With Ganesh Chaturthi just around the corner, Gemini cooking oil from the Cargill Oils stable, has rolled out a unique initiative to bring back the festive spirit among consumers. Subin Sivan, Marketing Head, Cargill’s oils business in India talks about the brand’s latest campaigns and tells us how it is reinventing its strategy for Maharashtra’s most cherished festival during the pandemic
Q] Tell us about Gemini Oil’s new campaign - ‘Iss Saal Har Ghar Pandal’. What was the insight behind it?
Every year, we Indians look forward to the festive season with enthusiasm and excitement. This year, due to the change in circumstances, there seems to be an uncertainty around the festive season. Gemini being a heritage brand wanted to ensure that the most important regional festival of Maharashtra, i.e.
Ganpati is celebrated with the same fervour as every year. Our campaign ‘Iss Saal Har Ghar Pandal’ attempts to reflect the intent to encourage consumers to celebrate this festival at home along with their loved ones, without letting go of the festive spirit.
Consumers can click a picture of the barcode of any Gemini oil pack and WhatsApp it to a number. Subsequently, they will receive a 25% discount coupon code through WhatsApp, along with a web link. The link will help them to purchase an eco-friendly Ganapati idol with the coupon code.
Our Gemini team will deliver the idol to the consumer’s postal address in line with the safety norms. Since the idol will be completely eco-friendly, consumers can do the visarjan/ immersion in a pot or tub within safe confines of their homes. As a brand, our prime focus is to ensure that consumers must not miss out on the excitement and spirit of the festival, during these unprecedented times.
Q] What media mix and budget has been allocated towards this campaign?
Internal research revealed that under the current circumstances, there has been a significant increase in viewership of digital and online platforms. Hence, we are tapping the relevant platforms to engage and start conversations amongst the relevant audiences about the campaign. Since our initiative is Maharashtra specific,
we are also leveraging traditional media as well to create the buzz. Apart from this, we have a host of social media influencers with us who will be spreading the word to encourage people to join the initiative.
ABOUT THE BRAND
Cargill’s oils business in India is the consumer-facing business of Cargill India. Set up in the year 2000, Cargill’s oil business in India is committed to offering food ingredients to food manufacturers, food service industry, and consumers. In India, it operates across a wide array of oil categories – spanning sunflower, soybean, groundnut and mustard largely as well as olive at the top end of the market. In terms of brands, Cargill’s oils enjoy a national presence through its brands Gemini, NatureFresh Oils, and packaged Atta, Sweekar, Rath, Sunflower (hydrogenated fats) and Leonardo Olive oil.
Media agency: Zenith
Creative Agency: Lowe Lintas
Social media agency: Wavemaker
Digital Media agency: Arms Worldwide
PR Agency: Madison PR
Q] Gemini Oil has also launched an initiative called ‘Mask Banao Movement’ a few months ago. Tell us more about the campaign and how it was received by consumers.
Last month, Gemini launched the #MaskBanaoMovement with a campaign ‘Waqt Kuch Auro Ke Liye Banane Ka’. Gemini urged its consumers to come together and contribute to the cause of making masks for the needy, who are at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Gemini launched the campaign both on traditional and digital media asking consumers to come on to their website – geminicookingoil.com. Consumers could learn the process of making masks as per Ministry of Health Guidelines, through a small video hosted on the website.
They could register themselves and pledge homemade masks to the campaign. The Gemini team has collected over 35,000 masks which are now being distributed to the slum areas in Mumbai and Pune with the help of our partner, Concern India Foundation.
Q] How would you describe Gemini Oil’s journey from the time of its inception to becoming the leading brand in Maharashtra? And how is it performing in other regions?
Gemini Oil’s journey in India started almost four decades ago, in 1983. Soon after its launch, Gemini became a trusted brand which consumers could rely on for their taste and health. Gemini joined the Cargill family back in the year 2004. Since then until now,
the brand has been consumed along generations and is the brand of choice for being a holistic option for family health while keeping the essence of traditional food intact. Gemini is more than just a cooking oil to consumers; it is synonymous with heritage and legacy.
It is one of the largest brands in the Cargill portfolio and enjoys a loyal and premium consumer base in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Being a flag-bearer of fortification, Gemini has been powered with Nutri -V over the years. Since 2019 Gemini introduced Nutri FreshLock technology.
With NutriFresh Lock Technology, food cooked in Gemini sunflower oil remains fresh longer, thereby unlocking the homemakers’ time by freeing her up from her repeated cooking chores. This proposition allowed us to re-position Gemini as a brand that enables our homemakers to find time away from the kitchen to pursue their own interests.
Q] Being an essential commodity, the demand for edible oil remained intact even in the lockdown. But how did the company manage to cater to the demand amid the lockdown with minimum workforce and reduced manufacturing scale, coupled with the challenges of distribution?
Cargill believes in nourishing the world in a safe and sustainable way. In India, Cargill has been providing basic staples like atta and edible oil to the consumer for over three decades. Hence, we ensured that we are taking all possible precautions and steps to make sure that our products are reaching the end consumers without much disruption.
We introduced Sales Force Automation technology in our sales system, which enables us to touch base with our retail customers and service their requirements on a real-time basis. Along with this, we are following all the safety guidelines like extensive cleaning and sanitising procedures in our facilities. With the gradual lifting of lockdown, we are optimistic to see normalcy in the supply and distribution chain soon.
Q] Since the festive season is approaching, how do you think consumers will look at the festivals in the light of the pandemic? Will the pandemic have an impact on demand and sales as there is a general feeling that festivals will be held with less splendour and fervour this year?
COVID-19 has influenced our thought and approach. Earlier, consumers use to fill the markets ahead of festivals to prepare for the festivities. However, this year with the current restrictions on social gatherings and the social distancing norm in place, consumers are inclined towards e-commerce for all their essential needs.
In terms of the demand for packaged goods, we are looking at positive growth. People now have various options available on their fingertips through multiple online channels to never let the festive spirit lose its fervour. Only the ways to celebrate will be different as it will be focused much on safety and hygiene, while the essence will remain the same.
Q] What changes will we see in the way brands market themselves in the post-COVID era?
Going forward, brands will have to prioritise health and well-being more than ever before. Since consumers today also have access to information about safeguarding their own health and well-being, it is important for brands to resonate the same when they interact with consumers using various touch points.
During this challenging time, we have had many new learnings, and one of them is adapting to what is termed as ‘new normal’; consumers, as well as brands, have kept an open mind throughout these difficult times. Brands will explore alternative routes to communicate their messages to consumers and consumers will adopt new ways to garner information.
As the Marketing Head of Cargill’s oils business in India, Subin Sivan manages the marketing of several categories and brands of edible oils, fats and food that Cargill has in its portfolio. He is also responsible for driving sustainable and profitable growth through brand marketing for Cargill. With an experience of over 18 years in Marketing and Brand Management, Sivan has worked extensively on the creation and nurturing of brands such as Colgate, Pillsbury, Dabur RED, Vatika and Vodafone Postpaid.
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