No Holds Barred

The brand turns its ri­val’s ‘Wires that don’t catch fire’ Unique Sell­ing Propo­si­tion into a Unique Mock­ing Propo­si­tion.

The Brand Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - By Abid Hus­sain Bar­laskar­

Elec­tri­cal wires and ca­bles brand, RR Kabel, in its lat­est cam­paign - “Akalmand Bano Sahi Chuno” – takes a some­what op­pos­ing stand to Havells, its ri­val in the space. The brand, in its new ad fea­tur­ing Ak­shay Ku­mar, takes a bla­tant dig at Havells’ mar­ket­ing USP for its wires i.e. “Wires That Don’t Catch Fire”.

How­ever, this is no swift ac­tion or sur­prise at­tack.

Havells has been play­ing the tune of fire­proof wires for quite some time – re­mem­ber the mother-son ad where the kid crafts a pair of tongs with Havells’ elec­tri­cal wire to han­dle hot ro­tis on the flame?

Last month Havells re­peated the same mes­sage in a new com­mer­cial fea­tur­ing a sweet tale bloom­ing at a kids’ camp­site. How­ever, the ad was ac­com­pa­nied by a dis­claimer “Cre­ative rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the idea that the wire will not catch fire if the tem­per­a­ture is less than 280 de­gree Cel­sius and Oxy­gen den­sity is less than 30 per cent.” But this time around, RR Kabel de­cided to use Havells’ mes­sage to their ad­van­tage.

The RR Kabel ad film is set in the cen­tre of a ma­jor house­hold fire caused by a short cir­cuit. But the home­owner is shocked as the mishap oc­curred de­spite us­ing ‘fire­proof’ wiring. The chief fire-fighter (Ak­shay Ku­mar) is quite amused and in­forms the vic­tim that fire­proof wire does not ex­ist and urges him to choose RR Kabel wires which are fire-re­sis­tant and do not spew black fumes.

How­ever, the ad is laced with suf­fi­cient in­di­ca­tion that the orig­i­nal Havells cam­paign was ac­tu­ally suc­cess­ful and man­aged to in­crease sales as the home­owner in RR Kabel’s ad was al­ready turned a user and was ap­par­ently quite aware of the ‘Wires That Don’t Catch Fire’ USP. More­over, an op­po­nent se­lect­ing it as a ve­hi­cle only reaf­firms this.

With the fes­tive sea­son just around the cor­ner, the ad seems strate­gi­cally placed to build aware­ness in an­tic­i­pa­tion. Mak­ing the most out of the buzz cre­ated by the Havells com­mu­ni­ca­tion, cou­pled with a short time­frame and then rolling out a cam­paign with strate­gic time­li­ness, speaks to the amount of pres­sure en­dured by the brand team and the folks be­hind the scenes.

afaqs!Re­porter spoke to Shishir Sharma, Head of mar­ket­ing for RR Kabel, to clear the air.

“Of course it is am­bush, but we would rather call it a myth buster. There is a myth in the mar­ket­place around this se­ri­ous, but low-in­ter­est cat­e­gory to­day. In a wire there is the metal con­duc­tor and there is the in­su­la­tion. The in­su­la­tion is made of PVC (polyvinyl chlo­ride) and PVC, by na­ture, is com­bustible. At a cer­tain tem­per­a­ture, it starts prop­a­gat­ing fire and emits toxic fumes in the form of black smoke. Such wires will al­ways be catch­ing fire,” Sharma says.

So why not the first time when Havells un­veiled its first cam­paign?

“We saw that the myth was grow­ing over the years and there were in­creas­ing fire in­ci­dents,” replies Sharma.

Sharma main­tains that the cam­paign is part of the brand’s yearly com­mu­ni­ca­tion which would usu­ally hap­pen mid-year, “… This year it was about bust­ing a myth.”

Sharma tells afaqs!Re­porter that the cam­paign hap­pened over a pe­riod of just one month. How­ever, he main­tains that ma­jor fire in­ci­dents like the Ka­mala Mills fire, was the main provo­ca­tion. “We thought that it’s time we bust the myths around fire safety and we should be go­ing to the mar­ket and com­mu­ni­cat­ing the prop­er­ties of the prod­uct and the myth around it,” he ex­plains.

Sharma fur­ther con­firms that up­com­ing RR Kabel ads will be spun around more fire sce­nar­ios and myths.

Sharma adds, “We did not take the usual route of get­ting it done by the cre­ative agency. The film has been crafted in-house and ex­e­cuted un­der the di­rec­tion of Shiven Suren­dranath from Old School Films, the pro­duc­tion house.”

Christo­pher Hig­gins, busi­ness head of IdeateLabs, RR Kabel’s dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing part­ner, says, “The brand was look­ing at cre­at­ing a high

“Of course it is am­bush, but we would rather call it a myth-buster. There is a myth in the mar­ket­place around this se­ri­ous, but low-in­ter­est cat­e­gory to­day.” SHISHIR SHARMA

im­pact com­mu­ni­ca­tion around its core prod­ucts - smoke-free ca­bles with the fes­tive sea­son just around the cor­ner. And an­other mes­sage that the brand wanted to put out was that wires do catch fire.”

Hig­gins also states that this is the first time the brand went into bring­ing in more tech­ni­cal de­tails through its com­mu­ni­ca­tion, “Un­like pre­vi­ous cam­paigns, which were more into build­ing brand recog­ni­tion, this cam­paign helps peo­ple un­der­stand that it’s not just a brand but also a smart choice. It is a dig­i­tal-first cam­paign.”


Strat­egy con­sul­tant Lubna Khan main­tains that while it is a clever ploy, the ad film has its own flaws. She says, “The ad film’s clev­er­ness lies in the fact that it con­veys a clear prod­uct ad­van­tage, es­pe­cially against an es­tab­lished com­peti­tor and makes the con­sumer think about their wire choices in what is oth­er­wise a low-in­volve­ment cat­e­gory. But I do ques­tion the de­lib­er­ate fear­mon­ger­ing. Us­ing a more pos­i­tive route to con­vey the com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage would not only be eth­i­cally bet­ter, it will also be a more sus­tain­able plat­form for the brand.”

Khan adds, “You can build bet­ter, more con­sis­tently and gain strength over the long-term through ad­ver­tis­ing that evokes pos­i­tive emo­tions.”

Man­ish Bhatt, founder Scare­crow M&C Saatchi, main­tains that the ad film takes the fun route and de­liv­ers tech­ni­cal in­for­ma­tion, though it is not much of a spoof.

“The brand is try­ing to ed­u­cate the con­sumer about the fact that wires do catch fire and it’s a myth-bust­ing ad. The ad does jus­tice to de­liv­er­ing the tech­ni­cal part and ex­plain­ing it to con­sumers. How­ever, the tonal­ity is far from the Havells com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Havells’ ads, both old and new, touch the heart. There is no harm in be­ing funny or quirky in de­liv­er­ing the mes­sage, but an emo­tional touch has longer re­ten­tion. Even the mere men­tion of the Havells ad re­minds me of the story, but this one might not be the same. It might end up be­ing just an­other ad with a short shelf life,” Bhatt says. ■

The ad is laced with suf­fi­cient in­di­ca­tion that the orig­i­nal Havells cam­paign was suc­cess­ful.

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