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“The All New” or “The Good Old” Nimbu Paani

13 April 2010

All of a sudden, everybody is after the humble nimbu paani. It started with PepsiCo and Parle Agro launching Nimbooz and LMN respectively in 2009. Recently, Coke has jumped into the fray with the lemon version of Minute Maid, calling it Nimbu Fresh. While LMN and Nimbooz enjoyed a fair bit of advertising last year with their launch (and nearly equal success in the market), surprisingly, Parle Agro has not launched any advertisement for LMN this year. Nimbooz has come up with a couple of TVCs and Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh too has quite a gripping advertisement. Let’s analyze the ads for Nimbooz & Nimbu Fresh.

Last year, Pepsi had focused on the ‘real lemon, nothing artificial’ aspect of the drink, and mentioned ‘asli Indian(real Indian)’ at the end of the TVC without focusing on the ‘Indian’ positioning much. However, this year the positioning seems to be totally on it being the real Indian refreshing drink. Coke too has chosen a somewhat similar positioning; but there’s a difference in the way the two have projected the same.

Nimbooz ads are humorous, which even take a dig at some of the common not-so-pleasant Indian practices. On the other hand, Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh tries to build an emotional connect with the consumer. As with the theme, the ads too have invited different reactions from the viewers.

Above shown Nimbooz ads shows a sweaty office-goer sitting beside an auto-rickshaw driver for the morning commute in extreme heat, with the VO “jab office hai jaana, to driver ki god se kya sharmaana(why be ashamed of sitting in the driver’s lap while going to office)”. Though I agree that this scene is very common in the morning hours, and many office-goers would have experienced it, I’m sure none of them is fond of it. Further, the VO makes it downright gross along with the visuals of sweat dripping everywhere.

Compare it with the Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh TVC. It shows some children playing cricket in the heat, and then running off to their respective homes at the end of the match, having a lemonade prepared by their mother. Does it not invoke nostalgia in all of us! And that’s exactly what they show next: a 20-something guy, probably heading for office, being reminded of his mother’s lemonade while enjoying Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh. And then, the VO “bikul ghar jaisa(exactly like home-made)” drills in the same message.

The result of the two campaigns with different themes (Minute Maid & Nimbooz) is yet to be seen in terms of numbers. The numbers might not give a true picture of the campaigns’ success or failure given the fact that the two products are pure substitutes for each other (and it all may boil down to distribution in the end). I believe the difference would be seen in the consumer recall and preference for a brand.

So while the two products are the same, and are positioned similarly on being authentic Indian, the different themes in the TVCs create all the difference. While Minute Maid paints a more positive picture with nostalgia, Nimbooz mocks the Indian practices in the process.

PS: Nice OOH promotion by Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh in Tamil Nadu

ShashankShashank Bajaj is a PGDM (2011) student at IIM Calcutta. He holds a Bachelors degree in Manufacturing Processes & Automation Engineering from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Delhi University and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • Shashank Bajaj


    You seem to have pointed out a major difference between the targeting of Coke’s Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh & Pepsi’s Nimbooz.

    A person who goes through the scenarios shown in the Nimbooz ad on a daily basis would connect with it very well. He won’t feel gross about the situations portrayed in the TVC.

    Whereas, Nimbu Fresh, as is true with the overall brand Coke, is about emotions. It is positioning on reminding you of ‘home’, whereas Nimbooz is about the ‘Indian refresher’.

  • Nishant Choudhury

    I feel Coke’s ad has a basic weakness. They have assumed that all children in all parts of the country drank/drink nimbu paani extensively. I feel that is a fallacy. There would be a lack of connect there. Though existing consumers of nimbu paani would connect, ppl who consume relatively less wont be attracted to the segment(nimbu paani).
    The Pepsi campain targets a very basic feeling. The feeling of exhaustion when ppl are out in heat. The craving for something chilled and refreshing. That wud appeal to both extensive and the not so extensive coonsumers of nimbu paani.
    The distribution network wont be the only differential in the case of nimbu paani. The difference in taste here is much more than in the case of the black colas(normative statement;open to survey).
    Hence, they are not perfect substitutes to each other.

  • Rana

    Well apologies to be off topic but the only ad i can recall, which makes a point clearly in the Cold Drinks segment is Limca….The image of a couple romanticizing by getting each other drenched and soaked with freshness, so well brings out the real pleasure of having a lemon drink in scorching summers. The entire series of advertisements by Limca(also taking into account the most recent one which was a big hit in the IPL this season) symbolizes the fresh n recharging effect that Lemon drinks have and the only reason indian junta preferred it over Coke or Pepsi. I think as these Lime juices (all three above) lack the refreshing agent(soda) they donot have much to deliver in the taste section(hope to receive a lot of criticism on this point) but lets face it…….if you r out in the scorching sun you wud either prefer a Soda drink (Limca included) or Chilled Plain Water. Not many wud go in for bottled Nimbupani and that too overpriced(just an opinion).

  • Shashank Bajaj

    i agree with sachin that Nimbooz is a more catchy name, and just by virtue of it sounding more like ‘nimbu pani’ vis a vis Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh… it has more potential to become the household name

    There’s another with Minute Maid Nimbu Fresh. Already there’s a confusion in the market with respect to Minute Maid’s initial offering: Pulpy Orange. Yes, Minute Maid is an international leader in fruit juices, and a very common name among the consumers. However, there was only one version of Minute Maid available in India for a long time: Pulpy Orange. This led to a confusion in the market as to the name of that drink; some refer to it as “Minute Maid”, some as “Pulpy Orange”. It might become clearer now that there’s a line extension to Minute Maid as Nimbu Fresh.

    So Pepsi wins on the grounds of early launch & better name, while Coke has the benefit of a better advertisement connect. Let’s see who comes out as the winner… or it may just end up like the cola wars where there’s no clear winner ever…

  • http://www.codeitwell.com Shabbir

    Really nice article and its sad to see LMN not upto the task.

  • Sachin Kaushik

    yeaah ppl do becum price sensitive for low involvement products like “cool drinks” wen d products r almost similar…i believe Nimbooz nust hv taken a note f dat…
    “DISTRIBUTION” definitely indispensable (its abt reach anyday for these kinda products)
    “FOR GENRIC NAME”- i think Nimbooz ll hv an edge f d others becoz f its easy pronunciation and catchy “oooooooz” in d end.

  • Shashank Bajaj

    regarding the issue of ‘better taste’… i feel it’s a highly subjective attribute. as sachin had mentioned earlier, there might be loyal customers for both the types of the tastes (sour & sweet).

    so as with any other FMCG product, distribution is among the most important factors for the success of a product

    ur point is valid that we generally accept coke/pepsi/thums up for each other given unavailability of one. however, my point is that if the generic name for the black carbonated sweet water was coke, and every customer came and asked for a coke, he’d still walk a away happily with a Pepsi BUT the retailer would take note of the same and would start stocking coke… maybe WITHOUT coke pushing him to do so.

    that’s what proper branding can do.

    regarding the price difference, a very nice insight :)

  • Shadab .inAhmad

    The likeness of consumer of these three products definitely curtail down to the availability on shelf. How many times we have compromise on pepsi and coke over Thums up because of its nonavailability in stores. Hence distribution of these products would definitely would play a key role in the selling of these products besides minute maid hold a leading edge by already having a brand recognition with its pulpy orange and now coming out with a nimbu fresh it is again attracting consumers and had already created a niche for its brand and revolution in juices. There is also a minute difference for aware consumers as minute maid is selling its 400 ml pack for Rs 15 whereas nimbooz 350 ml pack cost the same.

  • Animesh

    very good article…its good to see tht d marketers are giving so much importance to a traditional Indian drink. I feel tht traditional Indian drinks & food items have a great potential in the Indian market.
    As for Nimbooz vs. Minute Maid, the product name will also play a very important role. I think Nimbooz has a greater potential of becoming a generic brand just because the term ‘Nimbooz’ is more generic in nature as compared to Minute Maid Nimbu fresh.
    Since rest all the things are almost d same, I think Pepsi Co. has chosen a better name which has all the potential of becoming a generic brand for this segmeent.

  • Shashank Bajaj

    I agree with Gokul’s point that Bisleri lost the leadership position because of the poor distribution infrastructure wrt to giants Pepsi & Coke.

    @Omkar, analyzing the hypothesis of more people asking for let’s say Nimbooz but getting LMN because of a better distribution network…
    YES, to the customer, it won’t make much of a difference (given the assumption that their tastes are similar). however, this feedback of more people asking for Nimbooz would result in the retailer himself keeping more stock of Nimbooz rather than LMN. and gradually, LMN would automatically vanish from the landscape.

  • Gokul

    I feel the loss of market share of Bisleri was due to the distribution muscle of Kinley and Aquafina rather than any different positioning. Though ads help people in recognising the brand, there really is no prefernce of one over other, atleast in the bottled water segment.

    Both Pepsi and Coke had a great infrastructure in place in the form of thousands of refrigeration units which they had given out to shops all over the country..They were able to use these to provide cool water, piggybacking on their cold drink distribution, and thus saving on extra margins to be paid to the traders for arranging for cooling.

    But in Nimboo paani, the brands can do a lot in the form of coming out with differentiating tastes.. lemon juice can be sweet or sour and the degrees of each can vary.. whoever comes out with a better product and is able to distribute it better wins…

  • Gokul

    I feel the loss of market share of Bisleri was due to the distribution muscle of Kinley and Aquafina rather than any different positioning. Though ads help people in recognising the brand, there really is no prefernce of one over other, atleast in the bottled water segment.

    Both Pepsi and Coke had a great infrastructure in place in the form of thousands of refrigeration units which they had given out to shops all over the country..They were a

  • Omkar Sathe

    Please read the second question as:
    Considering the taste as same,would it have a significant impact on sales if a rival brand is able to establish itself as the generic name?

  • Omkar Sathe

    As regards to the generic name.
    If you take the case of Bisleri then its market share was significantly eroded with the entry of new players.The taste being the same,different positioning was required to distinguish between the brands.

    The questions that come to mind are,
    If a consumer asks for Nimbooz and is given LMN,would it matter to him?
    If the taste of both products is the same,would it have a significant impact on sales?

  • Sachin Kaushik

    Well what i think is dat although products looks similar but if v compare the drinks of the first two lemon drink players in the market namely LMN and Nimbooz.. they both had a distinction in der taste…Nimbooz was a perfect mix of sourness nd sweetness whilr LMN was high on the sour side… as many ppl i knw.. d ones who liked LMN never wanted to hv Nimbooz and d ones who like Nimbooz like me hated LMN to the core(although both were lemon drinks). Thus d drinks i believe were palate specific.
    Now coming back to minute maid and nimbooz lemon drinks…. der is not much diff in taste.. so wat all matters is the distribution and the brand recall during drink purchases. Advertisements will definately play a key role in influencing purchase decisions.

  • http://www.blackcat.in PRAVEEN

    I agree to a great extent, that it is the product which will matter, in the consumer’s mind and not the brand. The role of the brand is going to be limited to its association with a particular taste or flavour. If the taste/flavour of a particular brand is more accepted/popular, that may take the lead. However these brands should be having a comparable reputation in the market (Pepsi, Coke, Parle)

    If you try to compare Pepsi v/s Coke, it is the taste that matters. If the taste are difficult to be differentiated, then it is the distribution network and the visibility, which matters.

  • Shashank Bajaj

    It is true that the consumers might well be indifferent as far as the product is concerned. However, the real battle is for establishing the brand as the generic name for the category; whether 5 years from now, we’ll ask for a Minute Maid lemon flavour or a Nimbooz when we want a lemonade. Given the respective strength of Pepsico & Coke’s distribution network in India, I don’t think there’s much of a difference in the availability of Nimbu Fresh or Nimbooz.

    regarding establishing generic name for the category, it’s akin to asking for ‘bisleri’ when you want mineral water, asking for ‘dettol’ when you want an antiseptic liquid; list goes on…

  • Gokul

    The only achievement of the ads is going to be in establishing the category of packaged natural lemon juice in the minds of the customer.
    Personally I feel that customers are going to be indifferent between the various brands, as they finally know its plain lemon juice inside.

    So finally the battle is going to boil down to the distribution network. The person whose product is visible on the shelf, wins.

    But its really exciting to see the poor man’s cold drink becoming the focus of brand wars.