The detergent category communication has undergone a huge shift in the last couple of years. In a category where dirt and stains have always been portrayed as undesirable, Surf Excel’s ‘Daag Ache Hain’ campaign has been playing on the paradox of dirt being good by featuring children doing good deeds and getting dirty in the process.
The brand has recently launched their new ad campaign--‘ReadyForLife’, which has been released across digital platforms. According to Vandana Suri, Category Head – Premium Fabric Wash, Surf Excel, “#ReadyForLife is an activation platform that will enable the brand to engage with millions of mothers in urban India. The brand will empower mothers to start this parenting journey by signing up for the campaign and registering for a set of events where they can take their kids to during the summer break. This will be enabled through digital since it is a medium that allow us to reach urban mothers and have seamless options for signing up through acts of sharing. At the same time, the campaign will also use relevant print channel to enable scale of reach.”
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Commenting on the insight behind the new ad, she added, “For over a decade Surf excel has championed the “Dirt is Good” philosophy which simply means that if kids get dirty in the act of doing good, then dirt is good. This act of doing good has been depicted by showing kids getting dirty for a purpose to highlight values such as sacrifice, forgiveness, righteousness or expressing love for one’s grandparents.”
Speaking on how their latest campaign was different from Surf Excel’s previous campaigns, Suri explained, “#ReadyForLife is an extension of the “Dirt is Good” positioning. The new campaign isn’t different in philosophy but in its execution since it uses digital as a lead medium unlike the conventional mediums of TV and print that our regular campaigns are tailored for.”
Talking about the creative execution, Anaheeta Goenka, President, Lowe Lintas said, “Parenting is a conundrum today. And experience over time really does not help. So for every “mom” or “dad” facing conflict between making your child future-ready Vs making them “ready for life” is what Surf Excel hopes to address. Values are what will really matter in making our children ready for whatever life throws at them. Our Surf Excel #ReadyForLife platform kicks off with the hope to instill empathy by encouraging the simple act of sharing.”
Adding to it, Arun Iyer, Chief Creative Officer, Lowe Lintas elaborated, “Our challenge was that you cannot teach or preach a value. And all we hope to do is to creatively inspire – and we used the innocence of our children to inspire every parent. ‘Dirt is Good’ has always been about a purpose, and having to instill such a core purpose was daunting yet creatively liberating. Our story as always is told through the engine of Dirt. We do hope this engine sparks a train of thought for all who watch our little story.”
Commenting on the new campaign, Subhadeep Dawn, Creative Supervisor, DDB Mudra said, “It is a nice film and people with kids will be easily able to relate to the film. The storyline of the new ad is good as well as the execution. It has taken forth the ‘Daag Acche Hain’ proposition of the brand Surf.”
However, Jagdish Acharya- Founder & Creative Head, Cut the Crap has a different perspective to share. According to him, “This is a goodness filled morality play. The story is cute and is trying hard but not really believable. Also, it is quite predictable, thanks to the overdose of advertising schmaltz on digital. Connect with the brand too comes under question - why does the kid have to fool his mom to do a good deed. Come on guys, leave the kids alone!”
Memorable previous brand campaigns:
The brand started with famous ‘Lalitaji’ campaign, and with the help of the iconic character did the job of educating consumers that the product might be premium, but if a budget conscious woman like her is not compromising on the quality, even they shouldn’t. She soon became a household name and homemakers started identifying with her. This was during the 1970s when with the launch of lower priced brands, the challenge for Surf was to justify its premium-ness. Later on the communication of Surf evolved along with product innovations like Surf Excel and Surf Excel Ultra.
The campaign ‘Daag Dhundte Rahe Jaaoge’ for Surf became very popular and it helped the brand to create greater recall.
In 2006, Surf Excel offered a different take on stains through their campaign ‘‘Daag Ache Hain’. It promoted the thought of ‘Stains are good’, when the other brands in this category were focussing on the product benefits. Over the years, the brand has taken this line of thought forward.