Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

A pinch of salt: Can Tata Salt be a Horlicks, Complan or Bournvita?

Marketing and branding experts reckon the latest campaign tagline of Tata Salt—tez baccho se hi toh tez desh banta hain—is adding salt to the wounds. Find out why

Rajiv Singh
Published: May 25, 2023 04:45:32 PM IST
Updated: May 25, 2023 05:02:23 PM IST

A pinch of salt: Can Tata Salt be a Horlicks, Complan or Bournvita?The latest commercial also looks bland on another front. The brand, which had beautifully owned the emotional plank and won hearts of viewers with its ‘desh ka namak’ campaign, should have stuck to the theme of emotional bonding

The camera rolls, and the first frame makes a sharp point. A mother is visibly concerned about the immense academic workload of her daughter: A science project, scholarship test, computer exam and school contest. And all of them taking place in a day! The vibrant kid, on the other hand, stays unruffled and flashes a sweet smile. The camera, meanwhile, catches more sharp images in the latest campaign of Tata Salt. The child is seen solving a Rubik’s cube, the camera zooms in and displays the badge of ‘captain’ worn by the kid, and the confident little girl dishes out a reassuring reply to her jittery mother: “No problem, mummy. No problem.”

Over the next few frames, the mom talks about the importance of consuming iodine-laced salt. “Tata namak main hai sahi matra main iodine jo bachhhon ko tez rakhta hai (Tata Salt has got the right dose of iodine, which makes kids sharp). The commercial ends with a tagline and voiceover: ‘Tez baccho se hi toh tez desh banta hai (sharp kids make a sharp nation)’.

Though the mother and daughter are beaming, advertising and marketing experts have frown upon the commercial and find it too salty. The reason is not hard to fathom. The brand, they reckon, is playing on the insecurity and FOMO of mothers, and goes on to reinforce the clichéd and negative imagery of parents yearning for sharp kids. “Why are you emphasising on tez (sharp) kids?” asks Harish Bijoor, who runs an eponymous brand consulting firm. Already kids are under enormous pressure and stress to perform… one more brand unleashing an assault on the fragile minds is like adding salt to the wounds. “Is Tata Salt trying to become a new Horlicks?” he adds, alluding to the tagline and positioning that Horlicks has been underlining since years: Taller, stronger and sharper. “Why tez kids, and why the expectation from them to make a tez nation?” he asks, adding that the commercial lacks sensitivity.    

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The latest commercial also looks bland on another front. The brand, which had beautifully owned the emotional plank and won hearts of viewers with its ‘desh ka namak’ campaign, should have stuck to the theme of emotional bonding. “Why use kids, and why highlight that they have to be achievers?” says Ashita Aggarwal, professor (marketing) at SP Jain Institute of Management and Research. Tata Salt, she underlines, has been a pioneer in building a brand out of a commodity. Though it’s crucial to highlight the role of iodine, the brand should have stayed away from using the imagery of a concerned mom and high-performing kid to convey the point. Aggarwal points out another missing and overused ingredient in most of the commercials revolving around kids. “Why do they always show moms? Can’t they show fathers talking to kids?” she asks.   

Tata Salt didn’t reply to a set of questions mailed by Forbes India.

Looks like Tata Salt has added more than a pinch in its latest campaign.

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