afaqs!

Boroplus: A man's take on beautiful skin

By Antara Ghosal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | January 07, 2010
A commercial for Boroplus body lotion gives the communication a twist, so as to break the monotony of regular winter cold cream/moisturizer advertising

No celebrity presence, no pretty face testimonials, no 'bad' skin becoming 'good' -- the latest TVC for Boroplus body lotion is all about celebration of good skin, and the tale is narrated by a group of boys.

Most players in the beauty or skincare segment use a woman's point of view, with scripts of how she ensnares men with her supple skin, inciting the 'wow' factor in the opposite sex. Boroplus has attempted to flip this point of view, focusing on what men feel when they see a beautiful woman.

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The TVC opens with the VO saying, 'In sardiyon main unhen banao bawra'. The next shot shows some men trying to describe to the camera how the transformed skin of the women in their lives makes them feel. They are so enamoured by the satin soft skin of these ladies, that they cannot find the words to describe their emotions. Thereby, they resort to different metaphors in their mind, such as falling petals, flying butterflies and milk cream dripping on strawberries, to express their feelings. The commercial ends with a product shot and the VO, 'unhen bana de bawra'.

The commercial didn't involve a creative agency, but was devised in-house by Emami, makers of Boroplus, in collaboration with production house, White Light Moving Picture Company.

Metaphorically speaking

While talking about the creative idea, director, Subir Chatterjee says, "We have given a tactile feel to the film, and accordingly, have used several metaphors to evoke sensation in a stronger way." He explains that here, the skin of the lady is beyond 'soft', 'supple' or 'smooth'; it's in the mouth, almost to be eaten. "She is yum, honey-like, superb. The idea is to incite not just the sensation of smoothness, but a thousand other feelings in the mind of the viewers."

The creative brief was to communicate a fresh idea, without changing the tonality and feel of the previous campaigns. The latest commercial is a visual extension of the previous campaign featuring Kareena Kapoor. It has the same white background, aesthetic ambience, soothing tone and a sense of purity and gentleness. "However, the male protagonists in the new commercial just take it forward," says Harsha V Agarwal, director, Emami.

Certain clichés have been purposely avoided to break the monotony of promoting a skincare product. Emami kept away from general testimonial ads and concepts such as heads turning when the girl walks down the street. The commercial doesn't include any 'before and after effect' either; neither does it propagate that beautiful skin could help someone achieve more in life.

"Instead, we have put forward a simple idea of guys, who know these beautiful ladies, talking about them. After all, it's appreciation from the opposite sex that women look forward to," says Namita Roy Ghose, director, White Light Moving Pictures Company. "Also, our approach has been indirect, less expressive, yet appealing," she adds.

Although Boroplus has some high-profile brand ambassadors, such as Amitabh Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor, the latest commercial doesn't feature any of them. Explaining the rationale, Chatterjee says, "A celebrity would not have done justice to this kind of script. Had we put Kareena at the end of the film, for instance, it would have appeared that all these guys were talking about her skin and her beauty. We wanted to talk about girls next door or regular women, whom we come across everyday."

It took three days to shoot the film. Utmost care had to be taken to capture the reactions of the men without making them sound vulgar or offensive.

Also, a lot of post-production editing was required to give it finesse. Efforts were made to add a sensuous and tactile feel to the product shots as well. "The trickiest part was to edit the film in a way that whatever the guys were saying kicks and triggers the visual. We wanted to strike a balance between what is being said, the number of guys shown, the kind of visuals used, the connecting shots, and not to mention, the product shots," adds Ghose.

For both Ghose and Chatterjee, it was fun shooting the film and making the men open up and talk about a product, which is essentially designed for women. "The best part was to make one of the guys, who is a German model, to pronounce the word 'ehsaas'," laughs Chatterjee.

Truly different?

The ad fraternity acknowledges that the TVC has a new concept and a refreshing look and feel, but believes that its potential could have been exploited further.

"I think the intent here is to be clutter-breaking through the depiction of men instead of women, as in the typical personal care/beauty commercial," says Vikram Dhaliwal, senior planning director, Bates 141 New Delhi. However, it stops there." To Dhaliwal, the ad doesn't even acknowledge the changing relationship of women and beauty -- from being a ritualised, fetish-ised way of attracting male attention, to something that they do to feel good about themselves.

Saji Abraham, vice-president, planning, Lowe Mumbai, has another concern. He feels the storyline is linear. "It could have been better if some surprises were in store. What if the men were fathers and were describing their baby daughters? Then it serves the functional purposes of protecting baby skin -- which is sensitive and needs more care -- and it leaves you with a twist, and therefore, a smile in the end," he suggests.

For Swati Bhattacharya, executive creative director, JWT New Delhi, "It's a nice effort, but nothing to drool over." However, she gives points to the product shots.