competition and to propel growth, Sunfeast has launched a nut cookie with chocolate filling, a product called Vanilla Fills and Dark Chocolate Shake, in the south.
"why should we target 18-24-year-olds? Why can't we target a mindset, which is of people who are experimentative, who want to try new things?," Ali Harris Shere, ITC Foods Division
But it is not taking its eye off the ball when it comes to the larger picture. The country’s heartland too is premiumising, according to Shere, and there are pockets where consumers are really going for superior experiences. Consumers are explicitly stating their preferences; they are demanding an increase in the filling in the biscuits and cookies, for instance.
Accordingly, Sunfeast strategised and relaunched an improved version of the product by increasing the quantity of filling in the biscuit, and making the cookie a little thinner and crunchier.
Moreover, in a price-sensitive market like India, Sunfeast also has a portfolio strategy, with products priced at Rs 5 to Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 40 and Rs 70, with the aim to make the brand and its products affordable and accessible.