Saurav Ganguly, heart attack, endorsement of a cooking oil product

Saurav Ganguly, the price of Kolkata, former Indian test cricket captain, was responsible for building Indian cricket from the abyss of 2000 to what it is today. The post is not about cricket, but about the cooking oil he endorsed, his mild heart attack, trolling by individuals on social media.
It is unfortunate that our idol had a heart attack and as we had prayed, he has recovered quickly after Angioplasty. The moment news broke out about his heart attack, people remembered the product/brand he endorsed. The fortune brand refined rice bran oil marketed by Adani Wilmar, advertised by agency Oglivy and Mather that claims the oil to be heart healthy. Why did he get heart attack despite being a sports person at highest level and at a young age of 48?

At one level, it is unfair to target Saurav Ganguly or the brand Fortune for his present health status. Brand only claims that the oil is good for heart and never claims that no matter what you do, you will never get heart attack. Saurav on his part, despite following a healthy lifestyle had to get a heart attack. I promote coconut oil for cooking and hair but I am bald and I am not necessarily the healthiest. So, coconut oil or the brand Cocoguru is not responsible for it. But for that we need to think fairly, which doesn’t happen in the emotional world of advertising.

Should Saurav Ganguly promote the product/brand?
Saurav Ganguly has worked hard as a professional cricketer to achieve success he has and rise to be a nationally adored celebrity. He has borne the cost of being a celebrity also. It is only wise he uses his reach to commercially encash on his popularity. But people are only questioning his responsibility in choosing the products he has endorsed. I believe he must personally use it, must have done some basic research and liked it before endorsing it to others. I know Harsha Bhogle for one does the due diligence before endorsing a brand. A few cricketers like Hashim Amla don’t sport Castle Lager logo on their shirt though it is their national sponsor as it is a liquor brand. With financial commitments it is easy to endorse brands that pay the most. Sportsmen are also under the pressure to make money fast as they have limited time appeal mostly in their playing days when they are playing well.

Should the brand select Saurav Ganguly for the campaign?
The campaign is about being healthy even after crossing 40 years of age and Ganguly is a correct choice for it as he is an icon for all people across the country who are of that generation. But the brand’s advertising agency must have worked with Ganguly to find out if he really is a user of the product, does the product really promote heart health? For any long term relationship to work, deal must work fairly both ways.

Risk of having a personality endorse a brand
Nobody would have anticipated Ganguly suffering from heart attack, so the brand must be excused for not covering this risk. There have been backlashes in the past for celebrities taking political positions like Amir Khan, Deepika Padukone, Swara Bhasker etc and users have boycotted the products they have endorsed. Celebrities are humans after all and have their right to opinion and expression, but it runs the risk of their followers liking it or not. Using celebrities gives brands immediate benefits of reach and liking, but it also carries its risk.

Is there any logic, head or heart in promoting refined oils as healthy?
The low cost of refined oil gives its marketers the wide mass market for consumption and hence the marketing budget to spend enticing the users to switch to it. Refined oils may be devoid of impurities like free fatty acids, bad odour, extra colour, solid particles and moisture. But why did the oil have impurities in the first place? Because they were inferior grade oils that were made acceptable through refining. Crude, raw, filtered, cold pressed oils are extracted from superior grade oil seeds and ready of consumption as it is, without having to undergo refining. But they are expensive because such oil seeds are expensive. Crude oils are healthy but their manufacturers don’t have the marketing muscle to promote it to masses. Masses can’t afford it either. Masses usually succumb to dubious claims by advertisers especially if it comes from a celebrity.


New Website for Cocoguru now has a new website and design. This is the 3rd design since it started. This time the speciality being, the site is all self developed. Here I like to share our development process and ideas.

Domain Registration of was done earlier with Hosting was also done at’s server. Being a market leader in web domain and hosting space, it is also the best in business with minimum downtime and reliable service. Dealing with free hosts or any local hosting space provider can be painful at times.

Website static pages can be developed with html on a text editor or html editors like dreamweaver. Also website can be developed with dynamic pages using Content Management System (CMS) softwares. They provide easy user interfaces where even common users can develop and maintain website pages. WordPress, joomla, drupal are among popular CMS softwares. from Automattic Inc. is the most popular free open source platform for website and blog development. Countless themes are designed, plugins are developed to make the complete ecosystem pretty strong and vibrant. Latest version of WordPress 3.5 was installed directly from godaddy’s hosting dashboard. Then the complete website design and development is done by logging into wordpress dashboard.

We strongly believe in minimalism where focus is only on what is required i.e. contents and anything unwanted i.e. flashy designs are ruthlessly deleted. Latest default theme for wordpress i.e. Twenty Twelve was chosen for this site. It is free and there are many other themes and some of them are paid. Once a theme is selected and systematically followed, the site developer can write his contents plainly in text and not bother about formatting. There may be some aspects of the theme that you may not like, they can be modified if you can or you will have to just live with them. A few free plugins like akismet (for spam protection), mappress (for showing maps), tablepress (for tables), sharethis (for social sharing buttons), formbuilder (for creating forms) etc were installed.

Website pages can be developed by adding pages, Blog can be created by just adding posts. WordPress dashboard has a easy Visual and Text editor to add contents. Each page/post comes with a comment form and a button for sharing on facebook, twitter, linkedin, google+ and email. Header, Footer and Menu are common to all pages and posts.

The contents posted are genuinely about us written by me and not website development company. None of the text or photos are copied from other sites. They are free from jargons/exaggerations like customer satisfaction, high quality, modern infrastructure, excellent service, social responsibility, striving towards growth etc. Photos are again taken by me with minimal editing to just crop the required portion. Information is openly shared to enable viewers to clearly understand about us.

Key Message
Small businesses need not use the services of Web Designers to get their website done. They will charge anywhere between 15,000 Rupees to 35,000 Rupees to get a flashy website done. Instead you could do it yourselves and write great contents to attract visitors.

What Next
The present template is Twenty Twelve as it is. It needs to be customized to get Cocoguru brand’s feel. More contents are to be updated to make the site content rich.


How is Cocoguru Coconut Oil different from Parachute?

When I ask random people about the coconut oil brands that they are aware of, they all say Parachute and in many cases only Parachute. Name Parachute is synonymous with coconut hair oil, Marico should be congratulated for successfully branding the commodity and establishing a whopping 50% + market share in Indian organized coconut oil market. They are also such a boon to the Indian coconut industry by consuming 7% of Indian coconut production.

Now that we have launched Cocoguru brand of coconut oil, Question that anybody would ask is “We already have Parachute available everywhere, then why Cocoguru?”. I would like to answer that in this post.

1. Brand Positioning
Parachute brand represents Hair Care and Coconut Oil is one of the ways in which they nourish your hair. That is why we have hair cream, jasmine oil, non-stick hair oil from Parachute. Cocoguru brand represents delivery of Natural Goodness of Coconut, Coconut Oil is one of the ways in which we deliver you the benefits of Coconut. We have organic coconut oil, oil cake and edible copra. We plan to introduce virgin coconut oil, desiccated coconut powder, coconut milk etc in future.

2. Cooking Oil vs Hair Oil
Though both brands are 100% pure coconut oil and follow PFA (Prevention of Food Adulteration Act) guidelines and hence edible. Parachute is used as hair oil by people across India and world and has a much wider mainstream market. Cocoguru is used as cooking oil by people in Coastal Karnataka and has a niche market. We believe that Coconut Oil’s benefits are best realized when used in our diet though it is an excellent hair oil. With Parachute you see only small quantity upto 1 litre blue color HDPE bottles, while edible oil brand generally pack in pouches, cans and tins in quantity above 1 litre.

3. Cold Press process vs Heat Press process
Parachute is mass manufactured using a heat press process. Copra is roasted and cooked to remove moisture and fed into an expeller for crushing at high temperature and pressure. Oil extracted through this process has smells sharper, lasts longer due to less moisture and is a more efficient process in terms of percentage of oil recovered from copra.

Cocoguru is manufactured using cold press process. Sun dried copra is directly fed into Ghani (rotary machine) for crushing. Oil that comes out isn’t subjected to much pressure, temperature and hence retains the Natural Goodness of Coconut. Cold Pressed oil has a milder smell and appears colorless like water while heat pressed oil appears yellowish.

4. Quality of Raw Material (Copra)
Quality of coconut oil in cold press process depends mainly on the quality of copra, even one bad copra can quickly spoil the oil extracted from that batch. So, we can’t afford to use bad quality copra. Heat press process masks the presence of bad quality copra. We need only a few hundred tons of copra per year and can afford to have laborers sort out good quality copra from bad quality ones. When Parachute uses millions of tons of copra for mass manufacturing oil, it can’t afford to ensure raw material quality. Also they use 7% of coconuts produced in the country, if they go hunting for only good quality copra they will be left with not that much of copra. The bad quality copra that we separate are taken by copra traders and sold to Marico in Kasargod for making Parachute Coconut Oil. That is how we know that even bad quality copra is acceptable to them.

5. Job Work Service
Parachute has 5 factories in Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and caters to the entire country. We are where our customers are and work closely with them. Customers can get their Copra crushed at our factory and take back oil and oil cake for certain crushing service charge.

6. Cost and Price
500 ml Parachute bottle retails at 90 /- while Cocoguru sells at 30/- for a 500ml pouch. I would say Cocoguru is 3 times cheaper for a superior product! The reason for this vast difference is in the costs. Parachute has the overheads of managing a listed company, managing copra supply chain, spreading brand awareness and intensive distribution to a national market. Ours is a closely held family business catering (not unorganized) to a small local market and buy copra directly from farmers. Parachute attracts higher taxes 13.5% VAT and 8% excise duty as it is used for cosmetic purposes while Cocoguru has no excise duty and only 5% VAT as it is used for edible purposes.

7. Brand Awareness, Availability, Packaging
Above 6 points are all positives for Cocoguru over Parachute. But I give it to Parachute without much comments w.r.t. Brand Awareness (category definer), nationwide distribution and innovative packaging from small 1 Re tube to 1 litre bottle.

Based on these facts, Is Cocoguru threatened by Parachute? No. Cocoguru targets a small market of Coastal Karnataka and Kerala, people who use Coconut oil for cooking purpose. Cooking Oil market is highly price sensitive. So, because of small market size and high price sensitivity cooking oil market isn’t attractive for big players like Parachute. Still I wish Parachute for its market power should have done its bit to promote the health benefits of coconut oil and endorse its usage as cooking oil. Instead it chose to launch Saffola (blended safflower oil with rice bran oil) and Sweekar (refined sunflower oil) to cater to edible oil market.

Then who is the biggest threat to Cocoguru? Cheap substitutes like refined palm oil and sunflower oils are the biggest threat. Perception (wrong perception) that Coconut Oil is bad for heart because of Cholesterol and all saturated fats are bad is another big threat.