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Flash a Happydent smile, light your day

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | July 24, 2006
The last Happydent TVC made in 2004, successfully made consumers believe that the chewing gum could turn their teeth sparkling white


Teeth so white & #BANNER1 & # that they dazzle, and dazzle so much that they can easily substitute for a flash bulb. In very few words, the last Happydent TVC, made in 2004, successfully made consumers believe that the chewing gum could turn their teeth sparkling white.

But now, Perfetti and McCann-Erickson have re-worked the communication and presented it in a mammoth form.

To re-jig the memory, here is what happens in the earlier TVC. A photo session is in progress. A model takes up a pose in an ethnic costume and the cameraman shouts, "Smile". After a while, the model gets tired and asks for a break, but the photographer requests one more shot. He then adjusts the face of a man standing besides the camera facing the model. The second man is chewing gum and smiles at the photographer's command. Each time he smiles, his teeth emit a flash and the photographer shoots a picture. This communication has now been given a jump and presented in the current form.

So, what was the agency asked to do? "Something better," answers Sameer Suneja, head, marketing, Perfetti.

"Essentially, we just asked the agency to progress from the earlier commercial. The earlier campaign worked very well in terms of both brand salience and brand recall. People were talking about the product and then trying it out. As a concept, whitening has not been very big or a very strong category in India. Even whitening toothpaste has not done very well. So, in a way, it was very good for us. This TVC will re-energise our earlier strength," Suneja explains.

The film opens on a shot of a man on a bicycle, crossing a bridge and rushing somewhere. His bicycle breaks down and the front tyre falls into the river. The man starts running. He seems to be in a hurry. He then tries to hitch a lift from a passing old motor car. The car doesn't have any headlights; instead, there are two men hanging in front of it. The car passes without stopping. The man then rushes into a town. He passes a series of lamp posts. Instead of bulbs, the lamp posts have men hanging from them. The man then enters a palace. He tries to slip in furtively.

He crosses a lawn tennis court, a swimming pool, at the side of which men are standing upside down, half-submerged. The man is shown rushing through various parts of the palace.

Everywhere he goes, men are shown hanging from various positions. He finally reaches a balcony and jumps onto a chandelier, from which many other men are hanging. Exactly below the chandelier is a dining table at which an old Maharaja is seated. Meanwhile, the background song, Tera dil roshan, tera mann roshan, reaches a crescendo. The man at the centre of the chandelier puts some gum into his mouth, chews it and smiles. His smile transforms him into a human torch. The other men follow and the whole chandelier starts glowing. Likewise, the men placed at the swimming pool, atop the motorcar, lamp posts, tennis court and at various other spots follow suit and the whole town is lighted up. The voiceover at the end says, 'Happydent White, Chewing Gum'.

According to Prasoon Joshi, regional creative director, South & South East Asia, McCann-Erickson, the new TVC is a step further from the earlier photographer campaign. Heavily dramatised and third dimensional, this campaign is a serious construction of a surreal world. "We created an imaginary town where there is no light. This communication is a leap from the earlier TVC."

The brand strategy was very clear. It moved from one flash bug to many, many flash bugs. They wanted to show many teeth sparkling and bringing light. So, in a way, the original idea was worked upon and new situations were created to implement the many flash bugs concept.

Joshi is happy that Perfetti put so much trust in them, given the fact that when he visualised the concept and made the presentation, he was not sure whether it was possible to realise his visualisation. Joshi explains, "The client really trusted us on this imaginary journey. We had no clue to how we would use human beings to light up the roadside poles, under the swimming pool and other obscure places. It was difficult implementing it. A lot of credit goes to the filmmaker, Ram Madhvani. The client trusted me."

But doesn't the TVC go overboard in selling what is after all just chewing gum? Joshi says, "This ad is all about wonderment. Something like the 'adbhut ras'. The product in question is a low involvement category. It is not a refrigerator or a car. It is something that one picks up from a shop. So, at the end of the day, all we have done is tried to make the TVC memorable."

The TVC has a background score composed by Shantanu Moitra. The lyrics have been provided by Joshi himself. The background score sung by Kailash Kher, Pranav Biswas, Shantanu Moitra and Prasoon Joshi has a Sufiyana touch. In fact, Joshi had specially asked for a Sufiyana touch. He explains, "Sufi music is mystical. It is not about logic. It is about the third dimension and that was where this commercial was pitching."

The film has been shot in Panvel near Mumbai. The set and even the bridge were created artificially. Ram Madhvani, filmmaker, Equinox Films, says, "Arranging the actors was traumatic. The idea in this dramatised film is surreal. We have presented it in such a manner that it looks real."

Madhvani had to organise 20 people who could stand or hang from the lamp posts and chandeliers. Twelve of the actors came from Kerala, while the rest were from Mumbai.

Why such a huge set? Joshi explains, "If we had not done it on this scale, it would not have registered. It would have looked tacky. It was a concept of a city, a village or a town in the imagination. Our conception required a huge set. I think Ram Madhvani has exceeded himself."

2006 agencyfaqs!