Hands-on En­deav­our

The brand’s lat­est TVC is in­spired by a true story.

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

Talk about bridg­ing rifts and bring­ing com­mu­ni­ties to­gether, the lat­est Brooke Bond Red La­bel cam­paign ‘#Shree­GaneshAp­nepanKa’ is an at­tempt to do just that. This ad is an ode to all the re­la­tion­ships that have cropped up over cups of tea.

The over two-minute-long dig­i­talonly film is, as the dis­claimer at the end says - “In­spired by a true story”. Owned by Unilever, Brooke Bond is the par­ent of sub-brands such as Red La­bel, Taaza and Taj Ma­hal. Of these, Red La­bel has, so far, been the best bet for Brooke Bond in the tea cat­e­gory. While ‘Build­ing Re­la­tion­ships’ is the core brand mes­sage that com­peti­tor Wagh Bakri has been bank­ing on from the be­gin­ning, Red La­bel, the cen­te­nar­ian tea brand, on the other hand, has taken it a notch higher by tread­ing the path less trav­elled.

Oth­ers have done it too. Wagh Bakri, for in­stance, started cre­at­ing cam­paigns that have tra­di­tion­ally high­lighted tea and its abil­ity to dif­fuse ten­sion and awk­ward sit­u­a­tions to bring peo­ple closer. The idea? En­cour­age peo­ple to be more in­clu­sive and ac­cept­ing, ir­re­spec­tive of cul­ture, gen­der and other dif­fer­ences.


The agency has faith in the power of ideas and sto­ry­telling to change hu­man be­hav­iour, main­tains the team at Ge­om­e­try En­com­pass, the agency that crafted the cam­paign.

The film was shot in a Gan­pati idol work­shop, one of many that can be seen in Mum­bai, weeks be­fore the home­com­ing of Bappa (Lord Gane­sha). The ad fea­tures a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween an idol­maker and a first-time buyer of the idol. The plot sees a twist when the knowl­edge­able ar­ti­san pulls out his prayer-cap and read­ies him­self for na­maz in re­sponse to the azaan. This leaves the ex­cited buyer a lit­tle dis­tressed and he chooses to leave. That’s when a glass of Red La­bel tea takes charge and turns things around.

“We saw a great hu­man in­sight and wanted to tell a sim­ple but thought-pro­vok­ing story, luck­ily we found the per­fect oc­ca­sion. ‘#Shree­GaneshAp­nepanKa’ poses a per­ti­nent ques­tion to us all, the an­swer to which can be found in a sip of tea,” says an agency spokesper­son.

Com­ment­ing on the Brand’s creative brief, Shankar Shinde, manag­ing part­ner, Ge­om­e­try En­com­pass says, “We’ve been work­ing with Unilever for over two decades and we un­der­stand the brand ethos. This brief was a pro-ac­tive idea pitched to our client who helped us fine-tune it.” When asked about the dos and don’ts to be kept in mind while ex­e­cut­ing such a cam­paign Shinde states, “Be hon­est, be wellinformed of cul­tural sen­si­tiv­i­ties, don’t tell but ask, en­sure the prod­uct plays a log­i­cal role in the nar­ra­tive and, most im­por­tantly, never-ever make any­one feel os­tracised,”

The chal­lenge for the agency was to “un­der­stand the emo­tional com­plex­i­ties of what two peo­ple feel in such a sit­u­a­tion and bring it out both with apt words and emo­tions. The script was crafted keep­ing in mind a cul­tural-bal­ance.

Clearly mov­ing be­yond a teapot brew to a pic­ture-per­fect fam­ily hav­ing their own ‘cuppa time’, a form of ad­ver­tis­ing Brooke Bond Red La­bel chose to bid adieu to back in 2014, the brand fi­nally had their light-bulb mo­ment as they re­placed it with the new brand propo­si­tion - Swaad Ap­nepan ka (Taste of To­geth­er­ness) - and there was no look­ing back ever since.

Re­li­gion, as a ter­ri­tory, is still con­sid­ered a strict no-no among ad­ver­tis­ers in In­dia is what Rahul DaCunha, the man be­hind Amul’s top­i­cal (of­ten bold!) ads, believes. Brooke Bond Red La­bel has a rich his­tory of so­cially in­clu­sive ad­ver­tis­ing - from the first edi­tion of its Six Pack Band cam­paign to cre­at­ing a vi­ral mu­sic video with In­dia’s first trans­gen­der band or stir­ring a con­ver­sa­tion on dis­abil­ity through mu­sic! Its 2014 ad, with its brand propo­si­tion - ‘Swad Ap­nepan Ka’ Red La­bel got quite a bit of at­ten­tion when it por­trayed a re­luc­tant Hindu fam­ily be­com­ing good friends with their Mus­lim neigh­bour over a few cups of Red La­bel tea.

Car­ry­ing for­ward the ‘Swad Ap­nepan Ka’ propo­si­tion, an­other Red La­bel cam­paign this year - ‘A Tale of 2 blends’ - by Ogilvy, proves, in a so­cial ex­per­i­ment, just how tea tastes bet­ter with com­pany.

The dig­i­tal piece, apart from shar­ing its take on re­li­gious ties that come into a tus­sle dur­ing this aus­pi­cious month that’s cel­e­brated by both com­mu­ni­ties, man­ages to shed a good amount of light on how (con­ve­niently) ig­no­rant we are to the nu­ances of the reli­gions we prac­tice. And, we cer­tainly got the drift from the mes­sage in the later-half of the film that equates crafts­man­ship to wor­ship.

Tea, be­ing a uni­ver­sally pen­e­trated cat­e­gory, comes with its own share of mar­ket­ing chal­lenges to break the clut­ter and this one has suc­cess­fully weaved the so­cial mes­sage into the nar­ra­tive, keep­ing the prod­uct at the cen­tre of the con­ver­sa­tion in the cam­paign.


So, did ‘a lot hap­pen’ over the hum­ble cup of tea? afaqs! Re­porter asked the in­dus­try aces. The real hero, in this case, turns out to be the heart-warm­ing script it­self. It comes as a re­fresh­ing change in the space which is in­creas­ingly get­ting clut­tered with of­ten flashy and forced-ac­tivism-driven nar­ra­tives.

Anadi Sah, lead in­no­va­tion creative and tech­nol­ogy, Iso­bar, feels that the cam­paign is a heart­warm­ing story that has been crafted in the purest form and de­liv­ers a pow­er­ful mes­sage. “The piece not only con­veys that we should over­come deep-rooted prej­u­dices but also ex­hibits how dis­con­nected the present gen­er­a­tion is from the learn­ings of its own faith,” Sah says.

“If con­tent is king, good tim­ing is the crown,” feels Shrenik Gandhi, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer and co-founder, White Rivers Me­dia.

“This cam­paign scores on con­tent and tim­ing,” he says, sound­ing im­pressed. “The com­mu­nity an­gle is a very sen­si­tive op­tion for a brand and this has been han­dled nicely, aptly re­spect­ing both reli­gions. More­over, it’s am­pli­fied well. So, over­all, a great cam­paign; pro­moted well for a brand peo­ple love. The size of the film is not too long and the char­ac­ters play the role well,” Gandhi winds up. ■

The idea is to en­cour­age peo­ple to be more in­clu­sive and ac­cept­ing.

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