Marketing

Bringing back Britannia’s Milk Bikis

| Updated on August 08, 2021

Turnover: Britannia got over a million responses from customers wanting their old Milk Bikis back

The company takes its biscuit lovers down nostalgia lane

An ode to simpler times, read the headline in a front page ad in The Hindu last month. Dipping deep into nostalgia, the copy talked about the simple joys of life, for those who grew up in the Chennai and TN of the ’80s and ’90s. Reminiscing about the good old days, the ‘article’ mentions the leitmotifs that were part and parcel of life in Chennai: the whole family watching the couple of channels transmitting on the black & white TV; shopping at Pondy Bazar; blanco on white canvas school shoes; cassettes which one had to wind with pencils; cricket matches at Chepauk; eating sundal on Marina Beach, the ad was redolent of a past gone by, evolving to, perhaps, more complex times. B&W photographs of the Madras Central Station with cycle rickshaws in the foreground; a cassette; a family sitting on the sands of the beach; a family watching a B&W TV et al accompanied this article, capturing images of the past.

The ad goes on to say that while we can’t get these simpler times back, one can get back Britannia’s Milk Bikis Classic, a biscuit most who grew up in TN would have munched on during their childhood. The copy goes on to exhort readers to give a missed call to a number or engage on social media if they wanted their “favourite Milk Bikis Classic back!”

Working closely with The Hindu brand solutions team, Britannia plumped for this nostalgia plank and to also gauge if there was a groundswell of support for Britannia’s earlier avatar of Milk Bikis, consumers were engaged with across social media as well. The Hindu team also activated multiple touch points to give its readers the choice to express their love for MBK classic and register their vote.

Consumers voted with their feet, and how. As Vinay Subramanyam, Vice President, Marketing, Britannia Industries, says, “We got over a million responses of people (across missed calls and social media) wanting the old Milk Bikis back and that really blew us and we started production immediately.” Britannia Milk Bikis Classic has been re-launched in its original avatar - flowery border design, Britannia embossed at the centre, with the familiar milk bottle made of biscuits on the pack and that same milky taste.

Explaining the decision and the path to relaunch Milk Bikis, Subramanyam says Milk Bikis underwent a change in pack and form 14 years ago in 2007. The biscuit too was fortified with vitamins, calcium and iodine, all good for children’s growth while the fibre content remained the same. “We had toyed with the idea of bringing the earlier Milk Bikis back; we kept hearing murmurs, but we weren’t sure if it was just the diehard romantics who wanted it back,” he says.

But, Britannia had an indication of this last year. One thing that really changed the company’s outlook towards this was the 40 years of Milk Bikis TV commercial that it had unveiled. It picturised two childhood friends who always shared the last Milk Bikis in a pack equally. “We saw a tidal wave of people saying we wanted that old Milk Bikis back. We couldn’t ignore this,” says Subramanyam.

The company brought the old Milk Bikis moulds back and kept them ready. However, “before we got into production, we wanted to check if this was really wanted so we did this campaign with The Hindu, where we said we can’t get the old times back, but we can get back old classic Milk Bikis.”

The nostalgia plank for the wordy ad in The Hindu was deliberate, says Subramanyam. “In these times of Covid, more and more of us are craving our childhood, our friends, our simplicity and it’s a bit unsettling to see the markers of our childhood are not there anymore to share with our children; that this is how we grew up. Imagine telling a child that TV had just one channel; we ‘watched’ cricket on the radio; or read a comic 20 times; or played the same cassette 20 times on our recorder. It’s important that our children know how their parents lived…that they were also their age once,” he elaborates.

“Given the campaign plank was nostalgia, The Hindu was able to add immense value to the entire proposition given our 144-year-old legacy and connect with Tamil Nadu. Our readers and social media followers responded well to the campaign. We were confident of delivering a high number of responses, however one million 1M is definitely a nice number!” says Suresh Balakrishna, Chief Revenue Officer, The Hindu Group.

A relaunch in the Tamil Nadu market is the most obvious thing for Britannia, considering that the state is the largest market for Milk Bikis in its portfolio of biscuits and it enjoys a 95 per cent share in the milk biscuits category. Milk Bikis is the third brand in the Britannia Industries portfolio to reach the ₹1,000 crore milestone for the year FY 20-21 and the third largest contributing brand for the company.

Subramanyam says this is a very different launch for the company. “We usually have PoS, TV, digital and a print plan, which we will do, but the primary communication is going to be by the ‘makkal’ (people) of TN who grew up with Milk Bikis.” However, as he points out, going further “we feel it’s important not to link this brand only to nostalgia because nostalgia is a trip you can get on to and get off as well. We have made it relevant to today’s time and it’s a great idea to link it to the bond with children; that’s going to be the fulcrum of our communication.” If TN consumers take to nostalgia, soon many will be chomping on Milk Bikis.

Vinay Kamath

Published on August 08, 2021

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