Sucheta Dalal :Frooti: Playing pranks
Sucheta Dalal

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Frooti: Playing pranks  

April 30, 2010

 'Mango Frooti, fresh and juicy', used to be the hackneyed punch line for Frooti for many, many years. Though it must have worked for the brand, for we still recall it. But realising that the line is long past its expiry date, makers of Frooti have repositioned the brand with a new thought: ‘Why grow up?'. It is clearly an attempt to make the brand more fun and playful, and transport it into the world of laughter and pranks. While the message in itself has nothing to do with mangoes per se (no point, there are already too many mango drinks in the market), the idea is to inject the stagnating brand with some attitude and distinctiveness.
And so they have come up with the 'Juicy mango surprise’ project. What this campaign features is a series of non-scripted commercials. A huge mango prototype (hope it’s made out of extremely light material!) gets dropped on unsuspecting passers-by. On the streets and gardens and other public places. Hidden cameras capture the laughter and masti the prank generates. And the footage then gets edited and converted into TV commercials. The marketer hopes that the prank will deliver attitude, and the mango replica will remind the drinkers that Frooti is still a mango drink. 
Here’s my problem with the idea: While the intent appears sound, the execution leaves you cold. The commercials aren’t really funny. You will smile a bit when you first watch a commercial, when some uncles and aunties do a double-take as a missile gets dropped near them. But soon the humour fades, predictability sets in, and the commercials lose steam. In fact, the so-called prank has a very limited potential for a long run, so one wonders where this idea is really headed.


Also, the marketers need to be careful in this ‘reality show’. In these terror-infested times, some weak-hearted dadaji could mistake the giant mango for a deadly bomb, and the resultant hysteria and panic may trigger damage rather than laughter.
Having said the above, one must give credit to the makers of Frooti and its advertising agency for at least daring to think out of the box. The idea is gimmicky and its future uncertain, but one should laud the unusual attempt at creating ads that break the clutter and smash the routine method of creating ads. Should be an interesting case study for other advertisers. Let’s keep an eye and observe what degree of success the brand achieves with this campaign. Though, as I said, I have serious doubts on its efficacy in the long run.   — Anil Thakraney

-- Sucheta Dalal