New Delhi: Often synonymous with sexist advertising, male grooming category, dominated by deodorants, is taking baby steps to talk about equality and respect. The new Brylcreem range, co-created by Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) and Amazon India, urges young boys to change their mindset and become more respectful towards others in the new campaign.

Made by advertising agency Lowe Lintas, the campaign ‘Soch badla style badla’ leverages the popularity of youth icons and Bollywood actors Siddharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan to deliver the message that ‘real men’ respect others. The change, not just in how one maintains oneself, has a far deeper meaning in life and therefore it goes beyond product benefits and positions Brylcreem as a brand with a purpose.

“The purpose is to inspire men to become better social citizens. The campaign isn’t just about sexism, but also other juvenile behaviour like body shaming, using abusive language etc. Sometimes, people indulge in these, mistaking them to be cool," said Sandeep Kohli, executive director - personal care, HUL.

The new range, which includes hair styling creams and gel, hair wax, shampoo, beard oil, beard wash and beard balm, is being sold exclusively on Amazon. The range, which targets millennials, has been co-created with the insights provided by Amazon India.

The launch is a part of HUL’s effort to invest in the rapidly growing male grooming market. According to BCG analysis report, India’s grooming market of men, today, is estimated at around 8, 600 crore and projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20% for the next three years. Out of all the products, beard grooming is emerging as the one of the fastest growing subset.

HUL’s Kohli said that beard grooming segment is estimated to be 100-crore market fuelled by film stars and cricketers sporting the beard look.

“In the last three years, the beard segment has exploded not just from metros but also tier 1 and 2 towns. This is the first time Unilever is entering the beard grooming range and investing ahead of the curve in building the portfolio," he added.

The campaign is digital led and will not be promoted on mainline media.

Noting that owning up is the first step to manning up, Deepa Geethakrishnan, national creative director – HUL Lowe Lintas said the campaign leverages celebrities to deliver the message that uncouth behavioural traits cannot be dubbed as cool.

“We hope, on seeing their role models accept and change, others will follow their lead. In the process we ‘Man-Up’ from a society of junglee boys to well-groomed men. This purpose-led campaign is exclusively visible on the internet—a place where uncool language and behaviour is widespread," she added.

According to Naresh Gupta, strategy head and managing partner at advertising agency Bang in the Middle, the Brylcreem ads leverage the star power of two big celebrities quite well.

“I like the Sidharth Malhotra spot far more, despite Varun’s ad having greater charm," he said.

However Gupta feels that while the new progressive narrative in the Brylcreem campaign will add value to the brand it might not have a deep impact on the male grooming advertising category codes.

“A lot of advertising in male grooming category won’t break from attraction code like the women grooming category won’t break from the fair skin obsession. I feel Brylcreem will remain an outlier," he added.

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