Delhi HC asks ITC to suspend juice ad


MUMBAI: The Delhi high court on Friday directed ITC to suspend its advertising campaign “#SayNoToConcentrate” and remove all references to rival PepsiCo’s Tropicana brand. ITC had launched a disruptive campaign “#SayNoToConcentrate” for its packaged juice brand B Natural, which met with an equally stern legal action by rival PepsiCo that dragged the diversified hotels-to-FMCG group to court.

Deepika Warrier, vice-president (nutrition), PepsiCo India, told TOI, “The court has directed ITC to suspend the advertising campaign… as it is derogatory to the category of concentrate juices. ITC has been asked to take steps for removal of their campaign from all hoardings, electronic media and print media.”

The court has asked ITC to return with a revised ad campaign on Monday. ITC has also been asked to cancel an event in relation to the campaign that was scheduled to be held in Mumbai on Monday. ITC declined to comment, saying the matter is sub judice.

According to sources, being a new player, B Natural’s positioning of “not from concentrate” could redefine the packaged juices market. The brand was launched as a ‘concentrate free’ juice last year. PepsiCo India, however, believes there is no significant difference between ‘from concentrate’ and ‘not from concentrate’ juices.

Warrier said, “We have been offering choices of ‘not from concentrate’ and ‘from concentrate’ juices to consumers in India for more than a decade. It is important for consumers to be aware that there is no significant nutritional difference between ‘from concentrate’ and ‘not from concentrate’ fruit beverages. The nutritional value of fruit beverages varies depending upon the type of juice and additional nutrient fortification.”The episode adds to a string of similar advertisements in the FMCG industry that reveal a new trend of marketers resorting to high-impact disruptive ads for shorter durations.


According to brand expert Harish Bijoor, who founded Harish Bijoor Consults, the idea behind such ad campaigns is to create high resonance value even if it is for a short period of time. “Marketing companies know it will not be allowed for long, but that four-five days exposure is good enough for them to create an impact. Usually, the communication is so deep that by the time the competitor reacts, it’s too late. I call it marketing warfare,” said Bijoor.

The trend was visible when Marico’s Saffola oats trained its guns on a rival category by claiming instant noodles are deep fried. Last year, Amul was restrained from airing an ad in which it claimed that while Amul’s “ice cream” was made with “real milk”, “frozen desserts” contained “vanaspati oil”. This directly hit out at rival brands like Kwality Walls and Vadilal which make frozen desserts. In another case, Patanjali Ayurved’s soap ad played on names of rival brands, thus indirectly disparaging them. This too was met with a similar legal fate.

The roughly Rs 2,000-crore market got juicier when ITC launched the said disruptive campaign, throwing an open challenge to its rivals to launch ‘concentrate free’ juices. With Dabur India’s Real having a lion’s share of around 57% in the packaged juice marketand Tropicana’s share at 25%, the marketing strategy of ITC — a new entrant — was apparently directed at creating a dissonance in the market. B Natural has a share of around 7% in juices.

According to Warrier, PepsiCo has been the pioneer in offering “100% juices with no added preservatives or added sugar”.

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