afaqs!

Cinthol deo spray: Hrithik, 'canned'

By Neha Kalra , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | June 10, 2009
From fan-chasing, it's now a step ahead with can-chasing for Hrithik Roshan. afaqs! discovers the chase in a stunt-packed ad for Cinthol

Think 'stunt' and 'Bollywood', and chances are that one would think of Akshay Kumar, with his rugged, life threatening tricks, or Hrithik Roshan, with his panache and ease. In the ad world, while Thums Up has the former whizzing through busy streets, the latter does some adrenaline pumping, this time in a desert for Cinthol, the freshness brand for soaps, talcs and deodorants by Godrej.

Roshan, who was appointed the face for Cinthol in the first quarter of 2008 as part of a re-branding exercise, is seen in another attempt which is currently doing the rounds of television. This time, it's for a product which has been a part of the Cinthol stable for almost five years, but did not attract many dedicated advertising attempts until now - the Cinthol deodorant spray.

It's the creative can

& #BANNER1 & #

Cinthol is well known for its celebrity-led advertising. In the words of V Suresh, vice-president, marketing, Godrej Consumer Products, "It was time to take the proposition of the brand forward, which has been built over the years by the Imran Khans and Vinod Khannas of the world - now is the turn of Hrithik Roshan."

The film opens on a hot, sultry afternoon in a desert. Roshan steps out of his dwelling, a tent, on the Atlantis Dunes at 6:12 am (specifies a super). His day begins with an effusion of Cinthol deo spray all over his body, and later, flinging the can into the sand.

Well, the can has promised to not let go, and follows Roshan wherever he goes. The actor is seen quad biking, sand boarding and jetting around. The 'loyal' can follows - swishing in the air from beneath the sand and getting in Roshan's way. The actor and the can are seen having a face-off, with Roshan buckling the can. The can and Roshan are seen reposing on the sands at sunset. Roshan concedes, "Cinthol. Chhodega nahi (Won't leave you)." Looking down at the can, he tries to run away from it, but in vain.

The commercial talks about the core functional benefit of brand Cinthol. "All our formulations - soaps, talcs and deodorants - are designed to last longer - have a long-lasting fragrance, with deodorant like properties. The commercial brings that alive," says Suresh.

Undertaken by Orchard Advertising, the creative agency on the brand, the creative has been positioned on the fact that the deodorant is long-lasting, effective for about 24 hours, reveals Hemant Kumar, senior creative director, Orchard, Mumbai.

It is designed for and targeted at people who have an active lifestyle, he adds. "Nobody wants to keep spraying a deo after every three hours, or before making an impression, and this product is to take care of this need. How better to say it than use the action hero himself, in a sweaty, messy act?" he adds.

Like many other celeb-brand cases where the celebrity becomes bigger than the brand, Kumar was clear that he did not want that to happen to Cinthol. "Brands need to be visible in the communication, and not simply appear at the end of commercial," he states. The challenge for the agency, Kumar says, was to be careful that Roshan doesn't wipe out the brand.

What's the canning like?

A concoction of live action, in-camera shooting, computer graphics (CG), blue screen (chroma key) and special effects, tossed with a soundtrack which bears an unmistakable likeness to the sound pieces of Mission Impossible and James Bond movies. That's Cinthol deodorant for a first time viewer.

The film has been shot in a small desert, an hour away from Cape Town, South Africa. Considered the hot spot for production, South Africa also proved to be a destination for shooting this film. Ramesh Deo Productions, the production house behind the film, roped in Atomik Pictures, a South African production house, for its services.

The multi-crore film was shot in April over a period of three days. Many of the 'can' sequences were shot in-camera (live) for the photo real effect. After Roshan whirls the can into the sand, the can is shown sub-surfacing into the sand. "That's done through the contraption-rig method, where the can is pulled with a rig," reveals Shujaat Saudagar, director, Ramesh Deo Productions.

Roshan has been shot on chroma and shots of the can have been put together with the background of the desert through compositing. While taking the shot where Roshan and the can have a face-off, a tennis ball was suspended before him to get his eyes on an object, which was replaced with the can later through compositing.

The can-chase to follow Roshan was achieved through CG, and so were the scenes where sand and wind were blowing against the can. In one of the scenes, in which the deo can blasts behind Roshan from beneath the sand, was done through an explosion.

Saudagar was quite impressed with the fact that Roshan managed all the stunts without any wireworks. Being a water surfer, Roshan managed sand-boarding, which is somewhat similar yet much tougher, he says.

The team from Atomik pictures included Paul Gilpin as the director of photography (DOP) and Liz Bullen as the line producer. Anton Moon was the stunt co-ordinator. The music has been put in place by famous composer, Clinton Cerejo. The post production and special effects were undertaken by MFX, Kuala Lumpur.

'Can' or can't?

With Cinthol's first feat-packed advertising attempt at the deodorant category, afaqs! finds out what it looks like in production and creative taste.

Sujay Shetty, director, Whodunit Films, doesn't find the execution too bad, but neither does he feel it is too great. "To me, the film has nothing special that one would remember after you see it once," he shrugs.

Shetty accepts that it's good cinematography, good music and good edit, but "I guess that alone does not ensure a great film." To give the film more character, more life should have been given to the deo-can, he adds. "Except for one shake to rid the sand off, the can itself was pretty lifeless," he says. On the flip side, Shetty found Roshan's last expression apt, while the idea of the deodorant not parting ways with its user is "interesting".

On the creative front, Santosh Padhi aka Paddy, co-founder and chief creative officer, TapRoot India, is of the opinion that the product benefit - that of long lasting fragrance - isn't altogether new, and virtually every brand in the category has strategized on that at some point. Having said that, Paddy appreciates that this commercial doesn't "force it down your throat," as it shows the product interact with its ambassador in an interesting manner.

Getting Roshan on board is also a good move, feels Paddy. As the brand stands for freshness, the combination should work, especially with the youth. "This commercial is much better than its predecessor in terms of production," says Paddy, "and I like this commercial more than the earlier one where Roshan was all over the ad."

Prashant Issar, director, Corcoise Films, likes the way the film is done. "The execution has done justice to the idea," he states. The setting, props, the look and the feel of being hot and humid in the desert is a good tact for a deodorant commercial, he feels.

From an execution point of view, Issar says that the sets and cable work (wiring) are rather slick. "There is a certain amount of cleanliness which is required in graphics, which is there, and which makes the film great to view," he concludes.

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