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REVIEWERS: Raghu Bhat and Manish Bhatt

Raghu Bhat and Manish Bhatt are founder-directors of Scarecrow Communications Ltd, which handles brands such as Danone Narang Beverages, ITC and Reliance Mutual Fund.

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Ad speak: Raghu Bhat (left) and Manish Bhatt

What are your first thoughts on the ad?

This belongs to the genre of a vivid product demonstration. However, the idea of setting the film amid a large 160-member family based in Mizoram immediately makes it stand apart from the clutter. The ad seeks to convey that Vim is a strong cleanser and also cost-effective as it can clean many vessels. These important aspects get communicated very clearly, thanks to visuals of the finger touching the clean vessel and the pile of plates stacked on top of each other. There is also an emotional benefit conveyed—the women get time to savour the more meaningful things in life owing to Vim’s potent cleaning ability. The audio of the Mizo lady talking in Hindi in the typical accent is an executional element that is endearing.

In a competitive category such as dishwashing soap, how can a brand stay memorable?

Vim would probably fall into a category called “habit" purchase. In the absence of any new information, the objective of an established market leader would be to reassure existing users, remain salient and create awareness for new consumers entering the fold. A reasonably clutter-breaking ad that also ticks the functional and emotional benefit boxes, like the above, will help achieve all of these with a lesser frequency. The use of a “candid demo" treatment has also proved very effective for a brand like Harpic, again directed at the housewife. The task for a new entrant is much more challenging.

What is your favourite ad in the soaps and detergents category?

The Lalitaji ad (for Surf) because it turned a perceived weakness of “high price" into a “perceived strength" of good quality by bringing another emotional parameter (samajhdari, or common sense) to play. Secondly, it introduced a character who was so real, which implies great advertising and film craft.

As told to Gouri Shah

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