Sunil Babu makes way for Chote Nawab

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | February 20, 2006
After creating a memorable character in Sunil Babu, Asian Paints brings Chote Nawab centre-stage in the latest commercial for its dust-proof variant, Apex Ultima

For & #BANNER1 & # decades, Gattu, the famous animated character, was the face of Asian Paints. The exit of Gattu in 2002 saw the entry of another memorable character, Sunil Babu, who was created for the brand's exterior emulsion variant. So successful was the Sunil Babu ad that it evoked a series of spoofs by other paint brands.

Asian Paints is now hoping to recreate the magic of Sunil Babu with a new character, Chote Nawab, for its new, dust-proof variant, Apex Ultima, which was recently launched across the nation. However, the product was launched in Kerala a year ago.

KBS Anand, vice-president, sales and marketing, explains the reason why. "Kerala is a state with extreme weather conditions and a high rate of algae formation," he says. "So, we decided to launch the product in Kerala first as the need was the greatest there. This paint's speciality lies in the fact that it is dust proof, with a seven-year warranty. Since it was a success in Kerala, we decided to take it to the rest of India."

Enter O&M, the agency on the account, which recently launched a nationwide TVC for the product, titled 'Chote Nawab'.

"We started off the creative process by conducting small demos of the product in my room," recollects Abhijit Avasthi, group creative director, O&M, Mumbai. "We tried to dirty the wall after we had painted it and realised that the dust fell off immediately. It was this factor that we needed to highlight in the communication."

The ad, directed by Abhinay Deo of Ramesh Deo Productions, takes an interesting route to bring out that point. The film opens on a shot of many villagers gathered around a mansion, anticipation writ large on their faces. The object of their gaze is a young man in a riding outfit, standing proud in front of the mansion. Meanwhile, another man blows a note on a bugle and makes an announcement, referring to the young man: "Chote nawab ka saalana bahaduri ka kartab (The prince's annual feat of bravery)."

The announcer then gives the signal for the event to begin. In the next shot, a horde of horses is released and they charge towards the Chote Nawab. It is at this point that the viewer understands that the Chote Nawab's courageous feat is to stand tall amidst the horses galloping towards him.

As the horses engulf the Chote Nawab, his confidence wavers, but he stands his ground. After the horses pass him, a cloud of intense dust swirls around, engulfing the villagers, the man with the bugle, and even the Chote Nawab himself.

The mud-clad Chote Nawab looks expectantly at the villagers, waiting to be congratulated for his courage. The villagers exclaim collectively, "Chamatkar hui gawa (This is a miracle)!" They then run towards the Chote Nawab and his chest swells with pride.

But to his dismay, they rush past him and admire the mansion, for, despite the dust in the air, it is still shining, as beautiful as before. Next, a pack shot of the new Apex Ultima Dust Proof Paint appears, which comes with a seven year warranty. A befitting end to the story has the villagers finally moving away from the mansion and acknowledging the Chote Nawab's bravery.

"The obvious thing would have been to show a cricket match outside the mansion, with some dust dirtying the wall when the ball hits the pitch," remarks Avasthi. "But that would have perhaps created a sense of disbelief as a ball striking a pitch doesn't really create the monumental dust that we wanted."

So, the agency decided to bring in an image that was more 'believable', something that everyone could identify with - the image of several horses galloping at top speed. "Everyone knows that generates a lot of dust and grime," says Avasthi.

Anand of Asian Paints adds that the commercial reflects the product benefit perfectly. "On one hand, we have a Chote Nawab doing an act of bravery, something that no one would have expected him to do. On the other hand, there is a product with a very different feature - a dust-proof variant that no one thought a paint brand could offer."

Anand validates his point with research conducted by his company, which proves that the general public would like to buy a dust-proof paint. "Most other paint brands talk about durability, finesse and beauty. This one goes a step further," he insists.

The shoot took about three days. The set was created at Film City in Mumbai. Filmmaker Abhinay Deo says, "The film was a tough one simply because it begins on a guy's bravery act, a scene involving grandeur, and ends with humour."

Deo took precautions on the set to ensure that the protagonist, actor Pratik Dixit, did not get hurt by the horses. Interestingly, another actor had been finalised to act in the ad, but he chickened out at the last minute.

Deo and his team added several innovations during the film's shoot. "We added the angle of the announcer to aid the story telling and for the humour element," he says. "I also introduced a shot with a butler holding a glass of milk, which he covers to protect it from the dust, but as he looks into the glass, the mud that had collected on his turban falls into it."

Other elements such as some white pigeons turning brown and a white fountain with clean water becoming a muddy brown were also put in by Deo. The dust effect was 70 per cent created in the shoot itself and the rest through computer graphics. The sound effects - such as the striking comical noise made by the pack shot of 'shaking the dirt off itself' - have been created by Ram Sampat.

Avasthi signs off by using three words to describe the communication: "Earthy. Quirky. Funny."

The big question at the end of the day is, will the Chote Nawab create the same kind of magic that Sunil Babu did?

We'll just have to wait till the dust settles.

2006 agencyfaqs!

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