Humour has and will continue to be integral for us: Vivek Sharma, Pidilite Industries

Sharma, Chief Marketing Officer, Pidilite, gives a peek into the inner workings of the brand’s marketing and how it has managed to stay relevant

e4m by Samarpita Banerjee
Published: Feb 6, 2019 8:14 AM  | 4 min read
vivek sharma

When it comes to conceptualizing ads that are both memorable and effective, almost all of Pidilite’s brands, Fevicol, Fevikwik, Fevistik and M-Seal, among others have been able to stick, no pun intended. Fevikwik’s campaign ‘Getting the fixer at home to fix more’ recently won Ogilvy the Grand Effie this year.

We recently met Vivek Sharma, Chief Marketing Officer, Pidilite Industries who gave us a peek into the inner workings of the brand’s marketing and told us how the brand has managed to stay relevant, while also coming up with hilariously relatable and memorable ads.

You’ve recently won the Grand Effie for your Fevikwik campaign. How do you drive effectiveness through your campaign? What are the most important factors that you keep in mind while coming up with a campaign?
We firmly believe that a relevant message, when said in an entertaining manner, has the power to capture the consumer’s attention. We know that the consumer’s attention span is on the decline but for us, the duration of a campaign doesn’t really matter. What we choose to say in our communications also depend on the medium. We come up with shorter ads when we want to target youngsters on the digital medium because people are impatient and are quick to move to the next thing they can watch. Having said that, a lot of our TV ads that have been much longer have been very effective. So for us, it is all about the message, and how we choose to tell it that drives effectiveness. 

Humor has been a critical element in almost all your communications, since the very beginning…
Pidilite as a company has been pioneering new categories since 1960s. So most of our communications try to talk about new uses of these products. A lot of times, this amounts to behavioral changes among consumers. And when you are trying to shift behavior of people, a serious tonality doesn’t always help. However, if the same message is recounted in a humorous, light-hearted tone, people are more open to listening to it. So yes, humor has and will continue to be integral for us.

You pay a lot of attention to R&D. The brand has many R&D centers across the globe. How much does the global market contribute to your overall sales?
Over 15% of our turnover comes from outside India. The Middle East and South Asia are important markets for us. We have three fully-equipped in-house R&D centres in India and five state-of-the-art technical research and innovation centres in Singapore, Thailand, Brazil, Dubai and USA.

How do you promote your brands in these markets?
While talking to the global markets, we have to take cognizance of the local culture and the market structures. However, the core DNA of Pidilite remains the same. In all the markets that we are present in, we make an effort to work actively with the carpenters, plumbers, contractors and engineers. We adapt ourselves to local practices because every country is different – they use different kinds of woods, build different kinds of houses. We keep that in mind and structure our marketing approach accordingly. For example, there are some parts of Africa where colourful houses are very popular, much like a lot of smaller towns in India. So, the Unitint sells well there. The insight is the same as India, but the way we communicate is different. We use different symbols. However, the trick still is to visit the contractors and sites, observing what they need, and formulating the products with the purpose of making their life easier and job faster. 

Are you considering entering any new categories in the near future?
We are always looking at new categories to enter. We recently took over flooring company Cipy. We are in the business of home construction and renovation, so everything around that is relevant for us. Sometime back, we also tied up with Industria Chimica Adriatica Spa (ICA), a leading wood finish manufacturer based in Italy, to increase our presence in wood finishes. Our aim is to be present in all parts of the value chain and you will see us getting into new categories from time to time.

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