Continuing from the discussion we had about the evolution journey of Surf Excel through its commercials; today we will quickly breeze through another brand – Bru Coffee. Bru Instant Coffee product line is yet another successful brand from Hindustan Unilever in India for decades.
Brief History of Bru Coffee
A nice and interactive timeline of Bru is provided in their website. HUL launched its coffee powder under the name Brooke Bond Green Label in 1962. India being a tea nation; at that time perhaps this was the first branded entry by any company into coffee market. This could be the reason why HUL extended the brand of Brook Bond which is the famous tea brand name. The instant coffee market was perhaps born in 1968 with Bru Instant. Since then, Bru product line has seen new introduction, re-branding and pruning of variants. As of today, Bru Coffee is available in for four variants – Bru Gold, Bru Instant, Bru Select and Bru Roast & Ground
Association with filter coffee
I couldn’t find any commercials from the seventies for Bru. If you find any, please do share; it will be interesting to watch those advertisements. The oldest Bru ad I could find on the internet is one from late eighties. During the earlier commercials, Bru used the comparison approach (stereotype to create an association in consumer behavior vocabulary) to attract those drinking filter coffee. At that time, coffee was the dominant hot drink perhaps only in the southern part of India. And filter coffee in particular used to be THE choice. So this association was needed during the initial days. Another close association the ad is trying to make is its connection with the traditions of South India (both in terms of visuals and voice overs).
Transition to its own category of instant coffee
Association with filter coffee continued for may be about the entire nineties. Check out the Malayalam Ad. If we forward a bit, the feature based themes were also used in the advertisements. For example, watch the below ad which focuses on how tasty Bru is. The entire voice over goes through new taste and aroma. This is perhaps the transition phase of moving away from the association with filter coffee and of being its own product category. Here is a pan India ad in Hindi that showcases both these themes.
Moving towards slice-of-life themes
Fast forward to 2000’s, the brand started using slice-of-life themes with subtle indications of aroma and taste of the coffee. One interesting piece that is clearly evident from the ads during these period is the careful selection of life sequences and target segment — Young middle class with aspirations. For example, watch the below ad which showcases a new generation daughter trying to introduce to her father, her boy-friend. Though the daughter is not able to put forth the idea of having a meeting; father understand about it after drinking a cup of Coffee. The key ingredient to the success of this campaign is two-fold. Firstly, it gels well with the target audience and secondly the shoot is perfect. For example, all aspects like whether showcasing the brand name, packaging or ingredients of the Coffee is executed perfectly. Earlier theme aspects like aroma and taste are subtly included in the pictuarization.
Happiness Begins with Bru!
A campaign that gave the brand a big boost is the Happiness Begins with Bru. The first commercial in this sequence was again a slice-of-life theme showcasing a day of a young couple; wife announcing that she is pregnant symbolically by giving a small cup of Bru to her husband. Have a watch of the ad. Once again all aspects of the brand is well captured in the video – be the subtlety used for aroma, packaging, taste etc. or the connection with its target audience.
The brand has continued with a similar theme of ‘with-bru-comes-a-good-mood’ commercials (Ek Cup Bru Aur Mood Ban Jayae). Once again the target segment is kept well under consideration. One sequence showcases a wife having a bad day; yet giving her husband a cup of coffee. After taking a sip and mesmerized by the taste; the husband tries to calm her down by giving a foot massage!). The second sequence follows a similar path of showcasing a young couple’s day in which the husband dedicates a song in radio for his wife after having the Bru coffee.
Jingles and Humor
The motivator behind this blog post is one of their long running commercials. One day, I noticed my wife inadvertently singing the jingle while making coffee/during discussions. The ad is the one showcasing ‘yet another young couple’ in which the wife sings a song about how to make the best coffee! The song is all about teaching her husband how to make the coffee by using two cups, Bru, water, sugar and milk. The jingle is so perfectly recorded that you get tempted to sing it like a song (a special mention needs to be done in making the dubbing across language perfectly)
In the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the brand has used the celebrities Karthi and Kajal Agrawal in a set of commercials ranging from the successful & long aired husband-makes-coffee-for-wife to the latest son-knows-father ad.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean the brand had always made successful campaigns; I would consider few flop series were also there. Interestingly these included big celebrities as well. For example, have a look at this ad featuring Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra for Bru Lite Coffee. The whole sequence tries to mimic the above mentioned ad related to Ek Cup Bru Aur Mood Ban Jayae; but the complete focus seems to have been on the celebrities; they even forgot to have a branded coffee mug!
Love is Bru
Come 2016, the brand has gone one step forward with a commercial and tag line – Love is Bru. In the latest and greatest installment, Bru has used a life-of-slice theme. In this, the wife gives more coffee to her successful husband who is under office pressure. He asks her why and she states he is the breadwinner and undergoing lots of sacrifice and stress. The husband returns the favour stating the sacrifices she has done for him and the family can’t be matched by anything.
What do you think about this latest advertisement from Bru Coffee and how the brand has evolved…?