Ambuja Cement: Wall-to-wall advertising

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | January 09, 2008
In an ad for Ambuja Cement, Grey Worldwide has ensured that the strength of the cement rides on the strength of emotion

There's & #BANNER1 & # something about walls and advertising. It's ironic, really. On the one hand, you have telecom brand Airtel talking of breaking down walls ('Deewarein Gir Jaati Hain'), while on the other, you have Ambuja Cement talking of unbreakable walls ('Yeh Deewaar Nahin Tootegi'). Obviously, the context is vastly different in the two cases, but one can't help but notice the strikingly opposite thoughts, executed along similar lines.

The demolition talks
in progress

Boy, interrupted

Bulldozer fails

The stumped builder

Rejoicing children

'Ambuja Cement. Yeh
Deewaar nahin tootegi'
A new television commercial (TVC) for Ambuja Cement, created by Grey Worldwide, revolves around the story of a wall that doesn't break, seasoned with an emotional (almost humanitarian) twist.

The TVC opens on a shot of the caretaker of an orphanage introducing the children to a Mr Choksi. She tells them that Choksi is going to build a hotel on the site of the orphanage. At this point, a little boy says to Choksi, "Sir, par last time...," but he is shushed by an older boy. The following morning, the heartless Choksi arrives with bulldozer in tow. At his signal, the bulldozer delivers a powerful blow on the building, but is unable to bring it down. The little boy tries to explain again, but is stopped midway again by the elder one.

Choksi tries his best, but is not able to demolish the orphanage. As he wonders about the strength of the building, the little boy says, "Arre sir, last time bhi yeh deewar nahin tooti thi (Sir, even last time, this wall could not be broken down)." As a disappointed Choksi leaves with his men, the children and their caretaker start dancing in joy, and the voiceover concludes, "Ambuja Cement. Yeh Deewaar Nahin Tootegi." (Submit your opinion on this ad.)

For the longest time ever, Ambuja has been harping on its 'giant compressive strength' proposition; the brand even created the visual of a 'giant' and then a broken hammer. Perhaps its most memorable ad was the one involving two estranged brothers trying to break down the wall that runs between their houses (Bhai Bhai, featuring Boman Irani, which was released six years ago). After that humorous attempt, came some ads which presented the brand in a sentimental vein (the Dadi ad), a move that Vivek Deshpande, Ambuja Cement's vice-president for brand and promotions, agrees was rather disastrous, so much so that the Bhai Bhai ad was recalled. "Our new ad is a correction of this," he says, adding that the brand will now strike a balance between emotion and humour.

The new film clearly explores a situation where a wall should not break for the right reasons. Priti Nair, national creative director, Grey Worldwide, says that the strength of the wall was juxtaposed with the strength of character of the orphanage caretaker and the children. "Cement is a low involving category," says Nair. So, the children element and the often used Bollywood type plot (victory of good over evil) were added to make the ad more entertaining.

Nair and her team wanted to stay away from the stereotypical 'milavat (adulteration)' type ads for cement, or even those involving big buildings and pride of ownership. "We wanted to show the victory of the underdogs," she explains.

The ad has been directed by Abhinay Deo of Ramesh Deo Productions, who says that the film had to strike a perfect pathos-humour balance. Interestingly, the initial idea was to show that the kids are also surprised when the wall doesn't crack. "But we ruled that out," Deo says, because the innocence of a small boy trying desperately to make the big, bad builder understand what his predecessors couldn't do, would add to the fun element. "Another older child warning him to stay quiet in a rather knowing fashion builds the suspense," he grins.