Inspired by the success of Operation Flood in the milk industry, Dr BV Rao of Venkateshwara Hatcheries Limited decided to mobilise a similar project in the egg industry. The National Egg Co-ordination Committee (NECC) was born. This week in Storyboard18's Throwback, we take a look at NECC's 'Roz khao ande' campaign from the eighties
How 'Sunday ho ya Monday, roz khao ande' changed India's perspective towards eggs. Image: Shutterstock
The year was 1981 and storm clouds were gathering over the Indian egg industry. Input costs had increased dramatically. Margins had fallen. About 40 percent of the poultries had gone out of business. The entire industry faced a threat to its survival. Inspired by the success of Operation Flood in the milk industry, Dr BV Rao of Venkateshwara Hatcheries Limited decided to mobilise a similar project in the egg industry. The National Egg Co-ordination Committee (NECC) was born.
The crisis and NECC to the rescue
Before NECC, egg prices were set by traders. These prices were set without any consideration for the production costs of eggs. Eggs were purchased from poultry farmers at a low price and sold to customers at substantially higher prices. The middleman benefitted at the cost of the poultries and the customers.
NECC, founded as a cooperative movement, was a beacon to unite poultry farmers around India so that they had control over their destiny. Dr Rao called it 'My Egg, My Price, My Life'. Today, NECC is the world's largest single association of poultry farmers and has contributed significantly to the betterment of the egg and poultry business. However, in the early days, there was an urgent need to create demand and stem the deteriorating business conditions.
Understanding the Indian consumer
Dr BV Rao approached Mohammed Khan of Enterprise Advertising. The brief was to promote the consumption of eggs year-round, increasing demand, and supporting poultries. The advertising campaign that Enterprise developed changed the fortunes of the egg industry.
Enterprise Advertising needed to address several issues. People believed that they were having a well-balanced diet and saw no reason to eat eggs. Although they knew eggs were rich in protein, they did not know about the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients that eggs have. Demand was seasonal, with eggs being consumed in winter, and dropping in summer. Eggs were seen as boring with few dishes that one could make, such as fried egg, boiled egg or an omelette.
An ‘Egg’cellent Campaign
These concerns were the cornerstone of a multi-layered campaign by Enterprise Advertising.
A print campaign aimed at educating people about the nutritional value of eggs was launched to establish that eggs were nutritional 'super-food'. For example, one print ad showed an oval egg with the headline “The best square meal in the world?” The aim was to get people to consider adding eggs to their diet.
People with special nutritional needs such as mothers, pregnant or nursing women, and children were the focus of other advertisements.
Novel and tantalising recipes like egg chaat and biryani were showcased in another series of advertisements to overcome the perception of eggs being 'boring'. This was to appeal to a wider audience and to get them to include egg dishes throughout the day, around the year.
Anand Halve crafted the idea “Have you had an egg today?”. This became the foundation for the NECC commercials. A peppy television commercial was conceived: Sunday ho ya Monday, roz khao ande. This energetic commercial was sung by Devang Patel. It was based on the classic Hindi song “Meri Jaan, Meri Jaan, Sunday Ke Sunday”, which appealed to children as well as adults.
Under the direction of Mohammad Khan, many talented people like Madhukar Doiphode, Behroze Banker, Danish, Zarvan Patel, Yvonne Austin, Pandrang Row, and Rajan Nair among others, worked on this campaign.
The message continues to resonate. Whether it is Sunday or Monday, whether served sunny side up, or in a gravy—roz khao ande! Subodh Tagare is an Associate Professor at IMT Nagpur, where he teaches courses on marketing. Before IMT, Subodh was the marketing director at American Power Conversion/ Schneider Electric for South Asia. S Vejay Anand consults with organisations on business strategy and marketing. He has also been an entrepreneur in the food and pet care spaces. Earlier, he was president at Coffee Day and COO at USPL.