March 2010
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Alpenliebe : Greed is the trurth

Alpenliebe, the flagship brand of Perfetti Van Melle India, is out with a new TVC, which is based on the concept of role reversal between human beings and monkeys. While Bollywood actress, Kajol plays the role of the monkey; the 'madaari' (the master) is a monkey face.

The objective of the campaign is to reinforce 'irresistibility' -- which has been the brand's positioning since its launch in 1996 -- in a fresh fashion.

"We started off with the positioning that the candy is so irresistible that you can use it as a bribe. Then we showed how nobody is willing to share it with anyone. Then came the crocodile-Kajol commercial, where the message was that the candy's so irresistible that even a wild crocodile can be your pet. This time, we have taken the same platform of irresistibility further, only with an interesting spin in the plot," explains Sameer Suneja, MD, Perfetti Van Melle India, while talking to afaqs!.

The 50-second commercial has been created by McCann Erickson and produced by Ram Madhwani of Equinox. The brief given to the agency was to build on the irresistibility factor and give it a fresh creative interpretation.

The film opens with a 'madaari' in monkey face luring a monkey in human body (played by Kajol) with an Alpenliebe, so that she comes down from the tree and performs before the audience. As she peeps out and jumps on the ground, the 'madaari;, instead of giving her the candy, instructs her to perform various acts. He asks her to dance, to act like a bride, do a 'gunda' act; all of which she does readily.

However, she begins losing patience on not getting her share of the candy, growls, shows her teeth and threatens to run away. The 'madaari' relents and gives her the Alpenliebe. Kajol readily grabs the candy and kisses it. The kids, enjoying the whole act, clap to show their appreciation.

Towards the end, the ad shows humans and monkeys in various stages of evolution with the VO saying, "Aadmi ho ya bander, laalach ek shashwat sach hai." (Whether it's human beings or monkeys, greed is an unchallengeable truth). This is followed by a scene showing the 'madaari' on a cycle and Kajol sitting on the handlebar, enjoying the Alpenliebe. The last shot shows a pictorial representation of a 'madaari' (in monkey face) enticing a monkey (in human body) with Alpenliebe, supported by the product shot, Perfetti's logo and the VO, "Laalach aha lap lap".

Talking about the creative concept, Prasoon Joshi, chairman, McCann Erickson and the writer and creative director of the ad, says, "Perfetti pushes McCann, and McCann further pushes the envelope. Together, we try to explore and embark on a journey of great ideas and brand building." Joshi shares a 14-year association with Perfetti.

He adds, "From 'Ji lalchaye raha na jaye' to 'lalach aha lap lap', the basic premise and idea has been irresistible greed. In this commercial, we've played with Darwinian evolution, creating a scenario of 'What if man had not evolved as a species; and human beings were captured by monkeys and made to dance'. The idea being that no matter what could / would have happened to evolution; greed would have been very much around. Kajol not only accepted this role graciously, but like a true artist, has given it 100 per cent. Ram Madhwani of Equinox has magically portrayed the idea."

The brand, which targets people between 4-45 years, is depending on mediums like TV, radio, online and a bit of outdoor to reach its audience. The overall marketing budget is in the range of 10-15 per cent of its net sales, and in line with most other FMCG brands.

Perfetti is happy with the way the commercial has been executed, and hopes that the commercial will be enjoyed by its TG and will do well for the brand. "The initial response has been fabulous. We have been receiving positive responses from various people in the industry, even our competitors," adds Suneja.

Liking the 'Laalach'?

The ad has generated a positive response from the fraternity, with most industry experts finding the idea fresh and the execution better than the previous crocodile film.

Ambar Chakravarty, executive creative director, Publicis India finds it a fun film that should do the brand a world of good. "Immensely enjoyable TVC. Does the task of taking the brand to small-town India beautifully, and should be an instant hit with the kids. And if those are the tasks defined, then this ad should bring back very encouraging results from the market," says Chakravarty. He also finds the monkeys in the ad quite convincing and the singing very original.

However, according to him, the execution could have been a little slicker. "Some of the chroma jobs looked a bit tacky and the audio was a little off at places. Maybe, it needs a little bit more loving from the director."

On the other hand, according to Ashwin Parthiban, vice-president and senior creative director, JWT Chennai, this is a fresh take on 'laalach' and a much better execution than the previous crocodile film.

"Planet-Of-The-Apes meets Bollywood-item-number seems to be an interesting formula to bring alive the power of Alpenliebe candy. Not only has the film star been trained using the candy, but continues to remain servile with the promise of more! Likeable, and definitely repeat-watchable," he says.

However, he wonders if children would react to the idea, without the time or inclination to appreciate the clever man-beast role reversal. "Also, reminds one of the Mentos Donkey plot, but only vaguely," he adds.


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