afaqs!

A juicy tale, naturally speaking

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | October 15, 2009
The launch commercial for Parle Agro's Saint Juice makes use of elaborate execution to show the natural formation of the juice

To announce the national rollout of Parlé Agro's Saint Juice, agency Creativeland Asia has created a commercial that takes to animation to drive home its point. The product, which had a soft launch in a few markets earlier, is now undergoing a national rollout; the launch commercial was unleashed last week.

Nadia Chauhan, joint managing director and chief marketing officer, Parlé Agro, says, "The brand Saint stands for honesty and premium quality. We have always emphasised on the purity of Saint Juice - which has no unnatural additives. When one thinks of fruit orchards, one thinks of fresh fruits in their most natural form, and hence, that was the creative route taken."

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Parle Agro has chalked out media spends of Rs 10 crore for Saint Juice for the financial year 2009-10. The media vehicles to be used include television, print, outdoor, digital and in-store activities.

The communication thought, 'Juice the way God meant it to be', stems quite literally from the brand name itself. "We deliberately chose the name 'Saint' which doesn't say anything directly about the juice, but represents the pristine, the pure and the clean," says Raj Kurup, chairperson and chief creative officer, Creativeland Asia. The packaging, too, is whitish to match. The starting point was to get Saint Juice noticed as the purest natural juice around. "That is when we chanced upon the idea of showing the Saint Juice packs growing on trees and plants, much akin to flowers and fruits," Kurup explains.

Juicy details

The film opens on a serene orchard where nature comes to life as dawn breaks - birds chirp, dew drops form and little critters soak in the sun. Amidst this, one witnesses the 'birth' of Saint Juice Orange, Saint Juice Grape and Saint Juice Mixed Fruit packs. The pack shots grow out of vines and plants, forming shapes, textures and colours much akin to the way flowers bloom. Finally, they turn into fully 'grown' packs hanging from plants and vines. The Saint logo appears with a super: 'Juice the way God meant it to be'.

The film has been directed by Prakash Varma of Nirvana Films, while the visual effects have been given by The Mill, London (of 'Gladiator' and 'Cadbury Gorilla' fame). As the film is about time lapse and how things form naturally, the team had to recreate nature's evolution - which was a complex process, reveals Varma. The film is a mix of live shooting and animation. The team studied hours of footage of National Geographic documentaries on how fruits and flowers are born, how they grow and how they ripen/bloom.

The team then captured this process 'live' by placing cameras in orchards in Bangkok, Thailand, over a week. This footage was then 'fast-forwarded' or sped up for use in the actual film.

The end portion of the film, which shows how the packs are gradually formed, was clearly animated. The Mill took care of the texture, pigmentation and growth patterns of the 'packs' - for instance, while a paler colour was used to show the initial stage of the pack's birth, darker hues were used to show the advanced stages, just as nature pours in the colours and textures during the growth stages of a flower/fruit. Ben Stallard, executive producer, The Mill admits to the process being a "creative challenge".

Care was taken to make the animation look as real and natural as possible, to integrate the 'packs' well into the natural setting so that the viewer cannot make out where reality ends and VFX takes over. "Lots of patience, time and planning was required for this tedious process," Varma says, adding, "We took care to take as many natural shots as we could, animating only the impossible stuff."

The shoot required a month of pre-production planning and four months of post production. The music track, created by Rupert Fernandes, makes use of the piano predominantly - Varma briefed him with a reference track to get the right feel. The sound design artist, Darshan Vijaygopal, had to ensure that the myriad nature sounds mixed in well with the piano track.

Natural reactions

The film gets full marks for execution from the ad fraternity. Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, chief creative officer, Rediffusion Y&R, tells afaqs!, "I loved the film - it's a simple idea, beautifully crafted. It has a nice story with a suitable track and the animation looks rather real."

On the craft aspect, the experts offer their take. Shantanu Bagchi, ad filmmaker, Illusion Films, says, "It is a nicely done film but the idea of 'life like pictures' on television has been done several times before." To him, the execution has the requisite amount of build up and looks realistic as though the packs are blooming in an organic way.

"It is particularly difficult to make computer graphics look so natural/organic. While it is a pretty well executed film involving difficult animation, I think the effect is lost somewhat because it deserved a better creative idea," Bagchi maintains.

Prasoon Pandey, ad filmmaker, Corcoise Films feels the film is beautifully executed and is pleasing to the eye. "But if you ask me personally, it doesn't fit the bracket of films I like," he shrugs. "Pure animation doesn't get me going. Indians are an emotional lot - we like people, faces, relationships. We are not the kind who will have an overwhelming response to films that are too stylish."

In Pandey's experience, he has witnessed that people within the fraternity find such films path breaking, but when the layman is shown ad films, he applauds films like 'The Times of India' series or emotional ones such as the SBI Life Insurance ad. "Very stylish films leave them cold," Pandey opines. "In Saint's case, though it's a fantastic execution for the chosen brand route, personally I think Indians prefer the human route."