Be sure it's pure: Philips' water purifier

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | July 17, 2008
Pure water or no water at all - Philips' water purifier makes a promise that no other purifier can boast of as of now

Philips' water & #BANNER1 & # purifier has a very simple promise: It either gives 100 per cent pure water or no water at all.

The TV commercial opens on the shot of a family on vacation in a desert, clicking pictures. They come across a man among the sand dunes, dying of thirst. The family rushes to him with a bottle of water. Instead of drinking the lifesaving water, the dying man asks whether the water is 100 per cent pure, purified by a Philips water purifier enhanced with Pure Protect Lock and similar trivial questions. The astonished family insists that he drink the water, and he tells them, 'Dekho bhai, chance nahin lena chahiye, beemariyan fael rahi hai' ('Can't take a chance, brother, too many diseases around').

The campaign has been done by Mudra. The brief was to highlight the purifier's Pure Protect Lock technology. The technology warns the user when it is time to change the filter and will not let water flow until the filter has been replaced. The purifier thus gives the guarantee of absolutely pure water.

Vivek Sharma, chief marketing officer, Indian subcontinent, Philips India, says, "Consumer observations reveal that they are not totally sure if the alternate filtration techniques are good enough. Hence, as a brand, we need to provide complete assurance that the water is 100 per cent safe."

Vivek Sharma

Bobby Pawar

Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar

Santosh Padhi

Brijesh Jacob
The insight stems from the thought that once one has experienced the best, one will not compromise. Also, people are more conscious today about their health and hygiene. Bobby Pawar, chief creative officer, Mudra Group, says, "That's why, even when he's dying, the man will have water only from a Philips water purifier."

Pawar adds, "People can get stuck on something and be stubborn about it. That's what we've tried to say in the commercial. Humour is not generally observed in this category and we wanted to bring in some of that."

Pawar claims that it would not be creatively relevant to "show happy families", as in the ads of other water purifiers. They needed to make a point effectively.

The film was shot in Jaisalmer by Pushpendra Mishra of Flying Saucers. The shoot had to be cancelled on the very first day because of rain. Mishra was about to return to Mumbai and shoot the entire ad in a studio, but the weather cleared and the shoot was resumed. Mishra used a two-camera setup to capture more expressions in a single shot. This setup saved time, especially considering the blistering heat of Jaisalmer.

afaqs! spoke to some creative directors to get their opinion on the ad.

Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, chief creative officer, Rediffusion DY&R, found the script interesting, but felt the execution was a little over the top. "The script is funny by itself, yet the actors make a desperate attempt at being funny," he says. He adds that the TVC will be memorable for its dialogue.

Santosh Padhi, executive creative director, Leo Burnett, says the ad moves away from Philips' earlier communication. "The earlier ads were bang-on on the proposition and had a very classy and international approach. This ad seems very garish," he says. He is not very convinced about the sudden Indian tone taken by the ad and points out that it does not fit in with what Philips has been doing so far.

Sharma says the TVC was deliberately made locally relevant, unlike Philips' earlier globally significant campaigns.

Brijesh Jacob, executive creative director, Grey India, is partly impressed with the basic idea. He says, "It starts off on a great premise. But as the ad progresses, the excitement dies. The parched guy just doesn't seem to be dying. He's got enough energy to specify all the features of the purifier!" He feels the ad was too formula driven and a slightly different treatment could've saved it.

Apart from television, the campaign includes other media vehicles such as print and retail activation. The retail activation has been carried out in malls and multiplexes with live demos.