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Did Fortune Oil win hearts with latest Sourav Ganguly ad?

Experts say that while a little humour could have gone a long way, Fortune's comeback ad is a good example of a brand supporting its endorser in the face of trolling

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: Feb 17, 2021 12:59 PM
fortune

In the age when online conversations turn into bruising sports, brands commonly find themselves in the line of fire these days. Their reputation is dragged through the mud as customers clash over political affiliations, religious beliefs and personal biases. But ultimately, brands are remembered for how they turn these fiascos around skillfully.

Following Saurav Ganguly's recent heart attack, the Fortune brand was trolled significantly on social media. I think the decision to stick with their brand ambassador has played wonderfully. A heartfelt message on Valentine's day, from a hero who's just been through the scare - it's the perfect way to own the moment. The ad is a nice reminder for people to look after their health, and it does so without pushing products on consumers. It's informative, inspiring, and does a great job of positioning Fortune as a brand that really looks after your heart. And then again, who doesn't look forward to a letter from Dada on Valentine's day?

After enduring brutal trolling online, Adani Wilmar may have had to halt its Fortune Rice Bran Cooking Oil ads, featuring former Indian cricket team’s captain Sourav Ganguly after he suffered a heart attack. But the brand is now back with a new ad featuring Ganguly. The long format print ad, ostensibly planned for Valentines Day, starts with Ganguly's assurance that his "heart is just fine." The problem, he writes, was not with the heart but the artery leading to it. The question that arises is that has the brand managed to stage a worthy comeback with the ad? And is the right response planned at the right time?

According to Jigar Fernandes, founder, tiqui-taka opines that he would have loved to see the brand take on trolls with a pinch of sense of humour in terms of creative strategy that could have won hearts better.

“There is great humour in tragedy. Trolls, just like everyone with a sense of humour, know that. They're also human beings who know that only having good oil won't save their heart if they don't move their butts off the chair they troll from. But their idea of putting together a heart attack to an oil endorsement was fun. And so it spread. In that context, I would've loved to see the brand take to humour and take on the trolls. Ganguly does have a sense of humour. I would've exploited that. Cos it was a personal joke,” Fernandes remarks.

The ad aims to dispel some of the myths surrounding heart attacks. Through the ad, Ganguly explained that while it's difficult to imagine a "fairly young and fit" individual to have heart ailments, numerous factors come into play. He says that in his case, it was a family history of heart troubles. 

According to Samit Sinha, Managing Partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting, it would have been better to have laid low and return with a brand new narrative after some more time had elapsed.

“This advertisement featuring Sourav Ganguly reminds me of a quote from Hamlet: 'The lady doth protest too much, methinks.' The advertisements were totally unnecessary in my view, coming in the wake of not one, but two cardiac interventions of Ganguly, in quick succession. I frankly have no idea what the objective of the communication is. If it was to reassure those who got alarmed earlier, I don’t think it does. For those who were not alarmed, it only further confuses. In any case, why remind people of its heart-health benefits at a time when its credibility is at its lowest?” Sinha asserts.

In his advice to readers in the latest ad, Ganguly urges everyone to take good care of their hearts by following healthy habits, exercising, upping intake of antioxidants, resting and going for regular tests and checkups.

According to Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Bang In The Middle, with its latest ad, the brand has bounced back strongly. “Personally, as I mentioned and suggested earlier when the issue broke, Ganguly ought to remain its ambassador. They obviously would have had to change the communication angle. But it’s a good thing that continues to be the ambassador and that makes the brand committed to its choice of celeb,” he states.

N. Chandramouli, CEO, TRA too feels that the post-trolling ad is a very smart and worthy comeback for Cricket's Dada. “This is a good sign of a brand supporting its endorser in the face of trolling. This was however a two-edged sword for Fortune, for if they dropped Sourav, it would prove he was ill, and they could not have continued to use his endorsement as in the earlier ads. This ad is a win-win for all concerned, as it clears the messages around Sourav's heart health, clears myths regarding heart diseases, gives a win to Fortune, and also for consumers, as is made like an educational ad,” he remarks. 

Imran Khan, head of art, Infectious Advertising, believes that the ad is a nice reminder for people to look after their health, and it does so without pushing products on consumers. "I think the decision to stick with their brand ambassador has played wonderfully. A heartfelt message on Valentine's day, from a hero who's just been through the scare - it's the perfect way to own the moment. It's informative, inspiring, and does a great job of positioning Fortune as a brand that really looks after your heart. And then again, who doesn't look forward to a letter from Dada on Valentine's day?"

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