BrandAfric
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How Indomie smartly co-opts kids as brand advocates

“This is not my Indomie,” the boy quipped, pulling a long face. He hands back the package tucked in a black nylon wrapper.

“Please Sir, if is not Indomie, stop calling it Indomie,” his younger brother sternly charged the culprit, ‘Mallam’ who sold fast-moving consumer goods from a regular neighbourhood kiosk.

“The taste is the difference. The difference is the taste,” their sister informed him(and the audience) in a sing-song voice.

Anyone who has seen the #Tasteisthedifference television commercial(TVC) from Dufil Prima Foods Plc, makers of Indomie, would more or less laugh at the witty performance of the smart kids: How they, without forcing it, deliver a strong message to all those have been undermining the brand equity of their favourite brand(including retailers and parents)by selling or buying other brands in the name of Indomie.

Although an industry observer adjudged it as being ‘inconsistent” with the brand’ s life- long campaign theme’#Noodle like no other’, the TVC is as entertaining as it is very engaging and borrows a leaf from the timeless Panadol classic ad with the tagline:If it is not Panadol, it cannot be like Panadol. With the commercial , Indomie is conscripting children and teenagers who are its main target market as BRAND DEFENDERS. A masterstroke that is sure to hit the target- stop Indomie’s rivals from eating where they did not sow!

Indomie’s burden of a blessing

Indomie is the first and the Number One instant noodle in the Nigerian market in terms of market share. It leads, others follows. It has sustained its market leadership with heavy investments in; aggressive, no-let-up advertising, promotions, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and strong distribution network. You can always Indomie in the remotest part of Nigeria.

However, like most products which enjoy first-in-the-market advantage, becoming the generic name for products in the same market has both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because, bearing a brand name that is synonymous with a product category is an attestation of a brand’s popularity and dominance.

But, it could be a curse as other brands in the same product category may begin to reap from the brand equity in the sense that they could be passed off as the real thing by the sellers. What a news website, News.com.au, calls, ‘curse of generification.’

The website quoting Dr Pauline Bryant a visiting fellow in the School of Language Studies at the Australian National University, as saying that ‘generification’ usually happens because of market dominance, convenience and familiarity.

In essence,‘generification’ happens to brands that are dominant and familiar with consumers. Brands which have grown from infancy to maturation and are at the tipping end. Indomie is not the only brand that has been there. Bournvita(Cadbury),Omo(Unilever),Maclean(Unilever),Maggi(Nestle), Jik(Reckit Benkiser), Harpic(Reckit Benkiser) have walked or are walking through this tricky patch.

How it all began

Indomie entered the market in 1988 first as an imported food product and later in 1996 as locally produced instant noodle brand. For several years, it worked on breaking a fallow ground and created the demand for instant noodles and soon started reaping in abundance as it was the only brand in that market category for years.

Lured by its bumper harvest, other competitors arose and started ploughing in its field. Today, the market boasts of over 10 rivals including Dangote Noodles(DangoteGroup), Doyin Noodles(Doyin Group), Honeywell Noodles(Honeywell Superfines Foods),Golden Penny Noodles (Flour Mill), Chikki(Chikki Foods Limited), Mimee,(May&Baker),Sun yum, Tummy Tummy(Tummy Tummy Foods), Uno, Cherie(Olam Group) and Chefme(Engels Foods)etc. Their struggle for a piece of the cake has won them crumbs as Indomie held on to the lion share. However, it has left the brand a restless farmer who must keep weeding his large farm or lose his crops to weeds. The latest TVC is part of Dufil’s efforts at keeping the weeds from eating what is meant for the crops.

Will Indomie win?

Indomie is playing on the psychology of children and their hold on their parents to achieve its goal. Children of millennials wield a lot of influence on their parents’ buying decisions especially as regards their needs or family purchases like food products, fashion items etc. Maybe it is because their parents are more listening parents, or that today’s children seem to know what they say, how, to get what they want from their parents and when they do not, they beg and nag until they get them, what marketing experts call, ‘PESTER POWER.’ Their forebears, those born in the 80s and 90s weren’t as lucky. They dared not look their parents in the eye, not to talk of expressing preferences.

Those are the factors that would count for Indomie in winning the fight against ‘usurpers’ of its brand equity- putting the defence in the charge of children. It is already winning. even with adults who do the shopping. One of them, Funke Femi, concurred with the brand advocates: “The taste is different true-true.”

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UCHE AKOLISA

Uche Akolisa is a journalist with bias in Brands, Marketing, Public Relations. You can follow her @Naijarite