When all else fails, use emotion,” says a well-known slogan in the advertising profession. And when that appears a little out of rhythm in the goods sector, turn to good ol’ mother’s love.”
“Maa ka pyaar” (mother’s affection) is a definite winner in India. This is precisely what “Hippo” snack brand did with their munchies variety. Parle Agro initially attempted to address the worldwide hunger problem with their product, but later altered their attention to marketing it with the promise of love and caring.
None of the strategies, however, could prevent Parle Agro from abandoning Hippo chips. In this essay, we’ll look at the challenges and shortcomings that contributed to Hippo Chips’ death, as well as the reasons for its demise.
Let’s talk about what happened to Hippo chips and why they were discontinued.
Hippo Chips, which were introduced in 2009, were a popular snack in lunchboxes and pantries across the country. Hippo Chips rose to prominence and were well-known for their unusual shape and delectable crunch. But, as time passed, the brand faded away, leaving people to wonder what went wrong.
About Hippo Chips
Hippo’s packaging was larger than the normal snack package, with a large hippo logo on the front, vivid colours meant to stick out, and distinct flavours. To match the personality of the monster on the front of the packet, the term HIPPO was spelt out in huge, bold characters.
Hippo Chips Flavours
Hippo Snacks were launched in the following flavours:
- Chinese Manchurian,
- Indian Chatpatta,
- Hot-n-Sweet Tomato,
- Italian Pizza,
- Yoghurt Mint Chutney,
- Thai Chilli Cream,
- Afghani Tikka Masala, and
- Greek Yogurt.
The company wanted to be a guilt-free snack during times of hunger, hence the phrase “Hippo Fights Hunger” was picked. ‘Hunger is the basis of all evil,’ said Hippo. So don’t starve.’
Campaigns by Hippo Chips
Parle launched some creative marketing initiatives that made good use of social media.
1. The Plan-T Campaign
Following its demand and supply challenges, Hippo understood the issue and did not want consumers to interpret the empty shop shelves as a sign of the brand’s failure in a short period of time.
They did not want to spend large sums of money outsourcing distribution and supply duties to deal with the demand-supply problem, so they interacted directly with their customers. This resulted in the launch of the Plan-T campaign. To fix their problem, they asked their Twitter followers to tweet using the hashtag @HelloMeHippoabout.
This campaign’s purpose was to involve customers in every step of Hippo’s supply chain across several locations, and it was a success since it attracted a huge number of enthusiastic participants.
Hippo used Twitter to find 400 additional employees to assist with sales and distribution at no cost. During the initial stages of its launch, its sales climbed by 76%. Hippo had 800 Twitter followers prior to the campaign launch, which quickly expanded by 300% to 4000 followers, representing 50% of its sales and distribution network.
Hippo received data from Twitter, processed it, and passed it to regional distributors in the affected areas, who replenished the shop shelves within hours, guaranteeing that customers were satisfied.
With the assistance of this campaign, Hippo was qualified to evaluate markets and monitor potential markets for business development.
The nice thing about Hippo was that it understood its flaws and turned them into advantages by harnessing social media. Hippo uses social media to communicate with customers and obtain real-time solutions to availability issues. Hippo’s Twitter account was really active! It had around 4000 tweets written daily about everyday titbits before being removed.
2. Indian Food League
In 2012, Hippo launched the IFL (Indian Food League) web campaign to attract cricket enthusiasts during the IPL (Indian Premier League) season.
The Indian Food League was created to captivate all cricket fans and capture the emotional competition between Indian cities during the IPL. The IFL capitalised on the previously existing competition among T20 teams by pitting these areas’ favourite flavours and cuisines against each other and encouraging fans to comment on the IFL microsite in support of their favourite flavour.
Papdi Chat from Delhi, Kanda Poha from Pune, Dum Biryani from Hyderabad, Paratha from Punjab, Idli Sambhar from Chennai, Pav Bhaji from Mumbai, Dal Bati from Rajasthan, Masala Dosa from Bangalore, and Rosgolla from Kolkatta were among the delicacies picked.
Hippo munchers would be informed to join the IFL by the front of the group. The back of the pack had a QR Code that directed Hippo munchers to the IFL webpage. To win that contest, they had to be as amusing as possible. Winners were announced everyday and given Hippo bean bags. The IPL received tremendous recognition, with Hippos sales increasing during the IPL season.
Hippo Snacks: Various Hypothesis for Failure
Several theories floating around the internet contend that Hippo toasties were unable to compete and thus died off. However, it is difficult to accept, and Parle remained silent on the matter, never disclosing why they had to withdraw their product.
Many Hippo fans, on the other hand, feel that the company discontinued manufacturing because it couldn’t fulfil the tremendous demand, and that success ruined Hippo.
a) Advertising and Branding Problem
Hippo Chips contained no MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), no GMO (Genetically Modified Organism), no cholesterol, and no trans-fat, according to Parle, making the product healthier than many others on the market at the time. They were baked, not fried, according to the producers.
On the other hand, because Parle never publicised its alleged health benefits, individuals never had a compelling incentive to switch to Hippo. Because no one knows whether a specialist positioning such as health food as a snack alternative would be successful, the snack was not marketed as a healthier option.
Hippo faced branding issues as well, such as displaying a large obese hippo on the front of the packaging while pushing it as a healthy option to other snacks.
b) Demand Problem
Within a few months of its launch, demand was increasing, and meeting the rising need was becoming difficult.
Hippo had a phenomenal response from clients all around India following its introduction. The retail racks at certain stores were going empty faster than expected, resulting in a demand-supply situation for the company, which left the racks in 200,000 outlets empty.
One of Hippo’s biggest issues was dealing with a lot of competition. Following its debut, other well-known companies like as Lays, Monaco, and Bingo followed suit. It had to stand out in a crowded snack business and establish high brand importance in the minds of consumers.
It wanted to come up with something distinctive to distinguish itself from the competition. But, aside from its flavour and packaging, it failed to come up with anything else that would assist it overcome the competition.
Lesson learnt from the failure of hippo chips:
Staying Relevant:Brands must constantly evolve and adapt to changing consumer trends and tastes. Hippo Chips unable to adapt to these changes, which led to its demise.
Innovation:To compete in the snack sector, brands must constantly develop and offer new and unique items. Hippo Chips failed to do so, resulting in a lack of consumer excitement and interest.
Market Research:It is critical for success to conduct market research and understand your target audience. Hippo Chips’ popularity may have declined due to a failure to recognise changing consumer tastes.
Brand Image:A strong and consistent brand image is critical for increasing consumer recognition and loyalty. Hippo Chips may have struggled to maintain a consistent image and message, limiting its capacity to engage with its target demographic.
Competition:It is critical in any industry to be aware of your competition and the techniques they employ. Hippo Chips may have failed to keep up with its competitors’ developments and strategies, resulting in a loss of market share.
Even though everything appeared to be in order, the product died. For a time in the late 2000s, the brand managed to outperform rival brands. Perhaps because production costs were too high, consumers were too focused on regular chips, and Hippo was not well sold or branded, the excitement faded. It was cancelled, much to the chagrin of their loyalists. In 2014, their Twitter account was deactivated. Only old tweets and an online petition requesting the brand’s rebirth remain today.