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Halls: In need of a bear hug?

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | August 14, 2009
A new 'Thandi Saans ka Blast' scenario; this time, Halls has also thrown in a bear hug a 'polar bear' hug

After the 'head out of airplane window' TV commercial, the latest Halls ad brings the fauna from the Arctic to a crowded railway station in India. The new TVC for the mint candy from Cadbury India, based on the same premise of 'Thandi Saans ka Blast', takes the proposition a step forward on exaggeration.

The mint candy market in India is governed by a few players such as ITC Foods' Mint-o Fresh; Godfrey Phillips' Funda Mint and Perfetti's Chlormint. In 2003, Cadbury India acquired the Halls brand from Pfizer & Warner Lambert. The mint candy was re-launched in 2008 with the creative thought of 'Thandi Saans ka Blast', a campaign created by Contract Advertising.

Cool-off

& #BANNER1 & #

The first ad featured actor Vinay Pathak, who enacts a pesky aircraft passenger. Pathak incessantly asks his co-passenger about how cool Halls feels. After repeated answers, the irritated co-passenger grabs Pathak and sticks his head out of the aircraft window to show him just how cool it feels to have a Halls candy!

The recent TVC pushes forward the same idea. Shot by Ram Madhwani of Equinox Films, the scene opens on a crowded railway station and zooms in on a bespectacled man. Feeling a slight itch in his throat, he pops a Halls candy into his mouth. The moment he pops the candy, a snow ball hits his face. Searching for the source of the snow ball, the man discovers a polar bear approaching him with another snow ball. Soon, the man and the polar bear start a boogie dance on the busy platform.

Bharath Sastry, associate vice-president, marketing, Cadbury India elaborates on the brief given to the agency, saying, "Since Halls is very cooling as a candy, the plan was to push forward the idea from the first campaign."

Freezing point

Wanting to stick with the 'anything goes' platform, Contract looked for other instances where one could use a gust of cool air.

The insight was that there are moments in the day when one feels sluggish. Halls could be the refresher, with menthol and eucalyptus in its ingredients, to get rid of the sluggishness. "The creative idea was to bring this 'refreshment' to the fore, demonstrating the intense cooling effect of Halls using bizarre and unexpected situations," says Raj Nair, senior vice-president and executive creative director, Contract Advertising.

The mint candy is aimed at individuals with busy lifestyles and the young college goers.

'Bear'able?

afaqs! asked a few people from the ad world if the ad interested them or they were left feeling cold.

Rahul Jauhari, national creative head, Pickle Advertising feels the ad is clutter breaking in terms of its execution and in line with the earlier campaign. However, he adds, "I found the sweat wiping, followed by throat clearing in the beginning a tad 'hard working' to cue in the problem." All said, Jauhari found the ad entertaining and funny.

On the other hand, Titus Upputuru, executive creative director, Dentsu Marcom says that odd things such as a polar bear and a railway station don't necessarily make for a great idea. Upputuru feels that exaggeration is an old game and doesn't do much for the ad.

Defending the exaggeration, Sastry says, "So long as you don't move away from the core thought of a product, exaggeration is fine and isn't as risky. It's when the core thought of the brand is forgotten in a bid to exaggerate that it won't work."

Among other activities, city specific outdoor has been planned. On the retail level, Halls has launched a new variant, Lime Menthol, as well as a unique shareable Pocket Pack which further aims to strengthen the brand franchise. There will be an ad to announce the new flavour, much on the lines of the current ad, with slight changes.