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Innovation drives low-involvement category brands for greater connect

22-July-2016
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Innovation drives low-involvement category brands for greater connect

Last year, we saw Ambuja Cement’s ad with endorser Khali breaking the internet. It was one of the most memorable ads ever done in the cement category. We even saw mythology being used in the most interesting manner for the Scotch Brite scrub pad commercial. For the first time, it successfully managed to grab the attention of men for a category which is usually a blank spot for them. Similarly, in the last one month, there has been an increase in captivating communication coming from categories such as ball pens, water pumps, fans and insurance brands, which are generally considered to be low-involvement categories.

Recently, Varuna Pumps, Finolex Fans, Cello Butterflow, Coverfox and HDFC Ergo have used interesting and engaging narratives to communicate with their audience on both television and the digital mediums to create a strong brand recall.

Speaking about the benefits of advertising in this category, Pranesh Misra, Chairman & Managing Director, Brandscapes Worldwide cited, “Interesting communication will always help the brand to stand out and get recognition. Innovative ads help the brands to overcome barriers which low involvement category faces to enter the consciousness of people. At the same time, it also helps them to become the talking points of the retailers.”

Varuna Pumps

A week back, Ahmedabad-based water pump company Varuna Pumps adopted a very innovative marketing strategy to reach out to its audience. The brand launched a two-film campaign, which was aired across 1,800 movie theatres during the intermission of Salman Khan’s biggest Eid release – Sultan. For the execution of the ads, Scarecrow Communications revived the artistic short film format, which is getting lost these days.

Both the films have been made keeping in mind the problems which people face due to water shortages in both the rural and urban market.

Jasmine Aunty:

Rukmi Bai:

Finolex Fans

One of the most talked about campaigns in the last few days is the one by Finolex fans. The hilarious execution (done jointly by Boing and Focus) and the unexpected end of the film have made it viral. It is a story of an astronaut who is stuck in his spaceship when he realises that he has run out of achaar. Hell breaks loose back on earth and the issue grabs the primetime news coverage. In the end, his mother comes to rescue, when she sends Ramu Kaka into the space- with the help of a strong draft of the Finolex fan.

Cello Butterflow

Cello Butterflow Ball pen has released two humorous ads titled ‘Mr Lamba Naam’ and ‘Chitthi Aai Hain with Pankaj Udhas’, as part of their latest communication. With an unexpected twist in the end, both the films conceptualised by J.Walter Thompson use fun and laughter to highlight the smoothness of the ink.

Commenting on the campaign, Hanoz Mongrelia, Global Executive Creative Director- Radiant, J.Walter Thompson said, “When we started the film, we found that there are numerous communications in the ball-pen category, but it was either very functional or a celebrity was used in a quite out-of-context manner. Mostly all these films were shown in either a classroom or an examination hall setting with the class topper attributing his success to the pen. We found all the communications to be extremely boring and decided to do something totally different. Infact, in our Cello ads, when it starts out, it is difficult to guess that it is a ball pen ad.”

He further added, “It is sometimes very important to push the thinking and that is what we did for Cello pens. It was also possible because of a supportive client who had full faith in our idea. See it is very difficult, if you look at things from a client’s perspective, there is a constant fear of rejection, as a result of which brands follow the herd mentality. However, there are also few clients who can manage to break away from it and we must applaud them.”

HDFC Ergo & Coverfox

In the last few years, the insurance brands have been trying to come up with innovative and engaging forms of narratives. Last year, we saw long format emotional ads from companies such as HDFC Life, Birla Sun Life and Tata AIA. However, in the last one month, we have seen brands like HDFC Ergo and Coverfox using humour to connect with their consumers.  

BBH India created a digital campaign for Coverfox consisting of crisp videos. Using YouTube’s retargeting platform, it tracks those who visited the company’s portal and places reminders to renew their insurance every time the customer visits the channel.

HDFC Ergo on the other hand, has created three small animated video series from the famous Bollywood movie Sholay. Using a funny tonality, it gently reminds the user to download the brand’s app for renewing motor insurance.

How do brands benefit?

Saurabh Uboweja, founder, CEO and Chief Brand Strategist, Brands of Desire said, “Brands in unpopular categories face challenges in creating interest. As a result, marketers often follow disruptive routes to seek attention. Havells did that successfully over the last few years in a rather boring category. The creative strategy often followed is either around humour or emotions. However, the challenge in executing the creative strategy is doing it authentically. You can't appear to try to be hard and you also can't trivialize the brand in order to appear funny. In addition, striking the right balance between the creative and the business strategy is the key. There is no point in creating a memorable campaign that people remember if they forget the brand behind it.”

Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder and CEO, Brand-Comm elaborated, “There has been tremendous effort made on part of advertisers, marketers and they are the ones who are pushing these traditional low involvement categories to moderate involvement ones. Today, people ask for a particular brand of tyre when they go to purchase one, which was not the case few years back. MRF was the only one that used to advertise, now other players like CEAT, Apollo Tyres and JK Tyres have also started advertising heavily. There has been a shift and we are seeing low involvement category brands coming up with interesting communication.”

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