Nirma for cleaner movie screens

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | September 01, 2009
The latest commercial for the washing bar strays from the usual product demo and opts for a different take on whiteness

TapRoot India has released the next television commercial for Nirma - this one is for Super Nirma. The detergent brand recently launched a brand campaign much different from its earlier brand campaigns for Nirma.

The ad was shot underwater, with ballet dancers moving about in colourful flowing clothes, drawing a parallel with clothes being washed in a bucket.

& #BANNER1 & #Unlike the earlier ads for the washing soap (Super Nirma) which revolved around a mother and child, this one is set in a village and isn't a demonstrative one either.

Curtain raiser

The ad is aimed at rural India and is hence set in the region. It opens on a shot where the villagers have gathered to watch the weekly movie on a projector and screen. The screen is a regular white saree that has been hung on a clothesline for drying. However, to their disdain, the movie isn't clear. The villagers blame the man who's handling the projector for the picture quality, while some blame it on the unclear and dirty screen.

A little girl, who is with her grandparents and is waiting for the movie to begin, sees a cleaner saree on the clothesline and shifts the projector to face that saree. All of a sudden, the picture is clearer due to the whiter surface it's projected on.

The film has been shot by Gajraj Rao of Code Red Films, while the director of photography (DoP) is Arvind Kannabiran (who was DoP for the film Manorama 6 feet under). Subrat Ray produced the film. The creative agency, when briefing the production house, highlighted that the film should be simplistic, engaging and real, says Rao.

After carrying out extensive auditions in various cities of the country for unused yet good theatre actors, the shoot was carried out in a village near Jaipur over a period of two days.

Kannabiran, who has shot extensively in Jaipur for Manorama 6 feet under, was familiar with the terrain and hence worked accordingly with the lights.

Scene, rolling, action

The last piece of communication from Super Nirma washing bar happened about four years ago, where a mother and her child were part of the communication and a demo was the creative route taken to illustrate whiteness.

While the proposition of whiteness stays, the brand had asked its agency to steer clear of the demonstrative route. TapRoot India presented the client with two-three ideas, each tackling a different problem, of which this particular one was chosen. Nirma is known to not research its communication before release and the same has been done for this film as well.

Santosh Padhi, co-founder and national creative director, TapRoot India, says, "We've worked on a clean slate, with not much to fall back on." Also, Nirma is not in favour of using animation to show the vanishing of the stain, which is why the need for the film to be simple was great.

In order of appearance

Manan Soni, director, Purnima Advertising, the agency that has created the earlier commercials for Nirma and also handles the media duties, speaking to afaqs!, says that the previous campaigns worked very well for the brand and generated a good degree of sales and brand awareness.

There was no particular reason why the communication for Super Nirma was carried out just now, though the packaging has changed and the brand wants to revive the other brands under the Nirma umbrella along with this one.

Nirma has mainly used television, radio and outdoor as part of its media mix. About 3,500 theatres are also included in the media mix. Outdoor is mainly used in the North and West regions of the country. The brand hasn't used new media such as digital yet, though Soni hints that there could be a possibility in the future.

Is it a clear picture?

Rohit Malkani, executive creative director, Grey Worldwide says that though the execution is clean, he is left with a cold feeling about the ad. "It's probably the people, who look like they've strictly been asked to sit there and smile," he says. On a brighter note, Malkani says, "The moment the little girl moves the projector to the crisp white sheet, it's a lovely Cinema Paradiso moment."

Brijesh Jacob of White Canvas is pleased with the current ad. The previous ones, he thinks, weren't as memorable. "This, however, not only underlines the product benefit but also has an involving storyline to keep you interested and makes for great re-watch," says Jacob.

The simple and refreshing take on the category is what appeals to Jacob. The one thing that he finds a bit annoying is the scene where the little girl acts a tad too mature.