LMN's 'dry' humour

By Antara Ghosal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 10, 2010
The lemon drink from Parle Agro ropes in an international director from Thailand and the unsung heroes of Kalahari to create magic on TV

As its competitors get homeward bound in their communication, bringing on 'ghar ki yaad' and generating 'asli Indian pyaas', Parle Agro's lemon drink, LMN, takes us all the way to Kalahari in Africa to bring alive the height of thirst and establish the brand as the best thirst quencher. Meanwhile, a dash of soft and subtle humour serves as the icing on the cake.

Conceptualised by Creativeland Asia, the campaign, titled LMN Lost Bushmen, broke in the form of five short 25 seconders. Each of these films shows drought stricken Bushmen searching for water in their natural habitat and going to crazy extremes in their quest for water.

Speaking on the films, Sajan Raj Kurup, chairperson and chief creative officer, Creativeland Asia, says, "The Lost Bushmen series is an edgy take on thirst. It is called Lost Bushmen because being lost in the driest part of the world can be the height of thirst."

Further stressing on the effectiveness of the ads, Kurup states, "These short adverts have a different grammar of humour. They are strikingly bold and edgy - and definitely a departure from the regular humour we are used to. Whether you love them or not - I'm sure no one can ignore them. I'm also sure that they'll break clutter in a big way."

The commercials were shot over five days in a barren part in the interiors of Thailand. The Bushmen were specially flown in for the shoot.

The team at Creativeland Asia which worked on the campaign includes Kurup; Vikram Gaikwad, executive creative director; and Anu Joseph, creative director. Kurup and Joseph have also done the copy, together with R Venkatraman and Vinit Bharucha, while Darpan Banthia was responsible for client servicing.

Another speciality of the campaign is that Creativeland Asia has roped in Thanonchai Sornsriwichai of Phenomena International, one of the world's leading ad film directors known for some of the most iconic and awarded Thai TVCs, to direct the films.

Speaking on working with Sornsriwichai, Kurup says, "Thanonchai and I worked together on the legendary Pantene film. Ever since then, we have been looking for an opportunity to work together again. The LMN scripts were straight up his ally and a marvellous opportunity to do some great work together again."

LMN is happy with the way the ad has turned out and hopes it will stand out, too. "Evidently, LMN stands out boldly in a clutter of the generic TVCs currently being aired in the lemon drinks segment. With new brands entering the segment, we wanted a highly differentiated brand communication. The new ad campaign for LMN has thirst at its core and highlights the brand as the ultimate thirst quencher in the most striking way possible," says Nadia Chauhan, joint managing director and chief marketing officer, Parle Agro.

Left high and dry?

Not really! The ad fraternity seems to be quite impressed with the ad, except for some small concerns. Sanjib Dey, president, Saatchi & Saatchi India, finds the campaign quirky and adds that it cuts through the clutter. He admits that he will remember the ads for long. "They have magnified the state of feeling thirsty, especially when out in extreme hot conditions. Chances are I will surely remember LMN over the other nimbu paani options when I feel thirsty," he explains.

Sambit Mohanty, executive creative director, creative services and design, Bates 141, echoes similar sentiments and says, "Is this a little bit inspired by 'The Gods Must Be Crazy'? Well then - hallelujah for inspiration because this is definitely edgy work from CLA (something we've come to expect). It'll stand out in the melee of lemon drinks' advertising, though I feel some of the CG (computer graphics) could've been executed a tad better. Cheers to the crazy minds behind this campaign!" he adds.

Amar Wadhwa, executive director, CrystalEyes says he enjoyed the campaign but has a concern as well. "The campaign is distinctive in its construct, certainly different from Nimbooz and Minute Maid. It leaves you feeling parched and thirsty. You can identify with the Bushmen when you are out in the sun and when it's a steaming 42 degrees. Yet the dark humour is a bit disconcerting. What leaves much to be desired is the branding - which to my mind is weak," he explains.

He further observes that the sensorial association with lemon is somehow missing in the campaign. "This creative may lead to the ads being noticed and recalled but the fact that they are propagating LMN may get missed. In the category though, Limca's communication is by far the best. They have anchored the functionality of freshness with the emotional benefit of 'keep your relationship fresh'," he opines.

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