Livon: Live life doll size

By Khushboo Tanna , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : May 20, 2009
Livon, the hair care brand from Paras Pharmaceuticals, has released a campaign which is a display of beautiful hair through the execution route of dolls

So now you know how the dolls in the closet of your five year old daughter have such unbelievably smooth hair. Two new commercials by Livon, the hair care brand from Paras Pharmaceuticals, make use of dolls to tell its 'beautiful, manageable hair' story.

The commercials show various dolls placed in real life situations and while each of them sports a different hair do, what ties them together is the common 'thread' (pun notwithstanding) of luscious hair. The two ads in the series have these dolls in different setups such as a cafe, a hilltop or a presentation in an office, while a jingle, sung in a jazzy style, talks of breezy things like making your dreams come true and letting your hair run free. "I love my hair" goes the punch line.

The music was by Dhruv Ghanekar (of Dhruv and Ashu fame, who has also worked on feature films such as Drona). The music has a Broadway feel to it to enhance the reflective mood of the film.

Dolling up

The dolls that have been used for the commercial have been created especially for Livon and have been christened as the Livon Dolls. Razneesh Ghai (known as Razy) of White Light Films, who has directed this ad, reveals the thought process behind the creation of the dolls. For instance, the heads of the dolls are a little larger than a normal human body to attract more attention.

Since actual dolls were used, dialogues were excluded and hence, the eyes had to tell the story of the dolls and their hairs. As a result, the dolls have really big eyes. Human hair was used for the outdoor sequences as the hair had to look bouncy and natural, while synthetic hair was used for the indoor sequences.

Setting up the stage

There were eight different miniature sets built to showcase these dolls in different situations. These sets, which took close to two months to construct, were of varying sizes, ranging from 6ftx6ft to 25ftx50ft. The film was shot in a warehouse in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and the filming had to be restricted to the nights as the weather was very hot during the day. There was a fear of the wigs getting damaged due to the heat.

Ghai says, "To avoid the film looking very static, we decided to subtly include elements of movement in each situation." These included water filling a bathtub, smoke rising from a coffee cup and streaks of light from passing traffic.

Going over it with a fine comb

Why dolls, one would say? Sanjay Menon, executive creative director, Mudra Ahmedabad, explains that dolls were used instead of humans because the team believes that from a woman's perspective, a doll is an epitome of beauty. "Right from childhood, a doll is an integral part of a woman's life. A woman wants to grow up and be like one as well," he shrugs.

Bobby Pawar, chief creative officer, Mudra Group, adds that girls want to grow up as pretty as dolls and hence the use of dolls was an idea waiting to happen. He also says that the dolls are placed in real life situations which will strike a chord with consumers.

One would also notice Livon's subtle shift from the manageability positioning to an overall beautiful hair one. This is quite obviously because the brand is expanding its portfolio from a hair potion to serums and conditioners. Shampoos could be next. Jignesh Shah, general manager, marketing, Paras Pharmaceuticals, says that the brand's moving on from hair manageability to beautiful hair gives it a wider platform.

Shah elaborates, "A doll as a concept will work well with women across ages as it evokes all sorts of memories - even for grownups."

Besides television, other media such as print, BTL, digital and outdoor will also be used. The target group is women aged between 18-35 years.

How's the hairdo?

To ascertain whether Livon's latest attempt has the silky smooth 'bounce', afaqs! spoke to several members of the ad fraternity, who had a mixed bag of opinions to share. Vivek Dutta, business director and national planning head, Hakuhodo Percept, says that the element of the dolls with free flowing hair is interesting, but lifeless.

"I think the commercial focuses on the product functionality at the cost of emotional connect," he says. "I mean - if people use a hair serum to look beautiful or feel the joy associated with it, then I doubt whether lifeless dolls with deadpan expressions would do that."

Bapi Bit, senior creative director, Publicis Ambience, says that if just stylish executions could create brands, then this ad would be fine - its execution is different, but the commercial's product story is weak. "Actually, there is no story and I am not very sure if it will appeal to the desired target audience as the product benefit is not clear," he says. However, he gives credit to the filmmaker as "he has done a good job with its production."

The execution experts also offer their takes. According to filmmaker Prasoon Pandey of Corcoise Films, hair commercials by and large have generic ideas and messages in any case. "If there is no idea, then the ad should be executed in a different way," he says, "and this ad manages to do that and is therefore, different from category work."

Prakash Verma of Nirvana Films is quite impressed with the level of detailing and the overall look of the film. Like Pandey, he also feels that this ad qualifies as a clutter breaker.

First Published : May 20, 2009

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