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Parx deodorants: Going beyond seduction

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | July 20, 2011
Publicis Ambience has crafted a launch commercial for Parx deodorants that attempts to stand out from the category, with a positioning that stays away from overt sexual/seductive imagery, as is the norm in the deodorant category.

It's no big secret that deodorant ads largely revolve around either functionality, or sexuality. In a bid to be different and stand out from what the category swears by, the launch ad for Parx deodorants (from the Raymond stable) is all about 'chilling out' and being playful, and the deo works hard to help one do that. As is known, the Park Avenue range of deodorants -- a sister brand of Parx-- has more of a formal and elegant tinge to it, and targets an older age group (25-35-year-olds), whereas Parx targets 20-30 year olds, and is more casual and youthful.

Says Ashish Khazanchi, vice-chairperson and national creative director, Publicis Ambience (the agency on Parxdeos), "Parx is already a well-established apparel brand. With this foray into deodorants, we have ensured the communication targets the younger, energised bunch, much like the apparels range."

Furthermore, he adds that the attempt is to stay away from the "varying levels of undressing and seduction, with 50 girls falling all over the deo-using man", as is common in the deo ads. "Parx is more light-hearted and outdoorsy, and for the chilled-out generation," Khazanchi explains.

The ad opens with the shot of a young man entering a kind of local train, all exhausted. In a bid to stay refreshed, he whips out his Parxdeo, and promptly decides to be playful in the otherwise boring train compartment. He sits on a suitcase nearby, pretending it it to be a bike, and even manages a fellow passenger to sit behind him as his 'biker girl'. Soon, the entire compartment is a lively place with people taking part in the mock 'vroom' bike session.The boy gets off at his station, leaving behind a delighted set of people. 'Introducing deo sprays from Parx. They work hard so you can live easy', goes the punchline.

The statement being made in this communication is that the brand is for those who don't want to be perceived as frivolous 'chick magnets', but want to be perceived as the self-confident, relaxed, fun guy to hang out with. The tagline, too, is about how the deodorant does its job and works hard for its user, so that he can "play easy".

Vishal Pawar, head, marketing, consumer products division, Raymond India, remarks, "The seduction angle has been overdone, while Parx is about helping you be comfortable with yourself and your surroundings."

Apart from television, other media vehicles for this communication include outdoor, press and posters in and around youth hangout joints.

Casually speaking

Is the attempt to break away from category norms, a successful one for the ad fraternity?

Rajeev Raja, national creative director, DDB India, opines, "I believe the idea is about loosening up, and getting everyone around you to do the same and have some fun. Thankfully, it is not the usual 'guy gets gal in a moth-to-a-flame' kind of situation." The element of girls getting impressed with the Parxuser,is brought out rather subtly.

However, Raja feels the whole 'let's pretend this is a bike' concept may be a little immature and the humour could have been a tad more fine-tuned. "The irreverence of the youth is missing here, and the reasons for seeking attention in this manner may not be powerful enough for the narrative," he muses.

Nima Namchu, senior vice-president and executive creative director, Contract Advertising, says that the brand's attempt to be different is for all the right reasons, considering the clutter in the deo category, and each one outdoing the other, on grounds of seduction and sexual imagery. "I agree there is an overdose of it happening, and Axe is probably the only brand that stands out because it is tastefully done." In that sense, he feels the attempt to make one's whole environment 'cool and relaxed' is an interesting one. "But really, the 'sexy' plank works in this category. Perhaps the attempt of a 'casual fun' positioning is different, but may not stand out," he opines.

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