Hippo chips were introduced in 2009. But, they were discontinued in 2014.
Launched by Parle Agro, Hippo chips became popular in a short span of time and gained many loyal fans.
Hippo chips gained attention quickly because they were marketed as healthy snacks. These were wheat-baked snacks that weren’t fried, but baked.
Parle Agro launched Hippo chips in six different flavors – including Indian Chatpatta, Chinese Manchurian, Italian Pizza, Thai Chilli, Hot-n-Sweet Tomato, and Yoghurt Mint Chutney.
The chips had an attractive tagline – Hippo Fights Hunger – and an amazing marketing strategy. Still, it failed. Why?
It has been believed that the company was unable to meet the production demand. As a result, Hippo chips were discontinued.
An Overview of Hippo Chips
A larger packet than an average snack packet, a cute hippo logo, and sober colors, and sumptuous flavors – these were some features of Hippo chips.
In 2001, Parle Agro introduced a range of confectioneries in India.
The company launched Hippo in 2009 as a healthy alternative to conventional chips.
Made of wheat, Hippo chips were baked. Also, it has six different flavors.
The Popularity of Hippo Chips
Hippo chips were introduced and marketed as healthy snacks. It was the time when Indians were looking for healthy snacks.
In Hippo chips, people saw a healthy and tasty snack option. Soon after the launch, the chips became popular among the masses.
To reap the benefits from the rising popularity of Hippo chips, Parle Agro launched the IFL campaign in India. The Indian Food League (IFL) campaign was to grab the attention of cricket fans.
The company even used the Indian Premier League (IPL) by putting its different flavors as different teams’ regional flavors. Even the front package was asking people to join the IFL.
The IFL campaign also declared daily winners, who were given Hippo bean bags.
The Problem and the Plan-T Campaign
Hippo chips became so popular that the company started noticing empty retail shelves. However, it was also a matter of concern.
Parle Argo didn’t want people to know that there was a shortage of supply. But, it also wasn’t in favor of outsourcing its distribution.
The company came up with a plan to connect directly with buyers. It launched the Plan-T campaign on Twitter where it urged people to tweet to @HelloMeHippoabout.
Using the Twitter campaign, Parle Argo found 400 new individuals to handle the distribution of Hippo chips for free. The new campaign and new distributors ensured that retail shelves had sufficient packets of Hippo chips.
After the successful campaign, the company decided to continue using social media to stay connected with the admirers of Hippo chips.
The Failure of Hippo Chips – Advertisement, Demand, and Competition
Although the Plan-T campaign helped revive Hippo chips, it didn’t remain useful for a long time.
When it came to advertising, the company didn’t tell buyers about trans-fat and cholesterol in Hippo chips.
Also, Parle didn’t promote Hippo chips as healthy chips, so people didn’t have many reasons to switch to these snacks.
Another problem that led to the failure of Hippo chips was their rising demand. Although the Plan-T campaign was useful to some extent, it wasn’t a long-term solution.
In terms of competition, Hippo chips had to compete against big names like Lays, Bingo, and many others. As it didn’t have a unique selling point, people started forgetting about it.
All these problems came together to make Hippo chips a failed snack.
Hippo chips were tasty and healthy. They also had exciting flavors.
In short, Hippo chips had all the qualities to become a successful snack.
However, failed marketing attempts and fierce competition led to a failed snack.
As a result, Hippo chips were discontinued in 2014.