Kurkure Family Express: What Happens When A Crunchy Little Snack Drives An IRCTC Train Full Of Indian Families

The Kurkure Family Express has indeed set a new benchmark in marketing campaigns that bring alive their core proposition in the most memorable way in these digital times

Last week I survived a train trip beside a family of three little girls, their faces so deceptively innocent that not a soul could guess the kind of things they were up to behind their parents’ back. Each was naughtier than the next, but one wish was common: when the snacks-wala bhaiyya passed by, they all screamed in unison – “Kurkure! Papa Kurkure!”

Only after three different flavours were handed out to each of them, there was peace for the next hour or so - which led me to wonder about the brand loyalty built by this humble looking corn puff customized to our desi taste buds, launched way back in 1999 by the F&B giant PepsiCo.

Kurkure, at its core advertising, has always broached upon ‘light-hearted crunchiness’ in its family featuring ads. ‘Tedha hai par mera hai,’ featuring the lively Juhi Chawla made way for the younger and equally quirky Parineeti Chopra and Fareeda Jalal, each part of a fun family bonding over the many twists and flavours of Kurkure.

The snack always managed to emphasize the core brand belief - ‘Bringing families together over snacking,’ in all its communication. The families were shown enjoying a mini get-together around Kurkure snacking time.

But, the world is shrinking and families are falling apart despite it; catalysed by technological innovations and fuelled by digital media, people are now closer to their smartphones than their families. Which is a threat to Kurkure, especially after having firmly established itself as the snacking partner of every Indian family over the years.

To add to it, yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved has made a foray into the salted snacks market. The entry of a new FMCG major into an already cluttered market with local players and other big players like ITC and Haldiram, calls for prompt action on behalf of PepsiCo which derives half its Rs 8,130 crore sales from its food business.

Kurkure has now launched 20 new regional flavours, and what PepsiCo needs now is a brand revamp for Kurkure. Something to re-instate the core brand belief as well as spread word about the variety. And, so it needed to bring back families together and add a twist of freshness to their snacking habits.

The Kurkure Family Express

Kurkure embarked on a massive campaign conceptualized by The Glitch, Team One and JWT this May, after the team hit upon an innovative idea bridging the best of both worlds – offline and online, to connect with its core consumer segment.

The Glitch team had begun to brainstorm ideas around ‘how do we bring families together and have them bond over Kurkure’, being the core trigger. This is when the idea of Kurkure Family Express - India’s First Food Train was born.

Indian families often travel together in the country’s largest and most economic public transport system, the Indian Railways. An assortment of tea and snacks is available any time of the day or even night. What better medium than a moving train to bond with Indian families!

The Kurkure Family Express hosted 40 families over an 8-day journey across India this May. Starting from Delhi, it travelled through 12 cities including Sawai Madhopur, Surat, Lokmanya Tilak Terminal (Mumbai), Pune, Tirupati, Chennai, Vijaywada, Bhubaneshwar, Chitpur (Kolkata), Mughalsarai and Kanpur Central before culminating at Delhi.

The first-of-its-kind train also saw the chatpata celebrity duo Rocky & Mayur ensuring the excitement levels never dropped at any moment. The popular food enthusiasts travelling along with the families also managed to entertain a digital audience following the journey. How you wonder?

A digital team was deployed on the train – their core responsibility was creating real-time content with families, Rocky & Mayur, celebrities boarding the train and over 40 production team members on the train over a time span of 8 days!

A little glimpse into some of the memorable moments:

Content creation & distribution in real-time

As this was the first time a brand was doing a real time on-ground and online content creation and broadcast campaign from a train in India, the Glitch team followed a Content & Conversation led approach for the entire campaign and split it across three stages. In the first stage, the agency created content which enticed the audience to be one of the passengers on the Kurkure Family Express by applying for the ticket by sending in an entry of their family.

Stage 2 comprised content that kept the excitement alive in the mind of the consumer while shortlisting the final 40 families. Contests were conducted to keep the engagement going. Real time content was created from the train in Stage 3, which was then instantly uploaded online on the entire lead digital brand owned assets.  The idea was to hook people sitting at home following the journey from their respective screens.

All throughout the journey, Kurkure’s digital assets - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube served as platforms for the ongoing fun, while a dedicated website acted as an online hub for the campaign. Interested families could book the ticket for the Kurkure Family Express, know more about the journey planned for the final 40 families, watch the content created for this campaign and see the winning entries on the website.

Challenges posed by a moving train

India may be going digital, but staying online at all times on a moving train, is next to impossible. The team was fraught with hurdles in content creation as well as online distribution.

Each day began with a wake up call and a quick breakfast post which the team had to be in action in order to create content and run the activities planned for the day. Despite the activities being pre-planned, the basic content plan had to be constantly improvised as per the online reaction from the audience and the situation on the train. “Which is where the main challenge was - How much ever the team planned, it was always going to be improvised,” The Glitch shared.

Distributing the content posed the secondary challenge for the team: despite being armed with dongles and smartphones, what use were they if they wouldn’t function when required! “Needing the network at the right time to take the right content live,” posed the secondary challenge for the content creation team.

Nonetheless, the efforts have paid off. 8 days and months and months of hard work resulted in 99% positive sentiment, over 290.52 million impressions, a total of 6.57 million video views and generated more than 43,000 conversations. This put brand Kurkure at 5th position on Brand Engagement Index issued by Twitter in Brand Equity for the month of May.

The Kurkure Family Express has indeed set a new benchmark in brand campaigns that bring alive their core proposition in the most memorable way. Unlike the regular mix of on-ground and online driven marketing campaigns, the Kurkure Family Express has helped establish its identity as the snacking partner of Indian families, while also showcasing its new offerings.