Try­ing to Stand Apart

Tap­root Dentsu’s new spot for Aqua­guard says the prod­uct is bet­ter than a cer­tain ‘Lovely RO’.

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

Aqua­guard takes a sub­tle dig at Kent. Or does it?

Water pu­ri­fier brand Eureka Forbes, part of the Shapoorji Pal­lonji Group has rolled out its new cam­paign ti­tled ‘Har Water Pu­ri­fier Aqua­guard Nahi Hota’. As a part of the cam­paign, a young cou­ple is seen high­light­ing the dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion and how! The cou­ple po­ten­tial tenants - re­fer to the fa­mous Ko­hi­noor di­a­mond to es­tab­lish the dif­fer­ence in a rather stark man­ner!

The cam­paign has been cre­atively planned by Tap­root Dentsu and launched across all me­dia channels and plat­forms. From the first water pu­ri­fier brand to be in­tro­duced in In­dia in 1984 to a brand with a re­call level of 92 per cent, the brand has come a long way. From be­ing sold through di­rect sell­ing channels, Aqua­guard prod­ucts are now avail­able in re­tail stores and via e-comm plat­forms.

Shashank Sinha, chief trans­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer at Eureka Forbes re­calls how ini­tially, the com­mu­ni­ca­tion jour­ney was based around mi­cro­bi­o­log­i­cal con­tam­i­na­tion and their big­gest com­peti­tor was the age-old prac­tice of boil­ing of water. “It was dif­fi­cult to ed­u­cate con­sumers on why they needed an Aqua­guard to pu­rify water as drink­ing water di­rectly from taps was the prac­tice most fol­lowed,” he rem­i­nisces.

From be­ing cho­sen by de­fault to be­ing cho­sen by de­sign, the brand has made tremen­dous head­way in the mar­ket. “We in­vested in find­ing dif­fer­ent water con­di­tions across over 7,000 In­dian pin codes. We mapped the qual­ity of drink­ing water and de­vel­oped 21 tech­nolo­gies suited to th­ese pin codes,” shares Sinha.

As ‘pu­rity’, af­ter all, is the cat­e­gory lynch­pin, he adds, “The car­tridges used in Aqua­guard were de­signed for a par­tic­u­lar area and water con­di­tion. The de­vel­op­ment got us into a phase where we be­came the ‘Paani ka Doc­tor’. The idea was well re­ceived by masses and later, we grad­u­ated to ‘healthy drink­ing water’.”

We couldn’t help but ask Sinha if the “Lovely RO”, writ­ten on the water pu­ri­fier in the back­ground, was a con­scious de­ci­sion to make the viewer sit up and take no­tice since ma­jor ri­val, Kent RO Sys­tems, has been mak­ing sig­nif­i­cantly gen­er­ous spends on TVCs fea­tur­ing Ra­jasthan Royals IPL team skip­per, Rahul Dravid and ac­tress Hema Malini.

He re­sponds, “With the re­cent launch of ‘Har Water Pu­ri­fier Aqua­guard Nahi Hota’, the brand aims to use the iconic stature of the Aqua­guard brand to clearly dif­fer­en­ti­ate it from the rest of the play­ers in the water pu­ri­fier cat­e­gory.”

Sinha claims that with this cam­paign, the brand has at­tempted to gen­er­ate con­sumer pull by re-fram­ing the cat­e­gory through new pa­ram­e­ters for the ex­per­tise of water pu­rifi­ca­tion.

In­ter­est­ingly, in 2015, Eureka Forbes chose to join the Bolly-band­wagon by en­ter­ing a five-year-long as­so­ci­a­tion with ac­tress Mad­huri Dixit Nene and her hus­band Shri­ram Nene, a doc­tor by pro­fes­sion, for a `100 crore ad-cam­paign for brand Aqua­guard.

Is cast­ing pop­u­lar ‘dig­i­tal faces’ in a TVC, part of a me­dia plan? Shed­ding a con­sid­er­able amount of light on the brand’s ad­ver­tis­ing spend in the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year, Sinha states, “We are driven by TV in the tra­di­tional medium. We use print se­lec­tively, but more in the edit form rather than pure-play ad­ver­tis­ing for­mat.” Ad­mit­ting that dig­i­tal plays a large role in lead gen­er­a­tion and ed­u­cat­ing con­sumers, Sinha says, “We in­vested be­tween 60-70 per cent in TV, 20 per cent in dig­i­tal and about 10 per cent in print.”

He con­tin­ues, “Lever­ag­ing celebri­ties through the TV de­mo­graphic is purely in­ci­den­tal and not the pri­mary req­ui­site of our me­dia plan. We at Eureka Forbes be­lieve in first con­nect­ing with our tar­get au­di­ence through our cam­paigns. Take the ex­am­ple of Mad­huri; she is first a mother con­cerned about the health of her fam­ily, who also hap­pens to be a Bol­ly­wood sen­sa­tion.”

Pallavi Chakravarti, ex­ec­u­tive cre­ative di­rec­tor, Tap­root Dentsu, takes note of the agency’s cast­ing. Isn’t it strange to cast some­what dig­i­tal faces like Ku­naal Roy Ka­pur and Maanvi Ga­groo, (from pop­u­lar dig­i­tal web se­ries - TVF Tripling) in this 37-sec­ond TVC?

Chakravarti elab­o­rates, “We needed them to be cred­i­ble, en­dear­ing, re­lat­able and, of course, share good on-screen chem­istry. In Ku­naal and Maanvi, we found all of th­ese boxes ticked. So yes, while we were aware that they had both been a part of TVF Tripling, it was their over­all fit with the brand idea that made us zero in on them.” She also says that the cou­ple would be seen to­gether in other up­com­ing Aqua­guard com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the com­ing months, re­gard­less of the medium.

With re­gard to the pos­si­ble re­vival of am­bush mar­ket­ing in the busi­ness in the re­cent past, Chakravarti ob­serves, “I don’t think it’s about out-shout­ing any­one as much as it is about re­mind­ing peo­ple that there is only One Aqua­guard. Be­cause when you’re a pi­o­neer and an in­no­va­tor, you may as well play to your strengths. ‘Lovely RO’ is just the em­bod­i­ment of the rest of the cat­e­gory; it has been put there to high­light the dif­fer­ence be­tween or­di­nary water pu­ri­fiers and Aqua­guard.”

THE VER­DICT

The ad hinges on the orig­i­nal­ity of the Ko­hi­noor di­a­mond to es­tab­lish the con­nec­tion, but does the brand play it right?

Saji Abra­ham, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Lowe Lin­tas, finds that in re­it­er­at­ing the fact that the brand is syn­ony­mous with the cat­e­gory, the ad re­in­forces its po­si­tion of be­ing nu­mero uno.

“Given that they are the first movers and still pos­si­bly hold a larger top-of­mind re­call, I think it is clever for them to use that. This is also a clever way to com­mu­ni­cate their prod­uct fea­tures and ben­e­fits in a sticky way,” he shares.

“I would as­sume that they will spinoff into a se­ries of com­mu­ni­ca­tion that lead with ‘Ev­ery water pu­ri­fier is not Aqua­guard be­cause only Aqua­guard has...’,” he adds.

Abra­ham main­tains that while the brand has started this se­ries with a com­par­i­son that might be nec­es­sary to get eye­balls, this though can be car­ried out even with­out com­par­isons. “In this crowded mar­ket, a strong re­in­force­ment of its cre­den­tials is a must if Aqua­guard is to stand out,” he clar­i­fies.

Anusheela Saha, group cre­ative di­rec­tor, FCB Ulka finds this piece of ad-work fresh and notes how the com­pany name has been trans­formed into a noun for the gen­eral tech­nol­ogy and other brands us­ing the same tech. “I thought the dig at Kent was sub­tle and clev­erly done,” Saha quips. ■

“We in­vested be­tween 60-70 per cent in TV, 20 per cent in dig­i­tal and about 10 per cent in print.” SHASHANK SINHA From be­ing cho­sen by de­fault to be­ing cho­sen by de­sign, the brand has made tremen­dous head­way.

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