Aurora Magazine

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Appreciate the Homemaker, Not the Recipe Mix

Shan Foods rolls out another counter stereotypical campaign
Published 17 May, 2023 08:26am

In January, Shan rolled out a new campaign called ‘Khushiyan banane wali’, which put the spotlight on the important role homemakers play and how their efforts are not always appreciated.

The campaign is about a father and his children who are looking at family photographs on a mobile screen, while his wife is cooking. A little later she goes out to run an errand – and gradually the father realises that his wife is absent from most of the photographs taken. This is when it strikes him that the reason she is absent is that she is usually either cooking or organising family activities rather than actually participating in the activities themselves. This prompts him to start cooking lunch (using Shan recipe mixes naturally).

According to Syed Fahad Hussain, Brand Manager, Recipe Mixes, Shan Foods, a key objective of the campaign was to “elevate and explain the role of a homemaker by highlighting her importance and sacrifices.” Other objectives included increasing top of mind, brand affinity and overall power scores. As for the timing, Hussain says that typically January is the time when people think about making changes to their lifestyles, so it was the ideal moment to introduce the campaign.

Atiya Zaidi, MD and ECD, BBDO Pakistan (the agency behind the campaign), adds that the brief was to strengthen the connection between consumers and the brand by expanding the brand’s essence of ‘taste happiness’ – and focus on the fact that a woman is more than just a cook.

“Shan has a legacy of emotional storytelling and the brand’s central purpose is to enable everyone to serve delicious food with easy-to-cook recipes,” says Zaidi. “We started by looking at this from the point of view of the housewife/cook and came to a universal insight that women don’t get to enjoy the activities that they create. She is the khushiyan banane wali but not present in the khushiyan.” Zaidi adds that given that Shan has focused on gender equality, this should not be limited to workplaces and should begin at home.

“The work that housewives do is not recognised as work, and if we calculate the cost of this invisible housework, it comes to a substantial number. As Shan is about creating happier homes and societies we need equality at all levels and what we have with Shan is a perfect brand that has created an equal playing field to enable all genders and professions to cook delicious food – all they need is the intent to go into the kitchen.”

Zaidi adds that “the message we communicate through our advertising is rooted in a belief that we are more than just a food company. We are our consumer’s best ally – a culinary brand that guarantees authentic and traditional taste without the hassle of traditional methods. While our communication does focus on the superior taste and flavours of our products, we believe it to be our responsibility to go one step beyond and recognise that although all individuals have an important role to play, some are often overlooked and undervalued.”

For Zaidi, as far as this particular campaign is concerned, the key takeaway is to appreciate the women who create happiness around them, support them and not let them miss out on important family moments. “Cook together and celebrate together.”

She adds that at the execution stage, the challenge was to find a way of bringing the past and present together without relying on oft-used techniques such as flashbacks or ‘lofty’ voiceovers – and this was overcome by the father and children looking at photos on the mobile screen situation. “We wanted it to feel like a normal family Sunday, with everyone going about their business and then suddenly something in the photos changes the day and their view of their wife/mother’s role.”

The overarching theme for all Shan communications since 2015 is ‘Khushiyan Chakh Lo’ (‘Taste Happiness’), says Hussain. It stemmed from the insight that food plays a role in people’s lives that goes beyond being a source of sustenance to becoming a source of joy and comfort. “Shan understands that food is a universal language that brings people together, creates lasting memories, and evokes positive emotions. Therefore, our aim is to deliver to our consumers not only flavourful products but a sense of happiness and contentment.” He adds that the tagline was developed when Shan moved from a functional to a thematic approach in their communications with a campaign that focused on two brothers living abroad and missing their mother’s food on Eid. Since then, Shan has released other campaigns under the same tagline and include ‘Khana with Parosi’, ‘Ghar Banana Kisi Aik Ka Kaam Nahin’, ‘One Biryani One Family’, ‘More Than Just a Cook’ and ‘Different Yet Together’ among others.

Looking at the longer term, Hussain says that the vision is to make Shan an iconic culinary brand, enjoyed on every table, every day across the world, and the core intent behind each campaign is to elevate and celebrate consumers from different lifestyles and ethnicities.

Given that Pakistan’s spices (masalas) market is estimated to be approximately worth $146 million in 2020 (as per the Research and Markets Report) and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.8%, the chances are that this could well be a possibility.