From railway ticket inspector to star cricketer: Dhoni shines for Kiwi Polish

From railway ticket inspector to star cricketer: Dhoni shines for Kiwi Polish

Author | Gokul Krishnamurthy | Monday, May 29,2006 7:06 AM

From railway ticket inspector to star cricketer: Dhoni shines for Kiwi Polish

Mahendra Singh Dhoni ‘chose’ to shine – ‘Outshine’. The new TVC for Kiwi Polish, created by Grey’s Chennai office, captures the ‘choice’ of the current poster boy of Indian cricket to ‘shine’. The brand is seeking to grow the de-growing show polish market, and the brand ambassador’s appeal is backed by an increased media budget of Rs 10-12 crore for the brand.

The commercial puts before us two Dhonis – the star cricketer who speaks to the viewers, and the ticket inspector on a railway station platform (Dhoni was a ticket inspector before he made it to the Indian cricket team). Dhoni’s message to the audience is simple: he chose to shine, and they could too. If he had chosen not to, he would have been the other Dhoni in the frame.

Imagery of shoe polish has been used sparingly, and none of the functional benefits have been thrust upon the viewer in a welcome shift for the category. Towards the end of the commercial, the ticket inspector (Dhoni) vanishes. ‘Outshine’, is the parting message.

The cricket star has also been engaged for Brylcreem, and a TVC for the brand will break next month. The company is admittedly shifting gears in the Indian market, and the signing up of Dhoni is part of the process.

Speaking to exchange4media, Shiv Sahgal, VP - Marketing, Sara Lee Household & Body Care India, said, “If you look at the past, we have been fairly conservative and low-key on media. But in spite of being outspent 1:10, we’ve done very well with the Brylcreem Gel. The market share is back in the 70’s, and competition has helped the category grow at 80-90 per cent. Now, we’re talking about a very different approach. Signing on Dhoni for a shoe polish brand in itself shows how differently we’re thinking. Our media spends on Kiwi and Brylcreem will be at least double if not more.”

While the Kiwi brand would see a media spend of Rs 10-12 crore, the Brylcreem brand would attract even more attention, he added.

On the creative interpretation of the ‘Shine’ position, Vijay Menon, Group Head, Grey Worldwide Chennai, said, “The thought was ‘Shine’. We had to decide on the approach, and we decided that we needed to bring in a strong link between the brand and the ambassador. We took pages from his life, and realised that he didn’t settle for the ordinary. He chose to shine, and we have tried to interpret the ‘outshine’ in all the communication.”

There are a lot of expectations from the Kiwi campaign. Driven primarily by television, and supported by ground promotions and collaterals, besides print, the expectations are two-fold. Sahgal explained, “One is that that category itself would get more attention. It is currently on a decline, by 3-4 per cent y-o-y. Somewhere down the line, the shoe polishing habit has gone down the drain. That will change. Secondly, we’re currently the No. 2 player, with a market share of 28 per cent. We expect an increase of 10-15 per cent by December, and in three years, we are looking at market leadership.”

The Big Picture Company has produced the ad directed by Sabal Singh Shekawat. The ad will feature as 30-second, 20-second and 10-second edits. The attempt had been to contrast between Dhoni’s past and present, said Priya S, Creative Group Head, Grey Worldwide, Chennai. “The contrast is between where he could have been and where he is. We did debate a lot about whether the two Dhonis should look different in the commercial. But we decided that it’s the same Dhoni – he chose to become what he is. So we have shown where he would have been, had he not chosen to ‘shine’,” she added.

The idea has been to take the higher ground, and break away from the conventional approach to brand ambassadors. So, we get to see an ad born of insight not from the market, but from the life of the shining star. Sara Lee’s contract with Dhoni is for a period of three years.

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