06 Feb 2020 17:16 IST

Focus on affordability and the rural push

From Parle's Twitter account

A pragmatic marketing strategy that involves nostalgia, influencers and kirana stores will work best

In rural markets, the promotion of Rol-a-Cola can be done by positioning it as a pack of compressed coke. Children are not encouraged to have soft drinks, so a refreshment in the form of a candy, with fancy packaging, will have a competitive edge over the local products sold in the form of loose candy. The appeal would be manifold if Rol-a-Cola is converted into a two-candy pack priced at ₹1, for a school-kid and his best friend to share a lovely moment during the break.

The branding of the candy for kids will be Cola candy / Cola-waali candy. These two-candy packs can be distributed as samples in schools, fairs and haats. Rol-a-Cola can be pushed in the rural market by making it an easily available alternative at each kirana store, through a strong distribution network, by increasing the margin for kirana stores and distributors based on volume of sales. The promotion in the rural network is through celebrity marketing, with a youthful image (teenage/child actor), catchy jingles on the radio and TV.


A 5 rupee candy pack comes with 12 candies, storage is problem

The margin is less in this confectionery segment, so profits depend on volume of sales


Can compete with local loose candy

Volume can be pushed through sales,in the form of small candy packets

Parle has traditionally used a low pricing strategy. Should it employ a different marketing strategy for Rol-a-Cola in urban and rural markets?



A two-pronged marketing strategy will be employed digitally to connect with a wider audience base (intended target audience of Indian millennials).

a) Nostalgia marketing

- Throwback contest campaign on Instagram & Facebook with a ‘Then & Now’ angle, urging users to share their childhood memories with Rol-a-Cola. They should tag friends too so as to create a ripple effect. Parle will then select the best entries and help fans recreate their old memories to relive the joy of being a child again.

- To refresh the brand narrative of Rol-a-Cola and reinforce its taste factor, the brand can launch a series of digital films featuring people in their 20s to remind the millennial target audience how the candy had played a crucial role in their lives.

b) Influencer marketing

- Launch a UGC campaign for authentic storytelling by establishing a micro site to collect video entries from fans about their childhood memories with Rol-a-Cola for quick, snackable content on Instagram.

- Collaborate with food bloggers for a hashtag-led campaign in tier 1 & 2 cities to showcase fun recipe ideas using the candy. This will be primarily targeted towards the parents of our target audience (children) to influence purchases.


- Compression of candy pack

- Separate branding as cola-waali candy

- Celebrity endorsements to employ a pull strategy

- Sampling centres in the form of Rol-a-Cola stations at haats and village fairs.

- Appointing student ambassadors across schools to do word-of-mouth advertising by providing incentives in the form of candy packets and other freebies.

- Loudspeaker announcements and folk theatre can be used to spread awareness about the candy and pull in the intended target audience.

What strategy should Parle adopt to ensure long-term sales of Rol-a-Cola


Parle should stick to its affordable strategy. Some 66 per cent of India’s population comes under the rural network. There are over a 100 billion children in rural India, coupled with the strategy of targeting younger adults, Parle has a huge audience as long as there is the right balance between pricing and quantity. With the traditional ₹5 and ₹10 packets, a ₹1 packet can be introduced. If there is a tie-up with BHIM and PhonePe apps, there can be a cashback offer up to five purchases for ₹10 packets. An average rural household has the capacity of spending ₹66-70 per day, thus a ₹1 pack for two candies is an effective alternative.


The candy can be stocked at kirana stores, weekly markets (bazaars), school canteens, theatres, naka points, juice centres (fresh juice shops) on connecting main roads and at highways restaurants as counter items. Other sources could be mom and pop stores, malls, over the counter products, online distribution. Distributors and retailers need a perfect spiel to attract customers. From a paan stall to big retail shops, market coverage, frequent refilling of stock, and tight distribution network will create the right impact overall.


Introduction of a new variant in the form of a ₹1-rupee pack with two candies could work both for quick consumption by children in both rural and urban areas and to be given by shop-owners instead of change.

Changing the packaging to include local cartoon figures (Chhota Bheem, Motu Patlu, etc.) will add a novelty factor and help increase sales in tier 2 & 3 markets. These packs could include stickers to enhance the excitement around the candy and push children to make purchases.



a) Social media content creation on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok with the help of micro and macro influencers will create a buzz and maintain the relevance of Rol-a-Cola in the digital world.

b) TV ad showcasing two neighbouring rival families in which the elders of the family fight, and the children want to be friends, and eventually the adults learn from their kids and share that ₹1 packet of Rol-a-Cola. An ad showing corporate employees, working on their computers the whole day and, when they retire for the day, they eat Rol-a-Cola, and are transformed into children, going home in the same clothes.

Interactive marketing

a) pop-up stores at malls and local fairs which will include sampling of the company’s various products, especially the cola candy, along with games and fun experiments. This will aid in creating a fun and whacky positioning of the product among kids and teens and increase sales of the candy.

(The First Runners-Up are students of TA Pai Management Institute.)