The 'Shubh Aarambh' impact

From winning Cannes Lion & Creative Abby to delivering one of the most talked about campaigns in IPL-5, what made ‘Shubh Aarambh’ a sweet deal for Cadbury

e4m by Shree Lahiri
Updated: Jul 10, 2012 8:15 PM
The 'Shubh Aarambh' impact

Cadbury Dairy Milk (CDM) has been winning customers over with its endearing ads over the last six decades and has effectively captured the ‘meetha moments’ space. Each of its campaigns – from ‘The real taste of Life’, ‘Pappu pass ho gaya’, ‘Miss Palanpur’ to ‘Kuch meetha ho jaye’ and ‘Shubh aarambh’ – have occupied a special place in the hearts of Indian consumers.

It may be recalled that Cadbury Dairy Milk won two metals at the Creative Abby Awards at GoaFest 2012 – a Silver in the Integrated category and a Bronze in the Film category.

Launched in July 2010, the ‘Shubh aarambh’ campaign is based on the concept of the Indian tradition of having something sweet before every auspicious occasion. Conceptualised and created by Ogilvy India, the campaign today has become synonymous with life’s celebratory occasions. Although rooted in a strong cultural truth, the campaign has a contemporary and youthful twist to it that allows people to easily connect with it. At the core, the campaign projects the brand values of joy and shared happiness.

Tracing Cadbury’s campaigns over the years, Anindya Banerjee, Executive Creative Director and Branch Head, Scarecrow Communications, said, “Like many others, Cadbury’s ‘The real taste of life’ campaign, which was unveiled in 1994, caught my imagination too. The next one was ‘Khaane Waalon ko khaane ka Bahana Chhayie’, which turned consumption into a joyful social occasion. CDM has made chocolates synonymous with sweets. And the proof was when I saw my mom offer a bar of chocolate for her daily puja because sweets weren’t available!”

In fact, experts state that through its ads Cadbury has been sharing market insights that are based on its vast breadth of the chocolate experience. The Cadbury story is the story of ‘The taste of life’.

The ‘meetha’ proposition
Giving insight into the complex relationships in the ‘Shubh aarambh’ campaign, Abhijit Avashti, National Creative Director, Ogilvy India, explained that Cadbury had been trying to associate strongly with the ‘meetha’ association. “What we realised is that ‘meetha’ has so many connotations. There could be different occasions for ‘meetha’ in our lives,” he added and affirmed that today, ‘Shubh aarambh’ is, in fact, the property of Cadbury.

The two latest campaigns under the ‘Shubh aarambh’ umbrella, created by Ogilvy Mumbai, are titled ‘Child’s Play’ and ‘Hostel’. ‘Child’s Play’ shows a soon-to-be-mother trying to break the news of her pregnancy to her husband, while ‘Hostel’ shows a group of college students ragging their juniors being won over by an offer of Cadbury chocolates.

The occasions are slightly more traditional shubh aarambh moments, noted Avasthi. He added that not only did they strengthen the ‘meetha’ equity for CDM, but also transformed behaviour with youngsters reaching out to CDM on such occasions.

Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner and CCO, Bang In The Middle, found the ads “a wonderful, truly Indian campaign” that have been extremely well done and executed brilliantly. He added, “More than that, it’s been driven from the heart of a pan Indian insight. The fact is that we all celebrate the beginning of something new – a new home, a new day, a new job, and a new year.”

Cadbury ads over the years
Cadbury ads have always endeared themselves to audiences. Perhaps the only time when the advertising sagged a bit was the ‘Miss Palampur’ campaign, noted Banerjee, who felt that the ad was “a bit forced”. “Perhaps, Ogilvy quickly realised it and they hit back with the ‘Aj Pehli Tareek Hai’ campaign,” he added. With its catchy song and retro feel, celebrating pay day has never been the same ever since.

Each of the ads in the ‘Shubh aarambh’ series is a chapter from everyday India’s life. The first round had ads focusing on the ‘bus stop’, the ‘jeans’ and the ‘girl eloping’. The thought behind these ads was that ‘meetha’ was called for at the beginning of any new relationship or a new venture. “We wanted to put a youthful twist as seen in the bus stop ad, and the ad with the lady getting into jeans was indeed a big thing for middle-aged Indians to identify with. So, the ads straddle different segments,” Avasthi pointed out.

The transition from one idea to the other has been smooth and the entertainment quotient high. Suthan observed, “The CDM advertising touches upon a kind of truth that will resonate with all, because it exists as part of life and our culture. It’s a great position for the brand to occupy, and ram home its wedges.”

According to Anurag Hira, Co-owner of Kolkata-based One By One Design, “‘Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaaye’ and ‘Shubh Aarambh’ have been key ingredients that are as integral as cocoa and milk to this lifetime wondrous brand called Cadbury. If ‘Pehli Tareekh’ gave most of salaried India reason to relish a dairy milk chocolate even once a month, ‘Shubh aarambh’ came and said okay, now we’re giving you many more reasons to celebrate, as someone, somewhere is starting something new every day.”

More to follow
An unwritten rule in advertising is that if an ad works for a brand, then stick to it. Echoing this thought, Avasthi said, “The ‘Shubh aarambh’ campaign is a blockbuster campaign and the concept has enough juice left, so we are have it once again this year. We thought it would be prudent to continue with the idea rather than find yet another cut on ‘meetha’.”

For Scarecrow’s Banerjee, an idea seems overstretched if the ads feel forced, but “none of that has happened so far”. “If anything, they seem to be growing from strength to strength. And a report in ET says CDM has 70 per cent share of the market,” he added.

However, there is one problem, observed, Suthan – chocolates are not a natural substitute for laddus and jalebis and everything Indian. But then, the skew is metro, and the younger audience hopefully doesn’t see desi ghee as a pre-requisite to an auspicious beginning. “Overall, the switch from a very Indian sweet to a western format is tough. But if that can be achieved, it’s a fantastic win,” Suthan said.

The road ahead
About taking the idea forward, Avasthi said that the tapestry of ‘Shubh aarambh’ was so rich and diverse that it could and should continue for a couple of years at least. Agreeing with him, Suthan felt, “The answer lies in the positioning.”

For consumers, two things haven’t changed in this 18-year journey – the sheer enjoyment of having a Cadbury Daily Milk chocolate and the entertainment quotient of the advertising.

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