What is Hrithik Roshan doing in a Nirma detergent ad?

The integrated campaign featuring Hrithik Roshan will be run till end-January and will be promoted across platforms including television, outdoor, cinema and digital


This is the first time that the Nirma brand has brought a celebrity such as Hrithik Roshan to endorse its ‘Advance’ range of detergent launched last year. Photo: HT
This is the first time that the Nirma brand has brought a celebrity such as Hrithik Roshan to endorse its ‘Advance’ range of detergent launched last year. Photo: HT

New Delhi: Ahmedabad-based detergent brand Nirma, known for its popular ‘Hema, Rekha, Jaya aur Sushma… sabki pasand Nirma’ ads of the 70-80’s featuring an unlikely protagonist—Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan. This is the first time the company has brought a celebrity to endorse its ‘Advance’ range of detergent launched last year.

The television campaign, uploaded on brand’s YouTube channel on 11 December, has already crossed a million views. Nirma is manufactured by Nirma Limited founded by Karsanbhai Patel in 1969.

Conceptualized and executed by advertising agency Boing, the spot breaks all category codes of a detergent ad. Elements such as doting mothers, naughty kids and freshly washed laundry drying under the sun are conspicuously absent. Instead viewers get to see Roshan’s dance moves and his perfectly sculpted body as he takes off his tee, which is accidentally stained at a party, to wash with Nirma Advanced detergent. The ad ends with the tagline Naye Zamane Ke Ziddi Daagon Ke Liye (a detergent for the new age tough stains).

This is the second campaign after the brand’s launch campaign rolled out last year .

Anand Karir, creative mentor, advertising agency Boing said that the company wanted a forward looking campaign to appeal to the new generation of customers. “The brand has been positioned as an advance washing powder for the new generation Indians. We definitely didn’t want to show the stereotypical shot of women washing clothes in our ad. Hence we decided to feature a male celebrity. Dance and action sequences are two activities celebrities do that very often lead to sweat and stains. We chose dance, since it not only connects well with the new generation but also builds on the parent brand ‘Nirma washing powder’ campaign defined by a great jingle and the famous dancing girl mascot,” he explained.

The integrated campaign will be run till January end and will be promoted across platforms including television, outdoor, cinema and digital.

Manan Soni, director of Purnima Advertising, Nirma’s media-buying agency, said that since the parent brand ‘Nirma washing powder’ has never had a celebrity brand ambassador, it certainly made sense to explore a celebrity endorsement on ‘Nirma Advance’ as it is a relatively new brand with no deep rooted customer perceptions.

Jitender Dabas, chief strategy officer, McCann Worldgroup India, feels that since Nirma is a legacy brand it needed to find a new narrative to connect with young consumer base. But in his opinion the ad seems like an answer to its competitor HUL’s Wheel detergent which is endorsed by Salman Khan .

“Bringing Roshan on board wasn’t a bad decision, the problem lies in the fact that the ad has no insight about the detergent brand. The celebrity presence has not been used in a clever way,” he said.

Agrees Saurabh Uboweja, chief executive and chief brand strategist at Brands of Desire, who feels that while women who featured in the earlier campaigns may seem outdated today, they were far more powerful personifications of the end user. “Hrithik surely can’t be as authentic in this role change,” he said, adding that the brand is trying to break the stereotype that washing clothes is only a woman’s chore and relate better with city dwelling youngsters, where men actually share the chore. Uboweja notes that small details in the messaging and an authentic treatment coould have lifted the brand recall.

More From Livemint