Play­ing the ‘Cause’ Card Again

The brand takes up dig­nity of labour as its ‘cause’ in its lat­est com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

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

Dig­nity of Labour takes cen­trestage in this ad.

The Au­gust cover story for afaqs! Re­porter asked a cru­cial ques­tion that’s loom­ing over the ad world - does ev­ery brand re­ally need a higher pur­pose? And, the cover image fea­tured a pow­dered de­ter­gent con­nec­tion. Most of the ma­jor play­ers in the space have taken a cause-led ap­proach, amal­ga­mat­ing the brand’s mes­sage with a cause with cre­ative folk work­ing at the anvil.

RSPL’s (Ro­hit Sur­fac­tants Pri­vate Lim­ited) lat­est ad for brand Ghadi De­ter­gent, takes up dig­nity of labour as its ‘cause’ and flushes out pre­con­ceived no­tions about day-to-day jobs such as clean­ing, do­ing dishes and wash­ing clothes be­ing of a ‘lower grade’. Ghadi has been us­ing sim­i­lar cause-led com­mu­ni­ca­tion specif­i­cally dur­ing fes­ti­vals as part of its cam­paign ‘# Saar eM aelDh oD a a lo ’. The brand has done it on the oc­ca­sion of Eid, Holi and pre­vi­ous Di­walis.

The ad has been con­cep­tu­alised by ADK For­tune and fea­tures a pre-Di­wali set­ting when house­hold clean­ing is in full swing. In the three­minute-long film, the son, who looks down on the do­mes­tic help, is taken to task by his mother. The mother then gets him to help with the clean­ing, which is when he re­alises that the work is ac­tu­ally tough and de­serves re­spect, just like any other. The brand builds it’s con­nect with Di­wali clean­ing and the idea of re­mov­ing dirt from one’s mind.

It’s in­ter­est­ing that al­most all the play­ers in this seg­ment are play­ing the ‘cause’ card (Ariel’s #ShareTheLoad or Surf Ex­cel’s #DaagAch­heHai) in­stead of go­ing the tra­di­tional route of bet­ter/best-brighter-eas­ier-whiter clean­ing.

So, can too many causes in this lim­ited space cre­ate clut­ter? And is it nec­es­sary to take up a cause? If so, why? And what if the cause steals the lime­light, leav­ing lit­tle for the brand and the cre­ative?

We took this op­por­tu­nity to raise those queries with Ashish Makhija, GM mar­ket­ing - Fab­ric Care, RSPL, who is of the opin­ion that in ad­ver­tis­ing, although high­light­ing func­tional ben­e­fits of the brand plays a very im­por­tant role, it will con­tinue to do so only if there’s new news.

“It came to a point where all brands were claim­ing brighter and whiter clothes and thus came cau­sev­er­tis­ing to in­flu­ence pur­chase de­ci­sions based on affin­ity to­wards a brand. The right bal­ance of func­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tion and cause-ver­tis­ing is the need of the hour,” Makhija says.

About cre­at­ing clut­ter, he says, “I think this de­pends on the mes­sage a brand is try­ing to get through and ob­vi­ously, its cre­ative rep­re­sen­ta­tion. It is crit­i­cal to find a cor­rect fit­ment for the brand, so much so that it doesn’t seem like a force fit. This is some­thing brands need to work on while draft­ing their strat­egy. So far, this cam­paign is set­ting new bench­marks for us in terms of en­gage­ment lev­els and hence, we’ve clearly man­aged to break through the clut­ter.”

But what does a de­ter­gent brand have to do with fes­ti­vals? And does the seg­ment see sea­sonal spikes in ad­ver­tis­ing?

Makhija says that con­sump­tion pat­terns are mostly con­sis­tent through­out the year and so is ad­ver­tis­ing with no such spe­cific time of the year or sea­son. “The plot of the film is around pre-Di­wali prepa­ra­tion where tra­di­tion­ally, we clean and dec­o­rate our homes. It re­flects on our ig­no­rance to­wards dig­nity of labour and I am sure a lot of peo­ple will re­late to it,” Makhija adds.

Akash­neel Das­gupta, NCD, ADK For­tune says, “Good brand re­call doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily need the name to ap­pear six times. It is about how well the pur­pose and the prom­ise of the brand are in­te­grated within the plot. This is our fifth film un­der the ‘# Saar eM aelDh oD a a lo’ se­ries and in each, the brand name ap­pears only in the end and view­ers have never missed it. Yes, there are many brands do­ing cause-based ad­ver­tis­ing, but it de­pends on the power of the cre­ative to stand out. This piece for Ghadi has al­ready gone vi­ral across mul­ti­ple plat­forms so there’s no ques­tion of get­ting lost in the clut­ter.”

When asked about the pre-Di­wali ad­ver­tis­ing rush, Das­gupta says, “In my ex­pe­ri­ence, I have al­ways had a peace­ful Di­wali, but a crazy Dussehra. All the Di­wali frenzy ac­tu­ally af­fects the fort­night be­fore, as ev­ery­thing is al­ready out by Di­wali.”

“The cre­ative for Ghadi does not have a sin­gle el­e­ment of Di­wali. The story is de­void of the usual Di­wali clichés like lit up homes, pic­tureper­fect peo­ple etc. For us, Di­wali is just the con­text for high­light­ing an­other as­pect of ‘cleans­ing’ to in­stil dig­nity of labour,” Das­gupta adds about the ad’s con­nec­tion with the fes­ti­val.

About that brand rid­ing on the pur­pose wave and clearly off tra­di­tional hard-sell­ing, Das­gupta states, “Both will go hand-in-hand. The tra­di­tional prod­uct-led mes­sages will also con­tinue to be aired. It de­pends on the ob­jec­tive of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion. When we have in hand a task to in­form/demon­strate a new ad­di­tion to the prod­uct or its de­liv­ery, we would also do the tra­di­tional form of mes­sag­ing.”

OVER TO EX­PERTS

We asked in­dus­try ex­perts about the ad and the over­all sit­u­a­tion.

Anish Vargh­ese, NCD - Iso­bar In­dia points out that the seg­ment lends it­self eas­ily to pur­poseled mes­sag­ing be­cause it’s a low in­volve­ment cat­e­gory. He says, “It’s a chal­lenge to build brand pas­sion in this cat­e­gory. So, brands need to fo­cus on what pur­pose they are into and con­vert con­sumers by us­ing beau­ti­ful sto­ry­telling, which is re­lat­able.”

“To have a strong con­nec­tion with the brand we need to make sure the pur­pose-led mes­sage is in­trin­sic to the brand propo­si­tion; a di­rect cor­re­la­tion. This Di­wali they have a strong mes­sage to share,” Vargh­ese shares about the clut­ter and the ad’s po­si­tion in the crowd.

How­ever, about brands ditch­ing the tra­di­tional hard-sell, he adds, “Hard-sell­ing to­day is a bad idea. Peo­ple are not ex­pect­ing it any more, es­pe­cially in an in­ter­ac­tive medium, which has a strong con­nec­tion in our daily rou­tine.”

Cre­ative con­sul­tant Pradyumna Chauhan says that there is a lot of sat­u­ra­tion in the de­ter­gent seg­ment with brands run­ning out of propo­si­tions for stand­ing out. “Since the cause-led wave is in, brands can still get a take­away even if they don’t get the top spot. They can still get some trac­tion with the fifth or maybe the tenth spot. For Ghadi De­ter­gent, this ad is al­most a ne­ces­sity, given the cur­rent sce­nario of ad­ver­tis­ing,” Chauhan states. ■

“This cam­paign is set­ting new bench­marks for us in terms of en­gage­ment lev­els and hence, we’ve clearly man­aged to break through the clut­ter.” ASHISH MAKHIJA

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