Tak­ing the Emo­tional Route

The brand’s lat­est cam­paign was timed to co­in­cide with World Sight Day.

The Brand Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - By Abid Hus­sain Bar­laskar abid.bar­[email protected]

Ac­ces­si­bil­ity and the nar­ra­tive of mak­ing lives bet­ter for peo­ple with dis­abil­ity or the spe­cially-abled, is a con­tin­u­ous process and the small­est of tweaks can bring about sig­nif­i­cant change. This thought seems to be at the heart of ITC’s lat­est cam­paign for its liq­uid an­ti­sep­tic brand - Savlon. The brand re­cently in­tro­duced new pack­ag­ing for the prod­uct marked with braille, a tac­tile writ­ing sys­tem for peo­ple who are vis­ually im­paired.

The bot­tles were in­tro­duced on the oc­ca­sion of World Sight Day (Oc­to­ber 11) via a cou­ple of TVCs, which in­volve vis­ually im­paired peo­ple in two sep­a­rate sce­nar­ios. One in­volv­ing a woman han­dling uten­sils in a kitchen and the other a man get­ting him­self a shave. While the woman gets a cut after touch­ing the wrong end of a knife, the man gets a nick on his cheek. They reach out for the Savlon bot­tles kept among other bot­tles of sim­i­lar di­men­sions.

The TVCs have been con­cep­tu­alised and crafted by Ogilvy In­dia.

How does an FMCG com­pany choose to in­no­vate with one par­tic­u­lar brand as against oth­ers in its kitty? Es­pe­cially when the con­nect needs to be es­tab­lished with the braille-lit­er­ate vis­ually im­paired.

Sameer Satpathy, chief ex­ec­u­tive, Per­sonal Care Prod­ucts Busi­ness, ITC, says, “ITC as a brand has been com­mit­ted to­wards an eq­ui­table and in­clu­sive so­ci­ety. On World Sight Day, we part­nered with our cre­ative agency, Ogilvy In­dia, to em­power the vis­ually im­paired and take a pos­i­tive step through a first-of-it­skind braille en­abled pack­ag­ing in the FMCG space.”

Speak­ing on how the cam­paign came about, Satpathy says, “Vi­sion is an im­por­tant way to ex­plore and in­ter­pret things. For the vis­ually im­paired, it is dif­fer­ent as things are es­sen­tially de­signed for peo­ple with vi­sion. The ge­n­e­sis of the ad film is a sim­ple life in­sight - ev­ery­body gets hurt and in­di­vid­u­als who are vis­ually im­paired are no dif­fer­ent. But their ac­cess to an an­ti­sep­tic liq­uid is per­haps not as easy and they would have to ei­ther wait for some­body to help them or open ev­ery bot­tle them­selves and smell it, un­til they’ve iden­ti­fied the an­ti­sep­tic liq­uid. This forms the core of the new Savlon film and is the ge­n­e­sis of this ini­tia­tive “Agar chot aasani sey lage, toh ma­dat bhi aasani se milni chahiye.”


Satpathy ex­plains, “The ge­n­e­sis of this ini­tia­tive fits well with our an­ti­sep­tic brand propo­si­tion which is around ‘car­ing and think­ing’ about our con­sumers. We are now tak­ing this propo­si­tion a step ahead and mak­ing it in­clu­sive for the so­ci­ety and want to en­cour­age oth­ers to fol­low the same.” ITC will soon be in­tro­duc­ing braille pack­ag­ing for Savlon’s hand hy­giene port­fo­lio as well, in­forms Satpathy. “The ini­tia­tive has been de­signed to take a step for­ward in en­abling vis­ually im­paired in­di­vid­u­als and make Savlon more ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one,” he says.


Tarun Singh Chauhan, brand con­sul­tant, TSC Con­sult­ing, opines that al­though the in­no­va­tion is great, the way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing it is ut­terly wrong.

“First, how many blind peo­ple watch TV? None. So why an ad on tele­vi­sion?” Chauhan asks.

“Blind peo­ple don’t re­ally need help or sym­pa­thy. Los­ing one sense means other senses are height­ened. Savlon has cre­ated some­thing beau­ti­ful but the brand could have found bet­ter ways to reach out to the vis­ually im­paired. The TV ads were more like ful­fill­ing a self-goal. If the in­tent was to cre­ate a brand dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion, they hit upon a wrong idea. This is tra­di­tional FMCG ad­ver­tis­ing and it can’t be done in sce­nar­ios like this. The fact that peo­ple are get­ting cuts due to dis­abil­i­ties can­not be cel­e­brated. The ad should have been done in a way that peo­ple watch­ing it tell vis­ually im­paired peo­ple about it in­stead of watch­ing a man cut his cheek,” says Chauhan.

Sharda Agar­wal, co-founder, Sepa­lika, a health­care ad­vi­sory, main­tains that in a coun­try where it is dif­fi­cult, if not im­pos­si­ble, for dif­fer­ently en­abled peo­ple to live their ev­ery­day life, it is an ini­tia­tive to be lauded.

“A braille-en­abled pack - cer­tainly new for In­dia,” Agar­wal says.

“The over­all tone and man­ner of the cam­paign ex­e­cu­tion is up­beat. It is about get­ting on with life; not wal­low­ing in pity. Though I’m a bit sur­prised by the choice of mu­sic. Lyrics like ‘I am dream­ing blue skies...think about you...’ jarred with a VO that said “agar chot aasani se lage...,” she adds.

To Agar­wal, the chal­lenge is not the ex­e­cu­tion but in ask­ing if this cam­paign is too lim­it­ing for the brand. “The com­mu­ni­ca­tion TG is cer­tainly a very small sub­set of their user TG. So I won­der what mo­ti­vated the brand team to choose this ad­ver­tis­ing route? A chance to stand out with­out spend­ing big bucks? An op­por­tu­nity to do good? Or is this just an op­por­tunis­tic play to cap­i­talise on World Sight Day? Take your pick on the an­swer. It doesn’t mat­ter. But this shouldn’t be a one-off ac­tiv­ity. Go the whole nine yards and make an im­pact,” she ad­vises.

“Pack in a dig­i­tal cam­paign. Throw in off­line ac­ti­va­tion. Step out and work with the vis­ually chal­lenged. Make their life easy in sev­eral other ways. Come up with ideas to em­power them. En­able them to lead as nor­mal a life pos­si­ble. Or do it across all your com­pany’s brands; not just this one,” says Agar­wal.

N Chan­dramouli, CEO, Trust Re­search Ad­vi­sory, a brand in­tel­li­gence and data in­sights com­pany, opines that the ads take up an im­por­tant is­sue for the need of braille mark­ing on prod­ucts but the im­pact seems gim­micky, and with low quo­tient re­search on the real prob­lems faced by the vis­ually im­paired.

“I doubt very much if the sole tar­get for this ad is the vis­ually im­paired, else a ra­dio ad­vert would have worked bet­ter. They are also sub­tly show­ing them­selves as a re­spon­si­ble brand to ap­peal to reg­u­lar au­di­ences. Here they have failed quite mis­er­ably. If a brand ‘sells’ us­ing a so­cial mes­sage, that di­min­ishes the trust held in the brand,” Chan­dramouli says.

“The ad would have done bet­ter if it ap­pealed to the en­tire in­dus­try to have braille mark­ings on their prod­ucts, help­ing dur­ing the pur­chase, with Savlon show­ing it­self as the leader. That would have been a ‘Jaago re’ level of a cam­paign,” Chan­dramouli says. ■

“The ge­n­e­sis of this ini­tia­tive fits well with our an­ti­sep­tic brand propo­si­tion which is around ‘car­ing and think­ing’ about our con­sumers.” SAMEER SATPATHY

The TVCs have been con­cep­tu­alised and crafted by Ogilvy In­dia.

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