Godfrey Phillips: Be brave and thou will earn respect

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | January 06, 2010
Godfrey Phillips (India) has released its latest campaign for the Bravery Awards, which is also a call for entries for 2010

Going out of your way, putting yourself in danger and helping someone is not an easy thing to do. It requires strength, grit and courage; emotions that suddenly become difficult to find in the time of need. Godfrey Phillips, for close to two decades, has been honouring the brave, who have overcome fear and, without thinking of their own safety, have given help and even saved lives.

Godfrey Phillips Bravery, as the awards are called, is the social corporate responsibility of the company. Godfrey Phillips India (GPI), the flagship company of the KK Modi Group, deals in tea, tobacco, industrial chemicals, confectionery, retail and cosmetics.

Each year, the task is to encourage people to help those who are in need. This help doesn't only mean physical bravery. The awards recognise bravery in four categories - Physical Bravery Award, Social Bravery Award, Mind of Steel Award and Social Lifetime Achievement Award.

The awards for the year 2009 were held in September. The campaign for next year's awards has been released, which presently comprises two television commercials.

The campaign has been created by GPI's creative agency, M&C Saatchi. The first ad, called Amma, opens on the wrinkled face of Amma, who's looking out of her kitchen window at the street outside. Everyone on the street is also looking in the direction of the sound of soldiers marching. The soldiers come to a halt right in front of Amma's kitchen and salute her in Army style. The reason being that in a particular court case, Amma was the only one to go ahead and testify from the region, despite being threatened to not do so.

The second ad (Train) starts on a railway platform, where a man is running to catch a local train. However, he misses the train by seconds. The man halts, catches his breath and is looking for when the next train will arrive. Suddenly, the train that has just left the platform stops and reverses back into the station, so that this man can get in. You wonder why. It's because the man, all by himself, took on a bunch of goons who were harassing a girl in the local train.

The ads end with a call to action, and the thought that when you're brave, you earn the respect of those around you. The tagline says, 'Brave bano, izzat free mein milegi'.

The team at M&C Saatchi includes Amardeep Singh and Naren Kaimal, both executive creative directors, and Rupin Jayal who is the planning head.

"Getting people to come out of their safety zone and make a stand was the idea," says Singh. The inspiration to the tagline comes from a line he'd once seen written behind a truck, 'Prem se bolo, aur izzat free mein pao' (Speak with kindness and you will earn respect).

However, when afaqs! spoke to other creative persons from the industry, they felt the use of the word 'free' downsized the value or strength that the ad could evoke.

Amitabh Chatterjee, creative head at Saints & Warriors says, "It was a tad too flippant." He feels that the execution of the Train film bordered on being a bit filmy, and would have possibly worked better for the Swine Flu campaign.

Singh explains that the creative idea is that when one is brave and makes a stand, the unexpected reward is the respect gained in the eyes of those around. The people cast in the films are ordinary looking, and due to their act of bravery, they have earned high regard and respect.

The incidents that have been chosen as the theme for the TVCs are fictional, but are those that occur in society. The films have been shot by Shivendra Dungarpur of Dungarpur Films.

Vipin Dhyani, founder and creative director, Thoughtshop is impressed with the films. Of the Train film he says, "The curiosity and the revelation is very interesting." He is also appreciative of the setup, casting and camerawork.

Juju Basu, creative director with Saatchi & Saatchi feels that with the thought of bravery, the ads could have struck a deeper chord.

Print ads and a call for entries will be announced. Other aspects of the media mix are still work under progress.

© 2010 afaqs!