Of all things that a moustache could stand for, one would suppose masculinity was obvious. So, when a billboard screams at you -- 'Moonchwali', complete with the sketch of a girl sporting a luxuriant moustache -- you stop and notice.
The culprit here is Pidilite Industries, which celebrates 50 years of its iconic adhesive brand, Fevicol in India. To mark the milestone year, a new television commercial, Moonchwali, has been made by the company's creative partner, Ogilvy India.
Moonchwali tells the story of a village girl over the various stages of her life -- childhood, teenage, marriage, old age and eventually her death. Throughout her life, the protagonist is shown sporting a moustache -- it was stuck to her face when she was a child, while dressing up for a skit. The moustache remains stuck thereafter; as she shocks her teacher in school and the villagers, gets married, bears children, grows old and finally, as she breathes her last.
The message, of course, is that what is stuck with Fevicol remains so for life. In a tongue-in-cheek gesture, the protagonist's rebirth is also suggested, when an infant is shown in the end, sporting the same moustache. The commercial ends with the tagline -- '50 Saal Se Champion'.
The creative heads of the commercial are Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, Ogilvy South Asia and Abhijit Avasthi, national creative director, Ogilvy India. The ad has been directed by Prasoon Pandey of Corcoise Films.
The song used in the TVC is a Kutchi Bhajan, sung by Hemant Brijwasi of Zee TV's Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li'l Champs fame. The music director is Dhruv Ghanekar.
"You cannot take the audience for granted. We have to keep the executions refreshed," he adds.
On the new commercial, he says, "Pidilite treats us as part of the team. They do not brief us anymore. Moonchwali captures the spirit of the 50 years of Fevicol."
Moonchwali was promoted as the world's shortest feature film, lasting 80 seconds only. The media activity to create a buzz about the commercial was similar to that of a movie promotion.
Before the commercial 'premiered' at PVR multiplex in Juhu, Mumbai on Thursday evening last week, Pidilite left no stone unturned to capture the attention of the audience.
Teaser campaigns included promotions at 240 movie theatres and 65 multiplexes across Indian cities. Ads in leading dailies earlier last week told the audience that Moonchwali was "coming soon"; and eventually, that it was "premiering" on Friday evening.
The overall feel of a film release was enhanced by using bus-back panels and putting up hoardings in Juhu among billboards promoting other films.
"We wanted the promotions to be part of the entertainment genre and not the ad genre. We have positioned it as a feature film. It does not have the ad look," a company spokesperson tells afaqs!.
"Moonchwali communicates 50 years of the brand that has become a part of people's lives. It establishes the long and strong relationship of Fevicol with the consumer. It sends out the message that while Fevicol has been with you (consumer) for the past 50 years, it will be with you for 50 more and ahead," he says.
In line with the idea of the commercial being positioned as a movie, it was first aired on Friday evening across TV channels, like any other film.
The commercial will be aired across movie channels and Hindi general entertainment channels. While movie channels will air the complete 80-second version; GECs will run a mix of the complete commercial and a 40-second edited version.
media edge: cia handled the media duties for the campaign.
The Cat's Whiskers
Going by the opinions, the commercial has been well received by industry veterans.
"Fevicol's bonding is very much evident in its relationship with Ogilvy too. I love the film. It is a completely fresh look. The song stays with you. I'm sure they have many more things planned for the 50th year and this may just be the beginning," he says.
Singh makes an inevitable remark as he says, "It is quite natural that the moustache plays the lead role in the film, considering Piyush (Pandey) has been so closely associated with Fevicol".
He thinks the time lapse shown in the commercial fits well with the brand's golden jubilee celebrations.
Santosh Padhi, chief creative officer and chairman, Taproot India too has kind words, "It is always good to stick with a simple proposition. The ad is nice and engaging. Hats off to the director. While I would have expected something more bizarre and vague in the 50th year, but this is definitely well done. Not the best work that I have seen by these guys, but surely nice".
However, both Padhi and Singh fail to understand the positioning of the commercial as a feature film.
"I do not see any connect. The idea of the 'World's Shortest Feature Film' seems unnecessary and confusing," says Padhi.
Singh agrees, "I would have expected some dialogues in a feature film. The song running through makes it an ad film; a slightly longer one though".