REVIEWER: ANAND HALVE
Anand Halve is director of Chlorophyll Brand Consultancy and the author of Planning for Power Advertising. He is a visiting faculty member at IIM Ahmedabad and Mudra Institute of Communication Ahmedabad (Mica) and a frequent writer on advertising and communications.
Ad pro: Anand Halve.
The new Fevicol commercial, which depicts the life of a girl who was unable to shake off a moustache that was pasted on her upper lip. It traces her life, through her teenage years, wedding, motherhood, death and finally, rebirth.
What do you think are the qualities of iconic advertising?
People think achieving iconic status is a matter of setting it as an objective. No, nein, nyet! Iconic stature is not a goal. It is the happy result of doing breakthrough things consistently. Such as, one: advertising that builds on a simple idea—in this case, the simple notion that “nothing sticks like Fevicol can”. Second, that the idea has “legs”—it must be extended over a large number of expressions. And three, that it is fresh enough to redefine the category advertising. Fevicol belongs with great campaigns like Smirnoff’s “view through the bottle” work, and The Economist campaign (I mean the UK work, not the current one in India, which I find incomprehensible).
What did you think of the ‘Moochwali’ TVC?
Consistent: This ad celebrates 50 years of the Fevicol brand.
In my book, “Moochwali” belongs happily in the list of the Fevicol TVCs (television commercials). The stickiness is “here and now” in other Fevicol TVCs—including my favourites like the “bus ride”, “carpenters watching TV” and “chicken feed” TVCs. “Moochwali” adds a new dimension to the “unexpected stickiness” of Fevicol; the dimension of the longevity of the stickiness. This is relevant since this TVC celebrates 50 years of Fevicol. The thread of Fevicol is maintained, even as a new bead is added.
Fevicol has consciously stayed away from celebrity endorsers and special effects.
I am aghast at the way celebrities are used at the drop of a hat. Too many brands act as if they are a rozgaar yojana (employment scheme) for cricketers and film actors. But consider that Aamir Khan has done dozens of TVCs for Coke, and it is still No. 3 in a three-brand category. Hema Malini (abetted by two daughters) hasn’t helped Kent outsell Aquaguard purifiers. Then, celebs are used as “nuclear deterrents” by opposing brands. Sunny Deol, Govinda, Hrithik (Roshan) and Salman Khan took off their shirts for vests. And Bipasha, Katrina, Priyanka and Kareena going head-to-head for shampoo brands. But using the usual suspects (Bachchan, SRK, Tendulkar, Dhoni, Katrina) is not a “strategy”—it is a desperate hope that the celluloid or cricketing gods will be the salvation of a brand.