Given that branded and packaged milk in Pakistan has an untapped market potential of 92% across the rural-urban divide, Engro Foods launched Tarang Elaichi, a line extension of its tea whitener brand Tarang, in a bid to increase its market share in December last year.
Pakistan’s milk industry is valued at approximately $11 billion (Source: Nielsen Pakistan, 2014) with a branded to unbranded milk ratio of 8:92. In the words of Syed Muhammad Salman Ali, General Manager Tea Whitener, Beverages and Media, Engro Foods, “The branded milk category in Pakistan is dominated by tea whiteners (creamers), full cream fortified and skimmed milk in powdered and liquid forms; dairy beverages such as lassi, flavoured milk, coffee and malt-based drinks are recent additions and Tarang falls in the liquid tea whitener category.”
Recognising the fact that Pakistan has one of the highest per capita tea consumption statistics in the world – one kilogramme compared to the global average of 0.75 kilogramme per capita (Source: Maverick Pakistanis Beverage Consumption Report, 2014) – where cooking or brewing the perfect cup of tea is incomplete without a whitener, Engro Foods launched Tarang in 2007.
At the time, Engro’s research indicated a significant gap in the tea whitener market; there was no affordable yet quality option available for the lower income segments. According to Ali, “This segment was looking for a tea creamer which provided a ‘tangy’ flavour of tea with a perfect golden colour, without the pungent smell that fresh loose milk often has.”
Thus Tarang was developed and brought to market as an affordable, hygienic, aromatic and viscous substitute for loose milk. It soon became the category leader by capturing a 64% share in the market (Source: Engro Foods Consumption Surveys, 2014), despite the presence of Tea Max (controlling the second highest volume of the market), Chaika, EveryDay, as well as several smaller brands like Daily Qudrat, that are region specific.
Despite the fact that Tarang’s cumulative daily sales stand at approximately 900,000 litres, Engro Foods, in line with its philosophy of identifying, understanding and catering to the taste preferences of its target audience, conducted a study last year regarding product development in order to increase the market penetration of its packaged milk brands. The study revealed that tea is rarely consumed on its own in Pakistan; 96% of tea drinkers add sugar, while almost 30% use elaichi as an additive, due to its distinct taste and fragrance. This was followed up by a concept test conducted in 13 towns across Pakistan, which garnered a favourable response from the focus groups.
The elaichi variant was launched in December and according to Ali “the idea was to offer convenience to consumers by sparing them the expense of buying cardamom (the third most expensive spice in the world) separately and then going through the hassle of adding it to their tea.”
The brand team also wanted to ensure that although the line extension would have its own identity it would not move away from Tarang’s customer expectations. As a result, despite adding an expensive ingredient, affordability remained a priority. The line extension was launched only in a single SKU, a 250 ml pack, carrying the same price tag (Rs 20) as original Tarang. The USP that Tarang Elaichi offers is accessibility to a premium brand with quality, high-cost ingredients at affordable price points.
When it came to developing the creative identity of the line extension, the campaign brief given to Adcom, the advertising agency responsible for conceiving and designing the marketing campaign, was simple: “Stay with the glamour and grandeur that has become Tarang’s identity, yet at the same time announce the launch of a new variant.”
The selection of a Mughal theme for the TVC marked a significant shift from the traditional Punjabi bhangra music, vibrant clothes and upbeat song and dance sequences that have characterised Tarang’s advertising to-date. According to Mahrukh Shaikh, Creative Director, Adcom, “The campaign had to look different, otherwise the launch of the line extension would not have registered with the target audience. The reason why we opted for a Mughal theme, used the setting of a darbar (royal court) as the backdrop, and the jewel toned costume of Mehwish Hayat (the brand ambassador) was to communicate that a very expensive ingredient – cardamom – had been added to a regular tea whitener.” Shaikh adds that the product shots were crafted in a way to show that the best elaichis were hand-picked, their goodness extracted and added to the traditional Tarang that people know.
There was also a strategic shift in the media plan, devised and implemented by Brainchild Communications; the ATL:BTL split for Tarang currently stands at 65:35, while the ratio was reversed for the elaichi variant (ATL:BTL split is 40:60). According to Ali, whenever Engro Foods launches a new brand, the initial focus is on BTL in the form of wet sampling and experiential marketing, to get people to try out the product. This holds true for Tarang Elaichi, and the BTL activities – designed and executed by Bulls’ Eye Communication – are expected to start off from Karachi and move towards the central and then the northern regions. In addition to the sampling activities, door to door sampling is also being carried out in areas where women typically do not visit markets to purchase brands themselves.
ATL activities have been limited to a TVC, out-of-home (OOH) advertising and radio spots. A print campaign for the extension has not been implemented. Shaikh and Ali were unanimous in their opinion that “given the media consumption and lifestyle of our target audience (characterised by low literacy rates and limited newspaper and magazine reading habits), the elaichi variant does not merit print advertising. Trade activation and POS displays at the small kiryana stores influence our customers’ purchase and consumption more, moving us closer to our brand vision that Tarang should whiten every cup of tea in Pakistan.”
However, given that approximately 660 billion cups of tea are made in Pakistan annually, and that Tarang is used in only nine million cups (although the brand’s usage is higher than that of competing brands), there is still a long way to go before the brand team is able to realise its mission.
Looking to the future, Ali says that “cost pressures and taxation on the milk industry are the main challenges as we will be forced to drive up prices thus eroding Tarang’s cost advantage in the category. Given that the majority of Tarang consumers are daily wage earners we have to ensure daily brand availability. Our sales teams will need to keep making regular shop calls to prevent stock running out if we want to replicate Tarang’s success for its line extension as well.”