Havells' move from comedy to social forwardness spells success for the brand

Lowe Lintas' social conscious campaigns for Havells like 'Hawa Badlegi' and 'Respect for Women' promote the brand by simple association with positive progressive ideas

e4m by Lara Rebello
Updated: Jun 20, 2015 8:40 AM
Havells' move from comedy to social forwardness spells success for the brand

Wires and electrical switches might not be on the top of the consumer’s mind. After all it’s not every day that a lay person goes electrical shopping. And yet, the series of ad campaigns by Havells have achieved a strong impact on television viewers across India.

More than the products themselves, it has been the storyline of the communications that have managed to leave a lasting impression. Conceptualised by Lowe Lintas over the past seven years, Havells’ TVCs have ranged from the silly-comic to the mind scratching conscious.

In 2008, the fan segment of the company launched their ‘Ultimate Aaram’ campaign with light humorous TVCs.

Bijlii Ko Bachao Havells Fans TVC

Keeping with the Bollywood item number trend, the ‘Bijli ko bachao’ TVC in 2008 showed a dancer by the name Bijii shimmying her way through an item number when she faints from fatigue. A man from amongst the audience shouts out "Koi Bijli ko bachao!" post which a Havells fan is switched on and she (Bijlii) is revived. A play on the ‘Save Energy’ tag, the ad may have not had a head-on promotional message but it made up for it with light hearted humour.

TVCs in the then campaign made Havells an easily recognisable brand, even to those who had no interest in the product. In their ‘Shock laga’ series for shock-proof electrical switches, characters who used other switches were more prone to being electrocuted and in effect, sporting ‘current charged’ hair.

With Havells’ footing in the media market, Lowe Lintas changed its approach from funny to heart warming in 2011. ‘Wires that don’t catch fire’ – the tag line for its electrical wire campaign used personal relationships as a selling medium. A boy from the slums fashions a pair of tongs for his mother to use so that she doesn’t burn her fingers making rotis for his dinner. The scene struck a chord with many viewers, even though most may never purchase the product themselves.

Respect for Women Havells Coffee Maker TVC:

In 2011, with a more pronounced interest in social issues making the rounds, the brand launched their ‘Respect for Women’ series of TVCs to advertise a range of electronics and home appliances. Aiming to discard the idea that women were expected to cook food, make coffee and do the ironing, the advert showed that Havells’ appliances could be used to do the job (even by a man).

The ad films caught a lot of positive attention and Havells is keen to continue with the ‘Respect for Women’ campaign. Amer Jaleel, National Creative Director, Lowe Lintas + Partners mentioned, “We are working on the next ads. The script is ready and we are just waiting for the right time to launch the second leg of that campaign.”

But Havells found their winning ticket with the ‘Hawa Badlegi’ fan campaign. Playing with various scenarios that relate to socially progressive ways of thinking, Lowe Lintas made the viewer associate the brand’s fans with change for the better. One of 2013’s TVCs shows a newly married couple at a registrar's office, where the husband explains to the official that he will adopt his wife's surname.

 In another, a couple visits an old age home where they want to adopt an aged person. The fans themselves are only shown in the final few seconds of the ads along with the tagline ‘Havells Fans, Hawa Badlegi’.

The films don’t patently encourage change from the audience; they simply put forth instances where positive change has occurred and in doing so, associate the brand Havells with progressive thinking, without making them come across as didactic.

Riding on the success of these earlier adverts, Havells launched four additional TVCs early June. They showcase the range of Havells fans in the background while focusing rather on social issues like inter-religious marriage and nudity censorship. 

Jaleel goes on to explain, “When we started this campaign, it was not meant to be a year to year change. Products that are dependent on the market situation, sales, competition, etc., require that kind of traditional advertising. The Havells campaign is not based on these factors. It is our ambition to go a little higher and become more nuanced when it comes to subject matter. ”

Havells Fans, Tamil TVC

Lowe Lintas has created three TVCs for the north and one for the south market (Tamil). The subject taken in the TVC for southern markets is delicate and something every girl in south India could relate to. Havells has shown how a change in the mindset can help a girl child feel a part of the family even during her menstrual cycle.

Havells Fans Coversion TVC

The second TVC refers to the issue of conversion -- a word which sparks controversies considering the history behind it. In the film, a girl introduces her Muslim boyfriend to her father who insists that the boy will have to convert. After uncomfortable glances between the young couple the dad adds, “From smoker to non-smoker” eyeing the boy’s cigarette lighter lying on the table.

The third ad depicting a team of censor board members is a light take on the double standards in terms of showing or censoring male and female nudity. In the fourth TVC, a couple invites a group of orphans to their fancy wedding.

Havells has found success with this campaign and are using it to a great extent. “We get such a huge flood of responses and so much thought alignment with the kind of subjects we are working with. Nobody thought that the audience response to a fan category would be so great,” mentioned Jaleel.

In the LED sector Lintas created a TVC for Havells’ lightings with a storyline about a girl waiting for someone to meet her outside a sari shop at night. The owner of the store who is shutting down for the night leaves his outdoor lights on for the girl to feel safe. While the film doesn’t have much of a dialogue, the tagline ‘Bijli bachaye, roshni phelayein’ does the job of expressing the sentiment.

With scripts like these, the brand has linked its popularity with social consciousness and plan to continue with the same strategy for a while to come.  


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