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Ad Review: Cloning not cool, says ITC Classmate

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Ad Review: Cloning not cool, says ITC Classmate

In these competitive times, career of kids get decided by parents pretty early in their childhood. One tends to remember the sequence in recent Bollywood movie ‘Vicky Donor’ where parents decide what they would want their child to be even before its arrival in this world. And once the kid is here, starts the rigmarole of honing their skills in a particular field.

But what happens when a child becomes an expert in something? Comparison!

You are always compared with big names – Einstein, Sachin Tendulkar, Vishwanathan Anand but no one asks you to go and create an identity for yourself! Taking a cue from this everyday experience in a youngster’s life, Rediffusion Y&R has launched a new campaign for ITC Classmate establishing how the brand recognises individuality and uniqueness of every child, encouraging them to excel in the field of their choice by ‘becoming the first’ instead of the being ‘the next somebody’.

Creative brief
Classmate has experimented with various taglines before such as 'Inspiring young minds', 'For the big ideas in you' and also roped in brand ambassadors such as Soha Ali Khan and Yuvraj Singh. The campaign marks a change in not only the tagline but has students, the real users of its stationary products as the brand endorsers – students who wish to chart their own path in life.

Talking about the brief that the brand gave to the agency, Karan Kumar, Marketing Manager, ITC Education and Stationery Business said, “The brief was to imbue the brand classmate with a new and differentiated positioning. The challenge was to come up together with a unique proposition for Classmate as the brand that celebrates the uniqueness of every child. Thereafter, the brief was to amplify this positioning with distinctive advertising. We believe this is an important and inspiring position to take, to encourage a new generation to live up to its maximum potential without playing up the pressure of succeeding in the rat race.”

Commenting on the creative insight that led to the film, N Padmakumar, National Creative Director, Rediffusion Y&R said, “The insight is that every child, especially in our country, is urged his or her parents or teachers to be like someone else who is a stellar example. As parents, especially, we end up trying to push our children in clichéd directions that we think will help them shine. Unwittingly we're creating clones out of our children. Classmate however recognises and insists that every child is one of a kind. Our big brand idea for this campaign was, in one word, Unclone.”

“Stationery – notebooks, pens, art material – is the child's first ally in self expression. It is the first instrument or set of instruments that both attracts and fuels his or her imagination, the essential person inside. Hence, this powerful idea is very intrinsically a great fit for the category. Besides, in a category where everyone is talking academic excellence and competitive advantage, it's time someone had a larger and more meaningful conversation with the audience,” elaborated Padmakumar on how the creative execution connects back with brand philosophy.

The campaign has a 60 second commercial which would be followed by 20 second bursts after the initial exposure. The series of TV commercials features primary school children with varied interests who, instead of becoming Shakespeare, Sachin, or Picasso, vie to become the first Anahita Barua, Raj Mathur and Deven Desai pleading “instead of being the next somebody, can I please be the first me?”

Industry speak

The idea of standing out as your own self is indeed a powerful one and relevant to Indian society. So what does the ad frat say about it?

Ashutosh Karkhanis, Executive Creative Director, Saatchi & Saatchi, Mumbai commented, “I think ‘Because you are one of a kind’ is a powerful thought, beautifully executed. But how can stationary help you stand out as a unique individual? Brand connect is very weak. At the beginning of the film you think the film is leading up to something much bigger but the end just falls flat leaving you puzzled. Chances are consumers may recall the idea but I am not sure if they will remember the product or brand.”

Louella Rebello, ECD, DDB Mudra finds the TVC refreshing and one that communicates an important message. She said, “The new ITC ad for Classmate is refreshing. It's shot very well and hits the nail on the head. As Indians, we are obsessed with getting our children to be the next something…Sachin, Kishore Kumar, etc. And this TVC very nicely holds up the mirror to that obsession. It's time to back off, let kids be kids and celebrate their individuality. It isn't often that a corporate stands up and makes a statement and it's great that they did.”

Our view

An individual’s success is born out of his/her own efforts. While comparison may be a good simile to quantify the efforts, the fact is everyone loves to be known by their own name. The ad beautifully brings out this emotion from the kids in the advert. In a clutter of ads by stationary brands where celebrities claim to write the future with those products, this one stands out as an honest effort to bring about a change.

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