For decades, a kirana (grocery) shop was a thrilling place for kids. Various glass bottles lined up at the counter containing candies and toffees, individually wrapped, with varied shapes and colours. A gleeful look would brighten up a child’s face as he or she paid a small sum for these delights. Not much has changed at smaller grocery shops. Even today, adults relive their childhood as they gaze at the displayed bottles, often tempted to try one toffee.
Parle Melody and Competition
In the highly competitive confectionary space with many established brands and some local ones as well, the confectionary products were price sensitive. Customers felt that getting more quantity of these goodies was more important than of what kind. To differentiate oneself from the competition was a tall task for candy brands.
Tough competition came from behemoths like Cadbury (now Mondelez) with its offerings like Eclairs, a toffee with oozy chocolate filling. Eclairs was a success and had literally created a new space and a dominant position for itself in this sub-category.
Parle’s Melody was somewhat similar. It had a caramel coated, softer exterior, with chocolate filling inside which could be seen from the side, adding to its visual appeal.
Against this background, Parle sought to differentiate Melody from the tough competition.
The Brief and the Creative
Everest was the advertising agency given this daunting task to showcase Melody as being better and containing extra chocolate, without actually stating it and creating comparisons with other brands. Haresh Moorjani was leading the creative team and he struck on a brilliant idea. The idea was to show the kind of people that children admired or aspired to be (like a magician), asking a question about Melody and having the child giving a reply. Copywriter Sulekha Bajpai was part of the team and she wrote down a few lines.
Then the day dawned to present the idea to the client, Parle. Like many creative people do, Sulekha kept on refining the lines she had written, as she waited in the reception area of Parle’s office.
She finally struck gold. “Melody ke andar itni chocolate kaise bhari batao?”, the answer to which was the now famous response, “Melody khao, khud jaan jao”. The jingle, “Melody hai chocolatey, Melody hai chocolatey”, added energy, rhythm and helped emphasize the chocolateyness of Melody in the customers’ mind. A pleased Haresh and Sulekha presented this concept.
Makings of the Melody Ad Film
Since Melody was to be marketed in rural and urban areas, television advertising was a logical choice for the large, dispersed audience. These ad films were done by Sanjeev Sharma of Palette Communications.
The TV commercials primarily targeted children. And each ad film had a familiar setting like a playground, a classroom, or an aspirational one like a magician’s act. One ad showed a sports coach asking “Melody itni chocolatey kaise hai?”, and in another it was the puzzled class teacher who asked that question. The young sportsman, or a school kid, would enthusiastically answer the question “Melody khao, khud jan jao”. The answer was like an invitation, even a challenge, to find out for themselves.
In another ad, a young glamorous film star was asked the same question by someone from the cheering crowd, and she smiled and invited one to eat Melody and find out for themselves. All question how so much chocolate got into a toffee. The answer created a sense of mystery and tantalized the audience to try the product for themselves, “Melody khao, khud jan jao”.
The jingle at the end announced the chocolateyness of Melody, “Melody hai chocolatey, Melody hai chocolatey”.
Impact of the TV Commercial
The very different approach of using human curiosity in the television advertising to draw the customers to try the toffee was rewarded. The Melody television commercials were a hit. And it really couldn’t get any chocolatey-er for less than one rupee.
Even today Melody ads continue to ask the question, how is Melody so chocolatey?
Decades later, Bollywood movie Chichhore made this classic line contemporary again. The movie character, played by Sushant Singh Rajput, asks a canteen staff member, “Yeh aloo hai yah kaddu?” and the staff member replies, “Melody khao, khud jaan jao”.
Melody today remains a part of the bouquet of other confectioneries that Parle offers, but retains its unique place in the hearts of the customers.
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.