How a brand of Indian candy becomes an unlikely social media icon..

This article has a bit of everything – internet marketing, brand management, currency issues, customer perceptions, pricing etc.

It is about how a hard boiled candy called Pulse which has quickly generated Rs 100 cr of sales. I just tasted the candy recently and found it to be really different. It is perhaps the most tangy candy I have eaten so far. It is like eating a raw mango with salt and they have brought the taste to be really close to the original thing. It seems to be quite popular with most people who have eaten it.

The question is how did the candy grow this big?:

Pulse, a hard-boiled candy with a raw mango flavour and a tangy inside, was launched in mid-2015 and has since notched sales of over Rs 100 crore. It comes from the stables of DS Group, a Noida-headquartered conglomerate that also makes Baba chewing tobacco and Rajnigandha paan masala.

A report in Mint says the candy, priced at Re 1, was introduced in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Delhi in a “test-marketing drive”, but demand was off the charts from the start. “What has made Pulse popular is word of mouth, supported by DS Group’s strong distribution network,” Mint said, quoting unidentified company officials.

The popularity has been a self-propelling phenomenon – the more Pulse finds admirers among the internet generation, the more mentions it gets on social media. The greater visibility it gets on social platforms, the bigger the cult around it grows, online and offline.

This is perhaps what sets Pulse apart from the popular candies of earlier times, whether Poppins, Mango Bite, or Phantom sweet cigarettes. Nobody was creating video reviews of Parle Poppins in the 1980s.


Some people think it is just like one of those candies and more of a hype. There are others who think the candy has become popular as it is used due to shortage of loose change:

But a management communications student studying Pulse for her dissertation had another theory. She told on condition of anonymity that the candy is popular “solely due to grocers who refuse to tend loose change”.

“The candy shouldn’t have been this popular if it wasn’t forced on people through their purchases,” she claimed. “Now, it has replaced chewing gum as the default thing people get when they want to have something in the mouth. The addiction people talk about is basically behaviour moulded through habits.”

Loose change has been a huge problem. Most people complain of getting candies etc instead of coins as change. Worst is the same shopkeeper who gives these candies as change refuses to accept them when you do not have coins to pay small sums. So a kind of one way currency.

But in this case unless the company gives special incentives to distribute the candy as change, the grocers might not do it. There are so many options instead of the pulse candy.

Interesting set of questions and answers. We rarely think about these small items which actually generate quite a lot of revenue and profits..


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