Clean Strat­egy

The ad­ver­tiser - Xpert dish­wash bar - im­plores fam­i­lies to re­duce the load by us­ing fewer uten­sils through the day, in­stead.

The Brand Reporter - - EDITORIAL | CONTENTS - By Sankalp Dik­shit sankalp.dik­shit@afaqs.com

Xpert dish­wash bar tells fam­i­lies to use fewer uten­sils.

RSPL Group’s FMCG brand, Xpert has re­leased a new ad film ti­tled, ‘#EkBar­tanKam’, which makes a case for all those over­bur­dened women who are buried un­der the weight of never end­ing dish wash­ing. The one minute plus long ad takes a firm stand on the cal­lous us­age of uten­sils in most house­holds, but that’s not ex­actly why this ad is rais­ing eye­brows!

The ar­guably noble idea be­hind this ad seems to be in di­rect con­trast to the fem­i­nist ide­olo­gies which other brands have sworn by in the past. The ad, which nar­rates the te­dious daily sched­ule of an In­dian house­wife, por­trays her sulk­ing and fret­ting over the heap of uten­sils that await her at­ten­tion. Per­haps, what stands out is that no one from her five mem­ber fam­ily as­sists her in the chores. The hus­band who of­fers an ice-cream out­ing to his wife, leaves with­out lend­ing a help­ing hand upon learn­ing that his wife is over­bur­dened.

In times when brands such as Ariel are telling view­ers to ‘share the load’, Xpert hap­pily tells you to sim­ply ‘ease the load’. And just like that, a ques­tion comes to mind - why is a dish­wash brand strength­en­ing age old gen­der stereo­types when the au­di­ences have be­come re­cep­tive to newer ideas and con­cepts?

“Women don’t see it as a bur­den or a chore”, says San­jay Tan­don, as­sis­tant vice-pres­i­dent, RSPL Group. He adds, “This is the burn­ing re­al­ity of In­dian mid­dle class fam­i­lies - the hus­band is work­ing out­side the home and the lady is work­ing in the home. Both are do­ing the need­ful to run a fam­ily. Ladies go about their work cheer­fully and even the hus­band has work pres­sure but he doesn’t come home and say ‘arre’... I have work pres­sure! This is what hap­pens, isn’t it?” Now that’s a de­bat­able topic!

Tan­don tells afaqs! Re­porter that the brand is tar­get­ing tier two au­di­ence and the ad is “ob­vi­ously” not meant for house­holds liv­ing in South Mum­bai, Gur­gaon, White­fields, and the likes. He ex­plains, “We (other brands) are hap­pily sit­ting in our air con­di­tioned of­fices, con­duct­ing re­mote re­searches and fig­ur­ing out, ‘Yaar! Let’s now talk about gen­der equal­ity’. So, we could have ei­ther per­pet­u­ated ad­ver­tis­ing stereo­types or could have cre­ated greater brand affin­ity to­wards our cur­rent and prospec­tive cus­tomer. We opted for the lat­ter. We wanted to con­vey an im­por­tant mes­sage of be­ing care­ful about uten­sil us­age. What re­ally hap­pens is that ev­ery small ad­di­tion to the lady’s chore adds to the time that she has to spend do­ing the chores. which is her re­spon­si­bil­ity. Af­ter all, she has to run the home.”

This is the first time the dish­wash brand has taken a dis­tinc­tive stand in its ad film. Pre­vi­ously, the brand had ac­tors such as Priyanka Cho­pra and Mad­huri Dixit on board to ad­ver­tise brand fea­tures. So, why did the brand come up with a con­cept heavy film this time around? Tan­don ex­plains, “...we were aim­ing to be dif­fer­ent and rel­e­vant at the same time. Frankly, th­ese days, there is barely any prod­uct dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion when it comes to per­for­mance. How­ever, what re­ally matters is the way you con­nect with your con­sumers. We wanted to spread brand affin­ity to a wider con­sumer base. A com­mu­ni­ca­tion such as this makes the con­sumer feel that even though there is not much dif­fer­ence be­tween com­pet­ing goods in terms of per­for­mance, this brand is bet­ter since it at least takes a stand on rel­e­vant top­ics.”

The ad film, which has been crafted and con­cep­tu­alised by ADK For­tune, is meant for both tele­vi­sion and digital plat­forms. Akash­neel Das­gupta, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent and ex­ec­u­tive creative di­rec­tor, ADK For­tune, tells that they did con­tem­plate end­ing the story with the hus­band ex­tend­ing a help­ing hand. “...but we fig­ured out that how­ever ‘pro­gres­sive’ it sounds it would never be the case. Es­pe­cially in small In­dian towns (the brand’s pri­mary mar­ket) where the tra­di­tional roles re­main the way they were twenty years back. It’s un­for­tu­nate but that’s the re­al­ity. Be­hav­iour change of that level was a quan­tum jump, which is fan­ci­ful and un­re­al­is­tic. Ariel has done that un­der ‘Share the Load’ but the au­di­ence for Ariel is to­tally dif­fer­ent. We wanted an ac­tion or be­hav­iour change that was much eas­ier to hap­pen re­al­is­ti­cally.”

Ads in this cat­e­gory gen­er­ally utilise the do­mes­tic help an­gle - a tac­tic which Xpert too played with in its ad fea­tur­ing Mad­huri Dixit. So, why was this an­gle miss­ing in the new ad? “Yes, that was a huge de­bate and con­sid­er­a­tion. We as an agency felt that it would creep up as a log­i­cal is­sue. I would like to credit the client for show­ing us the re­al­ity and con­vinc­ing us for not go­ing ahead with the maid an­gle. A lot of us sit­ting in Delhi and Mum­bai might be very com­fort­able with the fact that there is al­ways a maid to do the dishes but the larger truth is that in tier 2 and 3 towns it is still the house­wife who does the dishes,” in­forms Das­gupta.

PUSH­ING STEREO­TYPES OR MIR­ROR­ING RE­AL­ITY?

In times when the ques­tion­ing viewer re­fuses to ac­cept tra­di­tional norms; can brands af­ford to take sides at the cost of los­ing their prized good­will? To clear this predica­ment, afaqs! Re­porter got in touch with Ak­shat Bhard­waj, creative di­rec­tor, Dig­i­tasLBi who tells that the ad is very sim­ple and that’s never a bad thing.

He elab­o­rates, “Yes, there is a cer­tain el­e­ment of a stereo­type that is pushed through this ad, and while that did leave me un­com­fort­able, this ad is not meant for a metropoli­tan au­di­ence since it only re­flects the re­al­ity of sub-ur­ban In­dia. So, while ‘shar­ing the load’ was un­der­stood by an evolved au­di­ence, the di­rec­tion taken by this film is more suited for the au­di­ence in ques­tion. Af­ter all, it is the kid (the fu­ture) who sug­gests ‘eas­ing the bur­den’ as a so­lu­tion to the grandma’s (the past) un­rea­son­able at­ti­tude.” ■

The ad has been crafted by ADK For­tune, and is meant for both TV and digital plat­forms.

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