Oct 10, 2008

Mktg - Quaker Oats makes you 'Pledge for your Heart'

Chhavi Tyagi

Quaker, a division of PepsiCo Inc., has long realised the importance of making below-the-line activities an important part of their advertising spend. The recent campaign, organized as a run up to World Heart Day, was testimony to the fact that this is one company which takes its on-ground initiatives seriously.

Quaker Oats, a nutritional breakfast offering from the Chicago-based company, organised the Quaker Oats Pledge for your Heart campaign in association with Raj TV in Chennai, in an effort to create awareness about a healthy lifestyle amongst its consumers.

The campaign was held as a run-up to World Heart Day on September 28. For three consecutive days, from September 26–28, people were asked to come and take one pledge from the list. The list had the following three pledges:

1. I will walk everyday at least for 30 minutes,
2. I will eat nutritious and heart healthy food, and
3. I will spend some time everyday on things which I enjoy.

People could send the chosen pledges through SMS or the internet; or just wander to Marina beach, where the pledge taking event was held.

Apart from the pledge taking activity, people who came to the venue were also given a free cholesterol check-up. All the pledges were then written onto placards and put up in a heart-shaped enclosure on Marina beach.

The event saw the participation of about 20,000 people, including the pledges sent through SMS and internet.

Speaking to afaqs!, Rajesh Ramakrishnan, executive vice-president, consumer strategy, Quaker Oats remarks, “It was pleasing to see long queues of people waiting to make their pledges. The pledges, as such, did not have any direct contact with the product. The major focus of the event was to make people choose a healthy lifestyle, which includes nutritious food, daily walk.”

The unique campaign was executed by Mindshare, Quaker Oats' media agency. Speaking to afaqs!, Vivek Ranjan Sinha, business director of Mindshare, says, “It was great to see people taking those pledges. In fact, it reminded me of the New Year's Day when people make resolutions. The fact that even some of the old people came for the event is a witness to the enthusiasm generated by the campaign.”

For the pre-event promotions, Quaker Oats tied up with its associative partner for the campaign, Raj TV, which is a prominent channel in Tamil Nadu. The channel created a couple of TV spots, which talked about the campaign. Along with this, Quaker Oats also sent out SMSs and put up banner ads on websites.

When asked about the reason for choosing Chennai as the venue for the campaign, Ramakrishan states, “Tamil Nadu and Kerala are two states where the brand, Quaker Oats has a high consumption. Therefore, it made sense to target Chennai for the campaign.”

The company has plans to do several other campaigns, which would create awareness about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle amongst its target consumers.

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