Mumbai: In the hyperbole that is Indian advertising, it’s rare to find a brand that is happy to talk about its limitations. And stealing your heart while it does so.
The new ad for e-commerce giant Amazon India tugs at the heart with its commercial for Raksha Bandhan. The film, conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather, Bangalore, and directed by Amit Sharma of Chrome Pictures Pvt. Ltd, beautifully captures the sentiment that nothing, not even the gifts they deliver, can be a substitute for love.
The film, shot in a small town set-up, shows an aged father tottering around the house trying to pack his belongings. His middle-aged son watches as his father struggles to remember everything he needs for the trip—especially his medicines and tickets. However, he doesn’t really approve of his father’s plan to go visiting his sister for Raksha Bandhan, given his frail health, and instead offers him the option of sending her a gift through the Amazon app.
The father looks up momentarily to explain that while the gift will reach his sister in good time, he will miss seeing her smile. For that, he must go himself. The ad ends with the thought that while Amazon can deliver gifts to your loved ones this festive season, only you can deliver the love. In a way, highlighting its limitation as a brand. But it is this very honesty and openness, and the charming portrayal of a loving brother, that really hits home with consumers.
“Raksha Bandhan is a beautiful festival which celebrates a unique bond between a brother and sister. With our fast paced lives, relationships end up taking a back seat. With the campaign #DeliverTheLove, we are trying to communicate that while we can deliver anything you want, anywhere you want, nothing is more important than cherishing the relationship you have with your sibling, by meeting them in person,” said a spokesperson for Amazon India, in a statement. “The gifts are a reminder of that bond, but the true joy of Raksha Bandhan lies in creating lasting memories together, which only a brother and sister can,” he said.
With families scattered all over the country, more often than not, sisters courier the Rakhi while the brothers mail the gift. While Amazon India is a preferred destination for many to send Rakhis and gifts to celebrate Raksha Bandhan, the brand steps in to remind people of the importance of being there for your loved ones, said the statement from the company. With this campaign, the brand has taken a higher ground, admitting that there is only that much it can do.
But wasn’t there a chance that consumers would think less of them? “Any brand that promises to deliver emotion, is lying, and consumers know that. But by admitting that we can only deliver the gift, and not their love, we are telling consumers that it is important for them to be present (on the occasion) themselves,” said Mahesh Gharat, executive creative director, Ogilvy Bangalore, adding that in doing so, the brand wanted to win a place in the hearts of consumers.
To be sure, it takes a lot of confidence for a brand to pull off something like this. Other brands such as MasterCard (“There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MatsterCard”) and Sprite (“Sprite Bujhaye Only Pyaas, Baki All Bakwaas”) are perhaps, good examples of pulling off such advertising.
“It helps put a human face to something that is purely transactional,” says K.V. Sridhar, chief creative officer, SapientNitro India, an integrated marketing and technology agency. He said that such advertising also helped the brand cut across the clutter, especially in a category where a large part of the messaging was dominated by bargains, sales and delivery.
“Amazon has everything going for it. A wide selection of products, great quality and customer-friendly service. While it’s obviously a great place for India to shop, it’s also become the natural choice when you want to send someone a gift. Some festivals like Raksha Bandhan, however, are a little different. Nothing can replace the joy of a brother and sister meeting on Raksha Bandhan. There is a magic there that should never be replaced by anything. Coming from a brand, that is a beautiful, brave statement,” said Kunal Jeswani, chief executive officer, Ogilvy & Mather India.