REVIEWER: SANTOSH PADHI
With over 16 years experience in the advertising industry, Santosh Padhi, chief creative officer and co-founder of Taproot India, has worked on campaigns for brands such as McDonald’s, P&G Tidedetergent, Johnnie Walker, Bajaj Auto, ICICI Bank, Luxor writing pens and Perfetti Van Melle.
The new ad for Surf Excel shows an elderly woman shooing birds away from food she has put out in the sun. Her grandson dresses like a scarecrow, grabbing a shirt off the clothesline, painting his face and donning a straw hat, to scare the birds away. Then he hears his father call out to him. That’s when the grandmother pulls out Surf Excel to return the favour by getting all the paint stains off his shirt.
What did you think of the ad campaign?
I loved the idea of bringing the first and third generation together, which works quite well as it appeals to a larger audience. In terms of casting, both the granny and the grandson are chosen wisely. I loved the shot where the granny, while getting rid of the crows, touches her right shoulder out of pain (very emotional). Also the play on “ek minute” was pitched nicely to make a point at the end. Wish there were a few more seconds to complete the story as the moment I started enjoying it, it kind of crash-landed.
In a price-competitive category such as detergent, what must a brand keep in mind?
The last few months have been a bit muddy, I think. And although competition is observed in every category, there’s always enough space for everyone. Ditto for the detergent category as well. On the to-do list, I think the brands must remember that we’re done with demo-only films. I mean, even the common man has been repeatedly hammered with what a detergent does at the end of the day. But consumers have changed, so have their behavioural patterns, likes and dislikes. So why not give them something they’ll remember you for.
Does Surf Excel meet these challenges with its communication?
They are one of the early players to believe in a proposition and put their energies and budgets behind it. Mostly, their creatives have been well woven, with great insight. Which definitely makes the creative product crisp and solid. Something that very few brands have managed to do for longer, especially in this category.
Which is your favourite detergent campaign and why?
My favourite is an international commercial for Tide detergent, with superb insight. The film opens with a young man being called for an interview. The interviewer asks the young guy more about him. As he replies, you hear one more voice along with or just before the young man speaks. After a few seconds the old man notices a stain on the young man’s shirt, which (the stain) has been talking gibberish all this while. The super (statement) in the end says: “A stain on your garment speaks louder than you”, followed by the Tide to go pen (instant stain removal pen).
As told to Gouri Shah.