HUL takes Knorr instant noodle TVCs off the air

12 Jun,2015

By Pritha Mitra Dasgupta


The entire noodle category advertising in India stares at a complete blackout. Following Hindustan Unilever’s (HUL) decision to stop the production and sale of Knorr Chinese instant noodles, the company has now instructed television channels and other media houses to stop advertisements of the brand from next week.


On Wednesday, HUL said it would withdraw the product, which it introduced in February. “On June 11, the company informed its media agency and media partners to withdraw the Knorr Chinese instant noodle commercial from Sunday,” a senior executive at a broadcast company said on the condition of anonymity.


Knorr is currently running two noodle television commercials — Chinese noodles and Soupy noodles — featuring master chef Pankaj Bhadouria. “But it is only the Chinese noodle commercial that will go off air and will be replaced by other HUL brand commercials,” the executive added.


While Lowe Lintas is the creative agency, GroupM is the media agency of Knorr noodles. HUL’s spokesperson, however, said it has taken the ads off air with effect Thursday. This is because it has decided to stop production and sale of the Knorr Chinese range of instant noodles till its product approval application is cleared by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the spokesperson said. Last week, Nestle directed broadcasters and other media companies to stop its Maggi brand’s advertising from June 7, after it decided to pull the product from the market following findings by authorities that some packets contained excess lead.


Media planners said with HUL deciding to withdraw the Knorr commercial, the number of noodle advertising will reduce by half. The other two prominent brands in this category are ITC’s Yippee noodle and Capital Food’s Chings. According to media planners, the instant noodles category spends about Rs 200-220 crore on advertising and most companies spend 10-12% of their total sales on advertising.


“Maggi alone spends nearlyRs 150 crore and Knorr will be another Rs 15-20 crore. So, with these two brands ads disappearing, the noodle sector ads will go down significantly,” said a senior media planner.


Instant noodle brand ads are mostly skewed towards television advertising and use general entertainment channels, kids channels and music channels. “The other brands like Yippee and Chings will cut down on the advertising and lie low for a while. They definitely don’t want to grab the attention for the wrong reasons,” said another media planner.


However, an ITC spokesperson said the company will continue with the current marketing plans around Yippee. “There are no adverse reports on ITC’s Yippee noodles from any state and therefore marketing plans for this category remain unchanged,” said the spokesperson.


While Ogilvy & Mather is Yipee’s creative agency, Madison World is its media agency. Another aggressive advertiser in this category is Chings, which is endorsed by actor Ranveer Singh. On May 27, the brand launched an ad film featuring the actor to fight hunger among school children in India, with the ‘India Ke Hunger Ki Bajao’ campaign.


The campaign, conceptualised by Yash Raj Films (YRF), is a global fundraising drive initiated by Ching’s Secret (and YRF) with not-for-profit organisation Akshaya Patra.


Source:The Economic Times

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