Anchor Electricals rings the controversy doorbell on Havells

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | September 19, 2007
According to Anchor Electricals and its agency, Art Advertising, Havells has, in a recent ad, used an idea similar to one used by Anchor a few years ago


one's quite a 'shocker'. Anchor Electricals, makers of electrical accessories and appliances, has accused rival Havells India of copying its commercial.

Havells recently launched a commercial for its MCBs and switches based on the 'shock-proof' quality of its product range. The ad featured a day in the life of a school kid, who, quite peculiarly, has his hair standing on end, a fact that interrupts every aspect of his life. Fed up, the teacher decides to confront his parents at their home. On ringing the doorbell, she receives an electric shock and, as her own mane stands up, she sees the boy's family on the other side of the door with similar hair problems. The voiceover explains the benefit of using shock-proof Havells switches.

One of the Anchor ads
from yesteryears
The ad enjoyed visibility during the recent Natwest Series, but now, executives at Anchor Electricals say the idea of hair standing on end as a result of a shock from a doorbell was used by them in 2000. The ad, created by Art Advertising, showed a young boy getting out of his car with flowers in his hand, obviously heading over to his girlfriend's house for a date. Seeing him arrive, the girl rushes from her window to the front door in anticipation. As the guy rings the doorbell, he receives a shock and his hair stands up comically. The voiceover goes on to talk of shock-proof electrical accessories from Anchor, while the tagline goes, 'Taaki Jhatka Na Lage'.

Says Mehul Shah, director, Anchor Electricals, "We have sent a letter to Havells India, asking the company to withdraw its commercial. We have explained our point of view, and are hoping for a positive response." However, Vijay Narayan, vice-president, marketing and communications, Havells India, claims not to have received any communication from Anchor.

The Havells ad
"Shock-proof as a quality is generic to the category. No one can own a premise like that," he says, and adds that the build-up in the Havells TVC starts right at the beginning, when the kid is shown with his hair standing up from the word 'go'. Anchor, on the other hand, he says, depicted the punch in the end.

Adds Brijesh Jacob, ex-creative director at Lowe (who worked on the Havells account when at Lowe, but is now at Grey Worldwide), "Be it cinema or Tom & Jerry cartoons, getting an electric shock automatically implies hair springing up. It's like showing a bulb pop up in a blurb when one gets a bright idea."

According to Zubin Contractor, account director, Art Advertising & Marketing (India), there's foul play involved. "Since the release of the film in 2000, we have done various print, outdoor and television ads on the same premise and it's too much of a coincidence that the doorbell and hair raising sequence has been replicated by Havells," he says.

Anchor had even developed a cricket innovation wherein every time an Indian player got out in a match, a pop-up scroll would appear, stating, 'Anchor - One shock even we couldn't prevent'. "In the ICC World Twenty20 series cricket matches on ESPN, we couldn't help but notice similar things being done by Havells," adds Contractor. He is also firm on taking 'appropriate action' against Havells or Lowe, should they choose to ignore Anchor's plea.

Mohit Beotra, executive vice-president, Lowe Delhi, is unperturbed by this unexpected 'shock'. "I don't see how one can deem our ad as having been done before. I am yet to see an ad that has even remotely the same storyline as the one we did for Havells," he muses.

© 2007 agencyfaqs!