Nestle India stands to lose advertising inventory of about Rs 10 crore due to Maggi recall despite its move to air commercials of Nescafe or KitKat in all advertisement slots booked for the instant noodles brand, broadcasters and media planners say.
Leading food group Nestle India stands to lose advertising inventory of about Rs 10 crore due to Maggi recall despite its move to air commercials of Nescafe or KitKat in all advertisement slots booked for the instant noodles brand, broadcasters and media planners say. "The channels have been told to subtly replace Maggi ads with Nescafe and KitKat commercials," a senior media planner said. "But despite this attempt to recover as much inventory possible, Nestle will have to let go of advertising inventory worth Rs 8-10 crore," the person said on the condition of anonymity. On Saturday, Nestle notified broadcasters and other media houses in India to stop publishing Maggi ads from Sunday. While the Swiss company has stopped digital advertising for the brand as well, it is using various social media platforms liberally to sell its side of the story to Indian consumers. A Nestle India spokesperson said that while the firm has taken action to stop Maggi ads, "you may see a few since changing the programming pipeline could take a little longer". Nestle is one of the biggest advertisers in India, spending over Rs 400 crore on advertising a year. Its ad spend on Maggi brand alone is estimated at over Rs 150 crore, according to industry insiders. Publicis Worldwide is Maggi's creative agency, while Zenith-Optimedia handles the brand's media buying and selling activities. The digital mandate of Maggi is handled by GroupM's Maxus. Sources in these agencies said that Nestle stopped airing Maggi Oat Masala noodle commercial featuring actor Madhuri Dixit right after the scandal broke. In February, Maggi had launched a campaign, 'Khushiyon Ki Recipe', which was on air till Saturday despite Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) dismissal of Nestle's defence about the brand embroiled in controversy over excessive lead content and mislabelling on MSG. Nestle has now instructed channels to take these commercials off air. Meanwhile, Ahmedabadbased Consumer Education Research Centre (CERC) is contemplating legal action to push Nestle to do corrective advertising across print and television space. "Considering Nestle advertisements have been misleading the consumers, they ought to engage in corrective advertising to tell the consumer in as many words about what is factually correct," said Pritee Shah, chief general manager at CERC and a member of an inter-ministerial monitoring committee for misleading advertisements under the ministry of consumer affairs. G Gurucharan, additional secretary (consumer affairs), too, had recently stated that Nestle could be asked to put out corrective advertisements. Shah said that considering Nestle has been misleading the consumer about the health aspect of Maggi, it should redo its commercials. In addition to lead and MSG, the firm needs to clarify that one helping of Maggi is not equivalent to three chapatis as claimed by one of its ads, he said.