Old Wine, New Bot­tle

The brand’s Surf Ex­cel-es­que Di­wali ad traces a fa­mil­iar nar­ra­tive, with warmth.

The Brand Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - By Deep­ashree Ban­er­jee deep­ashree.ban­er­[email protected]

There is a fa­mil­iar nar­ra­tive in the new HP ad.

The three-minute-long ad film, crafted by Au­tumn World­wide, shows a woman sell­ing diyas on the street - a fa­mil­iar sight for ev­ery­one in the days lead­ing up to Di­wali. How a young boy helps her sell all her wares be­fore Di­wali forms the crux of this short ad film ti­tled ‘Umeed ka Diya’ or the ‘Light of hope’.

In such times when the viewer’s dwin­dling at­ten­tion span is seem­ingly a ma­jor con­cern for mar­keters and ad­ver­tis­ers, throw­ing some light on the process of hav­ing wo­ven the prod­uct an­gle into the story, Sahil Trehan, vice pres­i­dent at Au­tumn World­wide, says, “We started this brief where we wanted to do an authen­tic and hon­est at­tempt to the cause. We al­ways wanted the brand to play the part of an en­abler, but here, we man­aged to do more. The brand and its prod­ucts em­power the story with­out be­ing pushed at all.”

In­ter­est­ingly, the new spot shares a some sim­i­lar­ity with the 2016 Surf Ex­cel cam­paign ti­tled ‘#MadadEkIba­dat’ (Help­ing is an act of faith) where a lit­tle boy helps an old ‘samosa-wala’ sell his If­tar savouries and while do­ing so, stains his clothes (“Daag, af­ter all, Achhe Hai”- rings a bell?).

While the two films ap­pear to be sim­i­lar Trehan feels they are two en­tirely dif­fer­ent sto­ries stat­ing, “The ‘#MadadEkIba­dat’ film, is a beau­ti­fully wo­ven story, but it talks about a generic in­sight and ac­tion of do­ing good, whereas ‘#UmeedKaDiya’ is all about the in­sight and specif­i­cally re­lated to Di­wali, how we, as a so­ci­ety, have be­come so modern that we have an in­dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude to­wards a par­tic­u­lar sec­tion of so­ci­ety. ‘#UmeedKaDiya’ brings out their plight, pain and strug­gle.

“Also, in this film, the prod­uct is an en­abler, it helps with the kid’s mis­sion, it takes the film for­ward and is an in­te­gral part of the film. Re­move the printer and you won’t have the same film. But, that’s not the case with ‘#MadadEkIba­dat’; their prod­uct is just a place­ment,” Trehan ex­plains.

While do­ing their back­ground re­search, the agency an­a­lysed films and con­ver­sa­tions around Di­wali from the last three years in or­der to build on a fresh in­sight that could cre­ate a real and pos­i­tive im­pact on view­ers. That’s when they stum­bled upon in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing mod­erni­sa­tion and how street ven­dors are los­ing their busi­ness be­cause of it. It’s what got them hooked.

“We met a few street ven­dors to val­i­date this and get an authen­tic point of view. That’s what we have tried to show in the film,” Trehan shares.

The dig­i­tal spot was shot in mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions in Gur­gaon as the agency wanted to cap­ture the con­trast of modern shops and lo­cal street ven­dors. Trehan shares an in­ter­est­ing anec­dote re­gard­ing the shoot, “Our key fo­cus was to get as authen­tic as pos­si­ble. When shoot­ing for the scene where we show peo­ple walk­ing away and not buy­ing from ‘Amma’, we took real shots of peo­ple walk­ing by her. So, you see real re­ac­tions from peo­ple.”

He elab­o­rates, “For the next shot, where peo­ple be­gin to buy from her af­ter the kid puts those posters on the street, we went up to peo­ple and told them that we are do­ing this film to sup­port street ven­dors; we got an amaz­ing re­sponse from peo­ple who wanted to ac­tu­ally buy those diyas (the money went to a lo­cal street ven­dor from whom we had rented the stuff). We saw more peo­ple join­ing in and be­gin to pur­chase diyas with­out re­al­is­ing they were on cam­era (which we dis­closed later). It gave us the con­fi­dence that a small act can trig­ger a move­ment which is what we are see­ing now, af­ter the film is on air.”

The video was re­leased on HP’s var­i­ous dig­i­tal plat­forms in In­dia and has gone vi­ral with over 2.3 mil­lion views and more than 60 thou­sand shares on the brand’s so­cial plat­forms alone, in just 2 days.

DOES THE ‘GO LO­CAL’ TAG STRIKE A CHORD?

And does such heart-warm­ing sto­ry­telling re­mind us that the fivesec­ond story isn’t the only route to the share but­ton? Over to the ex­perts

In a fast-paced, fast-chang­ing world where tra­di­tional cus­toms and val­ues have given way to glitz and plas­tic, Ra­jesh Lal­wani, CEO, Sce­nario Con­sult­ing de­codes how and why HP’s ‘Umeed ka Diya’ res­onates on many counts. He says, “For one, it’s the com­ing to­gether of old world ar­ti­sanal craft and tech­nol­ogy, where on one hand the brand seam­lessly plays en­abler and on the other, the young pro­tag­o­nist uses the ad­van­tage

In this film, the prod­uct is an en­abler, takes the film for­ward and is an in­te­gral part of the film.

“We al­ways wanted the brand to play the part of an en­abler, but here, we man­aged to do more. The brand and its prod­ucts em­power the story with­out be­ing pushed at all.” SAHIL TREHAN

of ‘vi­ral­ity’ of the dig­i­tal medium to prop­a­gate the mes­sage. So, the film suc­ceeds in evok­ing nos­tal­gia and lever­ages that to stoke the in­her­ent good­ness in peo­ple, to do good this fes­tive sea­son.”

Lal­wani af­firms that in its rich in­sight that ‘Back to Ba­sics’ is a silent move­ment in the mak­ing, ‘Go lo­cal’ is the new global.

With re­gard to per­haps, over­spec­u­lat­ing the re­sem­blance to the Surf Ex­cel ad, he adds, “All I can say is that it’s a great thing that more than one brand is em­brac­ing the task of prop­a­gat­ing our val­ues to the next gen­er­a­tion. The more the merrier.”

Given the very fact that fes­ti­vals have tra­di­tion­ally been about val­ues of do­ing good and shar­ing, which are fast get­ting lost in com­merce and self-in­dul­gence, more than one brand is seen rid­ing that wave this year.

Shekhar Mhaskar, EVP Iso­bar saw the video as a What­sApp for­ward even with­out know­ing it was by HP. “The fact that it is al­ready go­ing vi­ral this way proves the strength of the story. The prod­uct has been seam­lessly in­te­grated into the story by giv­ing sub­tle em­pha­sis on the boy print­ing and past­ing the posters ev­ery­where. Even with­out reach­ing the last frame, one can gather that it’s a film by a printer brand and need­less to say, the top-of-mind brand would be HP,” he says, sound­ing im­pressed with the ad.

Mhaskar is also of the opin­ion that there is a re­sem­blance be­tween the two ads and ex­plains, “... it’s al­right. Don’t we all get that fuzzy feel­ing when there’s a beau­ti­ful emo­tion so nicely painted in front of you? It’s how one chore­ographs the scenes around the mu­sic of emo­tions thereby strik­ing an emo­tional chord with the au­di­ence; that makes all the dif­fer­ence.” ■

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