Havells does an item number

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | May 29, 2008
Electrical products brand Havells has launched a new ad for its energy saving fans, which could double as an item number in a Hindi film

The popularity & #BANNER1 & # of item numbers seems to be extending from films to advertising. We're talking about the latest Havells ad, which could be easily mistaken for an item number from Bollywood.

The ad for Havells ES-50 fans shows an energetic dancer called Bijli, who is shimmying away to the beats of a song, surrounded by a large group of people. Suddenly, Bijli drops down on the floor in fatigue. The music slows down, too. All the people around her are worried and some from the crowd yell, "Koi Bijli ko bachao!" A bouncer is seen telling someone, "On karo." A hand flips a switch on - the fan begins whirring and Bijli is re-energised by the breeze. She smiles, gets up and the tempo of the music speeds up. The background score is of a number of men yelling, "O Bijli bach gayi!" Once again, Bijli begins gyrating to the music. A male voiceover says, "Bijli ko bachata hai. Havells energy saving fans." The ad ends with the product shot, a super that reads '33% Power Saving Guaranteed' and the Havells logo.

A shot from the TVC
The brand's agency, Lowe Delhi, worked on the ad, which was produced by Red Ice Films and directed by Gauri Shinde. The thumping music was created by composer Sameeruddin, who has created music for films such as Bluffmaster and Yahaan.

The ad puns on the dancer's name, Bijli, which also means electricity, to convey the message that the fan saves electricity. But the connect seems too literal. Paragon had tried a similar ad with Paragon Lagoo. Vipin Dhyani, creative director, Everest Brand Solutions, says, "At times, this type of communication works, especially when one is talking to SEC B and C."

Plenty of people seem to be quite impressed with the ad, though.

Sumanto Chattopadhyay
As Sumanto Chattopadhyay, executive creative director, South Asia, O&M, says, "'Save electricity' is a boring message, but the ad makes it interesting. The fact that we are talking about it shows that the ad is over the top and grabs your attention."

The rationale that Lowe provides for the idea behind the ad is that it wanted to communicate this offering from Havells - energy saving fans - in an entertaining manner; since other players in this category usually talk of numbers and features, this would be a clutter breaker.

"It has an 'I want to do something different' attitude. So we came up with an idea that carried the youthful spirit of the company," says Uday Shankar Rao, creative director, Lowe Delhi.

About the look and feel of the ad, Rao says, "We had a wonderful director of photography, Amit Roy of Sarkar fame, which is why the ad looks straight out of a Bollywood film." Lowe has been handling Havells for the past year; the brand was earlier handled by Oxygen Communications.

But not everyone seems to be satisfied with the execution of the ad. As Denzil Machado, creative director, McCann-Erickson, says, "The ad uses a pun and I think it was done nicely, but I think the execution could've been better - it could have been more kitsch."

Comparing the ad with the one for Happydent, he says, "The idea is simple, just like the Happydent ad, but there the execution was so great, you forgot how simple the idea was."

Brijesh Jacob
Brijesh Jacob, executive creative director, Grey Worldwide, agrees with Machado. "I think the ad got caught between the dichotomy of showing a dance bar or not showing it at all. They could've shown an Omkara-Bipasha Basu-like scene or an upper class Chandni Bar kind of scene, but the shots even had children!"

Jacob says he was impressed with the earlier Havells ad, but he feels this one lacks the wow factor. "I think the reason people remember it is because it played over and over again during the IPL matches," he says.

However, the client seems quite satisfied with the performance of the ad. Vijay Narayan, vice-president, marketing and communication, Havells India, shares that the ES-50 energy saving fan is a three year old product and has been advertised every year. But it has gained the maximum exposure through the Bijli ad.

Narayan is happy with the way the ad has turned out and says it has been "tastefully done".

"People have been expecting good ads from Havells now, after Shock Laga for the shock proof switches, Ujjawal Ati Ujjawal for the CFL bulbs, and others. The clutter breaking Bijli ad was launched in line with that freshness," says Narayan.

Havells' next campaign, which will go on air in a month's time, is a corporate one, again done by Lowe. The company's target group is 25 + men and women.

Havells' turnover last year was about Rs 1,600 crore, and about 16 per cent of this came from fans.