Oil brand tries a new Fortune with fresh look and Akshay Kumar as face

The actor introduces the entire range of products under the brand, urging young professionals to step into the kitchen without fear of failure
How does a 20-year old brand that has been associated with one product for the most part of its existence, convince consumers that it is much more than that? By Adani Wilmar’s playbook, a new logo, a fresh look and signing up one of Bollywood’s highest paid actors as brand ambassador ought to do the trick for its edible oils brand Fortune.


Since its launch way back in 2000, Fortune has built itself a neat niche in the edible oils segment, accumulating goodwill and recall in a market that is dominated by large multinationals at one end and unorganised and unbranded sellers on the other. “An internal survey report showed that 90 per cent of our consumers still associated Fortune brand with edible oil, not other food staples. The new campaign is an attempt to push Fortune as a complete foods brand," says Angshu Mallick, deputy chief executive officer, Adani Wilmar.


Akshay Kumar has been roped in as the face of the brand and the television commercial (TVC) has him advising first-timers in the kitchen, mostly millennial working professionals, on how to keep cooking. With the tagline 'Ruko Mat' (don't stop), Kumar pushes his protégés to sample Fortune's wheat flour (atta), pulse flour (besan) and basmati rice and not let their failures in the kitchen blow out their attempts to dish up a meal at home.

Conceptualised by Ogilvy India, the campaign hopes to leverage Kumar’s popularity with the young to create familiarity for the brand and its staples portfolio. It is a smart narrative to use believes Piyush Kumar Sinha, director at CRI Advisory, a consulting firm that specialises in retail. Given that most household have young professionals who call for food to be delivered home, the storyline will resonate with the target audience, he says.


The company has also designed a new logo; the London-based brand design agency Blue Marlin was assigned the task and they decided upon a look that denotes change and yet retains the old association with the brand. The alphabet ‘O’ in the name Fortune is now made to look like a lotus bloom and the colour and font has changed. “The bloom denotes energy and will be the driving force for all our marketing efforts for Fortune products,” says Mallick.


With a fresh look and renewed energy into the brand, the company is hoping it can bring its learnings from edible oil marketing into staples; oils, once a fragmented unbranded marketplace has changed its flavour over the years and is now one where 60 per cent is cornered by branded players. In contrast, only 10 per cent of the total wheat flour market is branded, followed by 2-3 per cent of sugar being branded and only two per cent of total pulses market being branded with hardly any national player in the fray.


For Adani Wilmar, breaking into these markets will mean dipping into the vast distribution network that the company has built for its oil brand. Mallick believes that they are the best placed for such a foray, given that the home grown brand has an understanding of the market and a wide-enough presence in the hinterland.

Sinha agrees that Adani Wilmar is well placed to exploit the gains from its edible oils distribution and brand recall for Fortune, for the entire staples portfolio.


A national campaign with a famous face will help push the brand into the popular consciousness. However, the market for food staples is complex and built on a web of trusted relationships. Consumers choose on the basis of several factors and hence there is no single formula for operating in these businesses, in some cases there is a mix of national and global brands and in others it is a pure unbranded play. With Fortune, Adani Wilmar will have to navigate its way carefully and localise its marketing and promotion according to the product being sold and the region being targeted. Becoming a pure national brand in staples is tricky, according to Sinha. But he says, "Fortune could go on to achieve the goal of becoming a pan Indian brand for staples if it gets three things right; pricing, availability and trust.”


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