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CandyLand Will Continue to Innovate & Bring New Products for Consumers: M. Ehtisham Khan

CandyLand is one of the biggest brands in Pakistan. Every kid in Pakistan has grown up with confectionery products made by CandyLand, making it a household name all across the country. Be it their amazing candies, their funky Chili Mili jelly, or their well received marketing commercials, CandyLand’s brand presence is stronger than ever.

Q1. What was the business goal/strategy for CandyLand when it was established in 1988 and how has it evolved?

CandyLand is a household name and has been a top tier brand for at least three decades. It’s a leader in the confectionery market (Nielsen). Candyland is part of Pakistan’s prominent FMCG group called Ismail Industries Limited, along with other business concerns like Bisconni and Snack City.

CandyLand has the distinction of developing flagship brands in major categories, namely: jellies, compound chocolates, marshmallow, lollipops, candies, chews and toffees.  etc. The strategic direction set by Candyland for itself is to be a thought leader and a brand of choice. This vision is ensured by constant innovation and venturing into the blue oceans has always paid dividends to the company.

The company’s business philosophy is driven by its Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Ismail’s strong belief in delivering value to the consumer. Success is a bi-product of consumer delight.

Pakistan is a market of BOP (Bottom of Pyramid) and serving the BOP is an uphill task, especially with ever increasing cost pressures. Affordability is a major constraint in this segment. Knowing the consumer preferences, Candyland has successfully launched multiple brands to service this segment at affordable price points.

Q2. What about your future plans for CandyLand?

Candyland being a Pakistani company has a lot of confidence in the local market. Candyland will continue to innovate and bring new product categories to its consumer.

At the marketing front, Candyland has already established itself as a trend setter and will continue to do so in the future. CandyLand is a home grown Pakistani brand which has developed legacy brands such as Chili Mili, Fanty, Paradise and NOW. The company’s success story stems from its ability to provide the ideal mix of high quality and affordability and this philosophy shall remain the backbone for future growth.

Q3. Can you tell us a little more about CandyLand NOW in terms of its history and current market standing?

Candyland NOW is a compound chocolate that is available for Rs.5 and Rs.10 in the market. Our flagship SKU is a Rs.5 chocolate bar. It is extremely popular in the socio-economic class namely, A, B and C’s, its major consumption points are schools, cafeterias, grocery stores and typical ‘mom and pop’ stores.

CandyLand NOW is a very good mix of chocolate and caramel and that’s a very unique flavor which is not available or produced by any other brand. NOW is one of our flagship brands and not only in CandyLand but also in the chocolate category that we own as a whole. Apart from NOW we also produce three more brands in the compound chocolate category which are Paradise, Sonnet and Cloud9.

Q4. With so much foreign and local competition how do you see CandyLand NOW given the current market scenario?

NOW is one of CandyLand Pakistan’s legacy brands. It is available in Rs. 5 and 10 price points and is extremely popular across all socio-economic classes and is frequently consumed in school canteens in addition to being widely available at most retail outlets. In contrast foreign competition is only available at top end retail stores. While they are quality brands in their own right, these competitors can neither offer the price points that CandyLand NOW does, nor boast the same distribution strength.

At CandyLand, there is no compromise on quality, which is what we aim to deliver throughout the product lifecycle. Secondly, maintaining the price points is of critical importance to us to ensure affordability for all consumers. Finally, we ensure that our distribution reaches out to strata 3 and strata 4 towns as well so that the product is enjoyed by consumers all across Pakistan. We also invest heavily in building brand equity through 360-degree marketing campaigns. Coming back to the earlier point about quality, our latest communication was made in Pakistan and has set benchmarks for animation in the Pakistani advertising industry both in terms of content as well as production values.

Q5. What are the future plans for the brand?

Candyland has been serving the masses for a long time now. We now have to graduate up the pyramid and re-engage our old consumers. These are the people who used to buy our brand from school canteens and are now more receptive to contemporary or non-traditional trade channels. Stores like Imtiaz, Chase Up or Hyperstar are increasing their presence and are catering to a consumer who seeks value through better spending power. Our first aim is to improve our brand offering through larger SKUs which will enhance our presence on the shelf and enable us to recruit new consumers. Most importantly, as a confectionery company, we are constantly innovating with line extensions and new products so you will soon see Candyland offering more variety in chocolates in times to come.

Q6. In terms innovation, can you tell us a little more about the TVC and the development theme behind it?

The TVC was a really exciting project for us. Since CandyLand NOW’s previous campaign was also animated and it was something of a very novel nature for its time (early 2000s). Back then there were no players in the market who were investing in animated TVCs. We were one of the first ones to take the animation route and we got very positive feedback from consumers and the market alike. After a hiatus of a few years we are back with our new communication keeping in view the recent advancement in the country’s animation industry. Candyland NOW is one of Pakistan’s homegrown legacy brands therefore the objective was always to augment this legacy by producing work which was ‘Made in Pakistan’.The challenge was to keep the brand message consistent. It is safe to say our trust in the Pakistani film production market paid off. The campaign was able to gather praise from all quarters of society as it rejuvenated the brand while keeping its legacy intact.

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