It was the late 1970’s India. TTK Prestige Ltd. had been selling its pressure cookers in the Indian market and was looking to grow, but it had hit a roadblock. There had been reports of some Prestige pressure cookers bursting. It was imperative to find a solution soon.
Safety focus augmenting innovation
The pressure cookers the company made were safe. However, sometimes sub-standard, spurious replacement parts were being used in the market, which made the cookers unsafe. TT Jagannathan, who had recently taken the reins of the Company, focused on the problem. Being an engineer himself, he looked at ways to resolve the issue. By 1982, Prestige introduced a new product, a pressure cooker with an ingenious GRS (Gasket Release System). It had a rubberised gasket instead of a melt gasket, which decreased the risk by allowing the pressure inside the cooker to release in a safe way.
MAA (later MAA Bozell) was the advertising agency for Prestige. The brief was that the Prestige pressure cooker was “100 percent safe”. There had been earlier ads that had not caught the customers’ attention. MAA decided it needed to bring in an emotional connection to a functional product. The safety of Prestige cooker with GRS as an added safety feature, needed to be communicated to the customer as well.
The advertising agency brought in a Hindi language copywriter who came up with the lines “pati, patni aur Prestige”. Sadiqa Peerbhoy reworked these lines and penned the line “Jo biwi se kare pyaar, woh Prestige se kaise kare inkar”. These lines were to create advertising history.
The advertising campaign
The agency wanted to use the television commercial to develop an emotional connection with the customers. The plot for the TV commercial was about a husband and wife who entered a shop that sold utensils and kitchen appliances, to purchase a pressure cooker. The shopkeeper asked a seemingly odd question to the husband, “Do you love your wife?” The couple was taken aback. The shopkeeper clarified that all the pressure cookers he had were safe. But the husband who loved his wife dearly and was concerned for her safety should not settle for anything but Prestige pressure cookers. In the shopkeeper’s words, “Jo biwi se kare pyaar, woh Prestige se kaise kare inkar?”
There was an emotional connection made by the audience that safety of the wife was paramount, and the husband was showing his love for her by purchasing a Prestige pressure cooker. Prahlad Kakkar filmed the commercial with actors Raja Bundela and Vinod Sharma.
Reinventing the brand
The television campaign was a success, tying the uncompromising safety standards of Prestige with love and concern of the customer for his wife (who usually prepared food at home). The TV commercial gave Prestige pressure cooker the distinct safety positioning in the marketplace.
Raja Bundela was an upcoming actor at that time, and this commercial went a long way to give him recognition. He even opined that women would walk up to him and compliment him, “Pati ho to aisa”.
The catchy tagline, “Jo biwi se kare pyaar...”, endured for many years and was later brought back anew showing the Bollywood couple, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Their togetherness as a couple in the kitchen showcased playfulness and companionship. This new take on the old tagline brought glamour to the utilitarian nature of the product. It also rekindled the emotional link already established with the Prestige brand.
Over the years, TTK Prestige had developed innovative solutions apart from the GRS safety valve, like the double lock system and gasket offset system, all furthering the safety of pressure cookers. The company’s innovations extended to other kitchen appliances too, like the non-stick cookware that was safe for metal spoons, induction pressure cookers and pressure handi. Its extension into kitchen appliances, cook-tops and other kitchen cookware, have been an attempt to leverage the growing aspirations of the society, with changing tastes and kitchen styles.
Prestige has transitioned into offering a holistic “smart” kitchen, including many task reducing appliances targeting modern families. Prestige remains salient in the customers' minds in the pressure cookers category, reinforcing the power of a brand over decades.
Subodh Tagare is an Associate Professor at IMT Nagpur, where he teaches courses on marketing. Prior to IMT, Subodh was the marketing director at American Power Conversion/ Schneider Electric for South Asia.
S Vejay Anand consults with organizations on business strategy and marketing. He has also been an entrepreneur in the food and pet care spaces. Earlier he was President at Coffee Day and COO at USPL.