06 Feb 2020 17:03 IST

Parle should focus on digital marketing

From Parle's Twitter account

Quirky hashtag campaigns, collaborating with Web influencers will help

Started in 1929, Parle’s primary intent was to spread joy and cheer to children and adults across the country with its range of sweets and candies. Parle’s share in the confectionery market is around 20-21 per cent and it plans to add 2-5 per cent by 2020 with the re-launch of Rol-a-Cola. Meanwhile, the rural market has changed drastically over the years. What strategy should Parle adopt to clock ₹1-billion sales within a year of relaunching Rol-a-Cola?

Currently, Rol-a-Cola is available as hard-boiled cola candy that is coin-shaped. Our idea is to introduce different shapes such as circles, triangles or bottle-shape.

Variants can be introduced, both for urban and rural markets, to create excitement. Lollipops are children’s all-time favourite buy — both in the urban and rural segments. Parle can introduce Rol-a-Cola lollipops in the form of flat or spherical lollies offered at a competitive price.

Good packaging can conjure up emotions that keep people wanting to buy the product. Packaging can be changed in terms of bold and quirky styles such as can-shaped or cylindrical containers with caps that can be adopted. It will be convenient and more comfortable for the user to roll out the candies.

In the rural segment, the packaging can be altered to an extent. Instead of offering rolls of 10 candies, Parle can offer a packet containing one candy (same as mango bite) and also provide the same in cases of 20-30 packs.

Also, a variant for this segment can include Chatcola (Chatpata cola candy) to compete with local offerings such as the imli flavoured candies.

Pricing strategy:

The candy market has started shunning the ₹0.5 price point with big players such as Mondelez and Perfetti Van Melle, launching or re-launching their products at ₹1. High raw material costs, fewer ₹0.5 coins in circulation, and the demand for higher margins by retailers were some of the factors that propelled the wave. However, in 2016, 86 per cent of the industry was at ₹0.5 for a candy weighing between 2-2.5 grams. As it is a homecoming for Rol-a-Cola, we can attract consumers by bringing the old price band back. Such pricing is vital as the products are used as currency by shops instead of giving change, ultimately promoting the product.

Place (Distribution strategy)


The great strength of Parle is its widespread distribution network. It should continue with the intensive distribution strategy for Rol-a-Cola. The hub and spoke model can be used for distribution, eliminating multiple levels of channels to reach the rural customer. The manufacturing unit will send the products to the hub located at each strategic location, from where the spokes will carry the products to the local retailers.

Reaching out through weekly village mandis and haats by setting up kiosks can be successful. Melas have always proved to be important for FMCG companies operating in rural markets.

For any candy brand building distribution in the mom-and-pop trade, by making jars of 50 and 100 single pieces available is critical for success as that is where the consumption is.

In the urban market, creative vending machine distribution can be used at malls and airports. Parle can come up with its own vending machine for its confectionery offerings and customise its service.

Promotion strategy:

Parle should try to make customers remember Rol-a-Cola in the quirkiest way possible. After all, it has made a significant come-back and has entered a new era defined by the likes of millennials and Gen Z customers.


Currently, the major advertisement strategy of Parle comprises television, which is 80 per cent, and digital, which is just 7 per cent. Parle should try increasing its ad spend on digital media as the Rol-a-Cola brand recall happened on a digital platform.

Recommendations for using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter include —

· Collaborating with Web influencers on these platforms to create fun content on Rol-a-Cola.

· Quirky hashtag campaigns on these platforms, including online contests around likes/shares.

· Another strategy can be smart co-branding. For instance, co-branding with TV network channels can be done for the target audience (like Hershey’s and Destination America’s co-branding).

A 1990’s style ad campaign targeting the old customers (age group 25-30 years) of Rol-a-Cola can be designed to create rejig among those who have a deeper emotional connection with the brand.

In the rural segment, the following promotional strategies can be used for creating awareness:

· TV ads and print ads through newspapers should be prioritised. A core campaign focusing on the rural consumer’s lifestyle (preferably the youngsters) should be carried out.

· Then, out of home (OOH) advertisements such as hoardings with local language can be implemented. Walls can be painted with logos and catchlines from Rol-a-Cola campaigns.




Ankit Saharia


Riya Handique

(The Fourth Runners-Up are 1st year MBA students at IIM Ranchi.)