An­other Sweet Tale

A tale of two ads - and a com­par­i­son.

The Brand Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - By Deep­ashree Ban­er­jee deep­ashree.ban­er­jee@afaqs.com

Elec­tri­cal goods com­pany, Havells has launched a new ad for its most pop­u­lar prod­uct, the heat-re­sis­tant, flame-re­tar­dant wires. The brand is mov­ing fur­ther with its fa­mous prod­uct at­tribute ‘Wires that don’t catch fire’ - with a re­fresh­ing take.

afaqs! Re­porter spoke to Amit Ti­wari, vice-pres­i­dent - mar­ket­ing, Havells In­dia, to find out how the brand has en­deav­oured to ex­hibit an emo­tional charm within the seg­ment as wiring is not a high-in­volve­ment cat­e­gory.

Ti­wari talks about the con­scious guide­line that, as a brand, is fol­lowed on the com­mu­ni­ca­tion front. He says, “We are in the sto­ry­telling busi­ness. So, rather than sell a hard propo­si­tion of any con­cept, if we are able to sell it in the minds of the con­sumers, we think our job has been done.”

Putting sto­ry­lines in the fore­front, Ti­wari states that it does in­deed carry for­ward the emo­tional plank while adding value to it. “When it comes to chil­dren, emo­tion au­to­mat­i­cally flows with a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion,” he adds.

Amit Sharma of Chrome Pic­tures has di­rected this film and af­ter con­duct­ing an ex­ten­sive recce, he fi­nally ze­roed in on Sad­hupul, a small vil­lage in Hi­machal Pradesh, near Shimla. The only thumb-rule Sharma ad­heres to while mak­ing an ad is to fol­low his heart. “Love is in­no­cent at any age; that was my in­spi­ra­tion,” he tells us.

Sharma is de­lighted that he was given com­plete freedom to vi­su­alise the film the way he wanted. “That is be­cause of the trust the cre­atives have in me and I am hum­bled for it,” he shares.

Sharma feels that sto­ry­telling can­not have any time re­stric­tions. “It re­ally is about the time it takes to con­vey a story and if the client gives you the freedom to ex­press it, then there is noth­ing else a di­rec­tor like me could ask for,” he says.

Su­manto Chat­topad­hyay, chair­man and chief cre­ative of­fi­cer, Soho Square, The Ogilvy Group In­dia, con­sid­ers it a plea­sure to work on a brand with a legacy of great ad­ver­tis­ing. Chat­topad­hyay ob­serves humbly, “The brief was to cre­ate a wor­thy suc­ces­sor to the iconic ads cre­ated by the pre­vi­ous agency.”

The task was not to hard-sell the prod­uct, but to re­fresh the brand cam­paign. Hence, as the newly ap­pointed agency on the block, the thumb-rule that Soho Square fol­lowed while ideat­ing on the role of the wire in the story, was that it should touch the heart rather than the mind.

“Of course, there was a ra­tio­nal as­pect to the mes­sage as well - we needed to demon­strate that the wire does not catch fire. And this ‘demo’ had to fit into the film seam­lessly. The girl re­ject­ing the wire flower and toss­ing it into the bon­fire pro­vided the per­fect op­por­tu­nity,” Chat­topad­hyay elab­o­rates.

“The mi­lieu of the ad and the theme of puppy love are quite dif­fer­ent from what Havells Wires’ com­mu­ni­ca­tion has ex­plored so far. Yet it is faith­ful to the orig­i­nal brand plat­form and cam­paign idea,” he explains.

The 2-minute-long video is for view­ing on­line. “The du­ra­tion is in keeping with what works in that medium. There are shorter ver­sions for cin­ema and tele­vi­sion,” Chat­topad­hyay signs off.

IN RET­RO­SPECT

So, keeping the orig­i­nal cam­paign idea in­tact, the big ques­tion is whether or not the agency has been able to cre­ate a charm­ing piece of com­mu­ni­ca­tion that will help the brand remain top-of-mind in an in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket sce­nario.

KV Srid­har, founder of Hyper­Col­lec­tive, con­sul­tancy, ob­serves that in a com­pletely un­in­volved cat­e­gory like this, one al­ways has to bor­row the in­ter­est from some­where else be­cause in­her­ently, these com­modi­ties don’t have a role to play in a con­sumer’s day to day lives.

So, how can one con­vert these com­modi­ties into brands/cat­e­gories? “By sim­ply mak­ing ad­ver­tis­ing topof-mind,” he says. And to make a ad­ver­tis­ing in­ter­est­ing, one has to draw in­spi­ra­tion/sto­ries from life.

He fur­ther cites the ex­am­ples of the cook­ing oil and hair oil and how, over the years, they have evolved from mere com­modi­ties to in­creas­ingly fo­cussing on telling lifedriven, grip­ping sto­ries. He thinks that it is a sort of ‘re­flected glory’; the brands pick the prod­uct ben­e­fit and weave it into a ‘beau­ti­ful’ story to tell con­sumers.

An­chor and Ba­jaj have also done some in­ter­est­ing ad­ver­tis­ing to make peo­ple fa­mil­iar with their prod­ucts.

For in­stance, if you are the four­teenth en­trant in the water pu­ri­fier cat­e­gory, you have a huge chal­lenge in front of you as you don’t have any­thing new to talk about con­cern­ing your prod­uct. Generic stuff like - it kills the bac­te­ria - has al­ready been done to death.

“So, you ei­ther have to be the first mover or a late en­trant to be a lit­tle brave to tell sto­ries,” Srid­har says.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the new ad doesn’t work as the ex­e­cu­tion seems forced and non-de­scrip­tive. He is of the opin­ion that peo­ple iden­tify chil­dren with trans­parency, hon­esty and in­no­cence; hence, fid­get­ing with flower wires was not a good idea.

“With the 2007 Havells cam­paign Lowe bor­rowed in­ter­est from real life and, there­fore, it stood the test of time. It was emo­tional and at the same time, pur­pose­ful,” feels the vet­eran.

He con­tin­ues, “As a viewer (of the 2007 ad), our heart will go out to the mother and we would be bowled over and de­lighted by the child’s smart move in help­ing his mother out thus mak­ing him the brand for us! We don’t feel any­thing sim­i­lar in this lat­est ‘puppy love’ story of two Con­vent-ed­u­cated chil­dren.”

Srid­har pre­dicts it will prob­a­bly be the most for­get­table ad in the en­tire Havells reper­toire.

Srid­har sees ev­ery ad­ver­tiser as an in­truder into the au­di­ence’s men­tal space; thus, he be­lieves that it is their re­spon­si­bil­ity to make sure the ads make for worth­while and re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. ■

Amit Sharma of Chrome Pic­tures has di­rected the film.

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