For the umpteenth time, the leading noodle brand in the market, Indomie Instant Noodle has chose the ‘ignoble’ path of product line extension by introducing Indomie ‘Belle Full’, another stock keeping unit from its stable.
The new SKU was heralded through the Indomie Belle Full comedy challenge, which was opened to online video skid producers. The winner of the contest went home with the sum of N1 million while consolations prizes of N100 for 6 others contestants and free Indomie supply for one years for all the 10 finalists.
The campaign according to Dufil Prima Foods management recorded over 400 entries.
According to the Head of Marketing, Dufil Prima Foods, Mr. Girish Sharma who referred to the new product as a brain child of an extended consumer research and survey, said, “We are launching the new Chicken flavour product from Dufil Prima Foods called Indomie Belle full for our valued consumers, and it is borne out of the brand’s effort in catering for the growing need of the family and easing the hassle associated with purchasing multiple packs of already available Indomie SKUs for meals on the home front.”
Girish added that the new product is made from the best quality wheat which will boost energy in no time after consumption. He asserts that the Indomie Belle Full of chicken flavour has come with a difference to stand tall in the noodle market as it is the first of its kind.
The Head of Marketing revealed that the company is working tirelessly to yield to the ever changing taste of consumers by developing different SKU’s and flavours leveraging on the company’s strong brand equity in order to maintain its competitive advantage and sustain the growth and profitability of its business activities.
It would be recalled that Indomie had in the past launched Hungry Man Pack and Pepper Soup SK, which failed the market permutation. In 2010, Indomie first had it fingers burnt with the Pepper Soup SKU when the brand tried to appeal to the upper segment of the market.
Indomie may not be seen as meal for the younger audience in other part of the world such as Malaysia, India and Pakistan but it is viewed as brand targeted at the 2 to 15 years old market segment.
The brand insatiable appetite to appeal to the adult segment had led it to introduce Hungry man pack and pepper soup variant between 2009 and 2014.
So far, these introductions had failed in Nigeria because the adult segment of the market had refused to be drawn to it.
There are many reasons to add new products-or line extensions-to ones company’s product mix.
In fact, line extensions may be the answer to building sales and moving your company in a whole new direction. Take a cue from big business. Look at how Kraft, for instance, has added Jell-O Instant Pudding and multiple permutations of the Jell-O brand in order to capture new audiences and expand into previously untapped market niches.
It all starts with a brand. Gillette as an example, the brand encompasses a number of product lines, including blades and razors, toiletries, writing instruments and lighters. Individual products exist within each of the product lines. In other words, Gillette’s line of blades and razors extends to Lady Gillette, Mach 3, Sensor and others. The company’s toiletries line includes Gillette Foamy, Dry Idea and Right Guard, while its writing instruments line consists of Paper Mate and Flair. This gives Gillette a wide product mix.
On the downside, there is the potential for overextension-new products may cannibalize sales of older ones, or your resources may be disproportionately siphoned off for slower-moving products.
Of course, that’s where the principle of planned obsolescence comes into play. It’s no accident that each time Hewlett-Packard and Canon introduce the latest incarnations of their desktop printers, the older models with fewer features become less desirable and eventually obsolete.
In Nigeria, the list of failing product line extension strategy failure is endless. Indomie is one classical example of failed brand extension exercise. Indomie is the leader in the segment. As at today, the brand does not have a visible competition. Brands such as May & Baker’s Mimee, Chicky Noodles, Honeywell Noodles, Dangote Noodles, and several others have tried albeit unsuccessfully to restrain Indomie arrogant posture in the market.
Well known brands such as Gulder, Star, Harp, Guinness Stout, Maggi, and a few others have unsuccessful launched extended lines. Some of the failed extensions include Gulder Max, Star Triple X, Harp Lime, Guinness Smooth, Coke Zero, Fanta Orange, and many more.
Observers believe that Indomie should have consolidated it market foothold in the kid segment that it is perceived to be it main target market rather than dilute its equity with Belle Full. “Belle Full is launch to address what Hungry Man could not achieve. You can’t keep doing same thing and expect different result,” said a brand manager in one of the leading manufacturing concerns in Nigeria.
“I can’t see how Belle Full will succeed because there is no void in the segment to bridge. I pray it succeed but it is hard to see when it would start from,” Akin Alade, Communication Expert said.
Besides Indomie being perceived as a kid brand, Indomie through its thematic and communication campaigns has further reaffirmed the consumer perception.
Therefore, it may be difficult to drive brand communication strategy to suit the new market proposition. In fact, it may be counter productive.
Apart from Indomie continuous struggle for relevance in the adult segment, the brand may have gotten in wrong with the brand name ‘Belle Full”.
“Belle Full’ means gluttonous and it is used to describe someone with excessive appetite. The upwardly mobile segment of the market may not want to identify with ‘Belle Full because of its connotation.
Findings revealed that this is the same factors that plague the ‘Indomie Hungry Man’ pack. However, pepper soup SKU was seen as an ideal addition but the brand owners failed to properly give a good push.
Expert opinions do not favour the successes and growths of this new addition despite Indomie brand management team undoubted believe in the brand.
Maybe, Indomie management team has found a marketing solution to it unproductive brand extension strategy and this may as well prevent Indomie Belle Full from going the way of Indomie Hungry Man and Pepper Soup SKUs.