Vanessa Nabia Muzaffar on the brands that stood out in 2018.
So, 2018 has finally come to a close. Well, almost. And no matter how clichéd and downright laughable we find New Year resolutions to be (we all do), much to our irritation, find ourselves in moments of silent introspection. In these moments, our brains are a flurry of activity as we do a quick but thorough scan of the past one year. Regardless of how terrible or brilliant the results are, we all look to the new year with our fair share of hopes, goals and changes (but not resolutions, obviously).
Now this is where things get interesting; this whole plan for the new year. Everyone has an idea, but who has the guts to run with it and make it happen? Who, in this big, bad, scary world?
The truly brave, that’s who.
It’s easy to play it safe in today’s day and age, wise even, some would say… But it’s only an exceptionally brave soul who takes that step, creates his baby, pushes it out the window and watches with bated breath as it soars... Or crashes and burns.
This brings us to the point of this article... 2018 saw many new and exciting players emerge in the market, those who didn’t chicken out on their big ideas and put it out there for the world to see. Their strength and passion brought them this far, but which of these new brands pack enough of a punch to make it to the finish line?
Peek Freans Cake Up
EBM launched Cake Up in the market with guns blazing. It seemed after forever that I watched a local ad that was longer than 30 seconds; that too an ad that unapologetically showed a successful working mum. It’s like finally someone got the memo that yes, women work too, that their lives can be challenging, but they do what all good mothers do… look out for what’s best for their children. And as if this wasn’t enough, they set a new standard in local activations with their ‘Bake Your Own Cake Up’. When I first laid my eyes on that cupcake factory of theirs, the child in me wanted to run and try it. It was refreshing, visually-stunning, immersive and the perfect way to induce trial. However, what truly makes Cake Up a winner and boosts my confidence in the success of the brand is the product itself. It is bang on. Additionally, they introduced two different variants, caramel and double chocolate, that none of their competitors offered. They may well have thought of everything it seems.
Will they make it? If they keep doing what they are doing, there’s no doubt about it.
Now I definitely noticed Sabroso. I saw them a lot, everywhere; free sampling in malls, their bright purple delivery trucks whizzing around the city and their chicken donuts in the fingers of many children. They call themselves ‘chicken specialists’ – and it’s a pretty valid claim. The parent company have a long history of poultry farming and have steadily developed a reputation for quality and healthy chicken – a reputation that is definitely a boost for a new player. With every passing year, things become more expensive, jobs more demanding and an increasing number of women enter the workforce. And with it, so does the demand for all things that enable convenience. Although the convenient-chicken category does have a decent number of players, Sabroso is far from late to the party. So far so good... Until you come across their advertising. To put it simply, it’s all over the place; no attempt at developing a brand identity, no strategic direction and no creative one either.
Having said that, it’s definitely not too late. Sabroso has covered good ground with their product, taste and distribution. If they focus on innovation – and completely rethink their advertising – they can get to #2 in their category and stay there.
Good product and visibility; amateur advertising. But with the right adjustments, the chicken will fly.
Stillman’s Men Fairness Cream
Walking into 2019, Pakistanis seem to be just as obsessed with fairness as they were in 1947. And so long as there is a demand, there is a supply. Enter fairness and brightness creams. Since the need to be fair afflicts both women and men across all income groups, you will see many local and international fairness cream brands grace the shelves of grocery stores. Now the question arises, how will Stillman’s Men Fairness Cream fare in this very happening category? Their pricing is competitive and will certainly attract the TG they are catering to. Luckily for them, there aren’t as many players in the men’s fairness category. Also, the name Stillman’s probably still carries a certain weight amongst their older customers, as well as nostalgic value. However, to be relevant amongst the younger men, who also happen to be more conscious about their appearance than the older lot, they will need to rebuild Stillman’s as a brand. The new generation is a lot more informed and exposed, and therefore, a lot more cynical. Brands and marketers have to work a lot harder to win them over.
Lower price and heritage will work with mature members of their TG, but not so much with post 90s babies.
Bravery is the force that launches products into stores, but brand building is the force that gets them into our homes and continuous improvement and innovation will ensure that they stay there. Fortunately, Pakistan is still a developing market, with room for many more products and brands. We haven’t even scratched the surface compared to countries like the UK and US. But times have changed and so has the formula for success. Many Pakistani companies still run on the whims of the top man who thinks he knows it all. Newsflash: It’s almost 2019; it’s no longer the world you thought you knew.
Vanessa Nabia Muzaffar is Creative Group Head, JWT. firstname.lastname@example.org