This parrot doesn't parrot

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | November 15, 2011
The new commercial for Birla Wallcare Putty breaks away from preaching and uses the Parrot Debate.

Over the years, wallcare putty brands have had the same sort of communication with the consumer. The usual scene involves looking at a wall which is flaking, with a voiceover saying use 'X' brand to take flakes off your wall, and keep the paint looking fresh. Birla White Cement, in its new commercial, has deviated from the old track. Conceptualised by Lowe Lintas, the Birla Wallcare Putty television commercial is titled Ho gaya na popat'.

Laced with superstition and humour, the TVC stars a man and his pet parrot. The parrot is covered in white flakes. Its owner thinks the parrot has dandruff, and soon the entire nation gets fascinated by the tale of a parrot that has dandruff, which sparks off the 'Parrot Debate'. When asked about his flaky problem, the parrot says 'Papdi hain, papdi hain', with a voiceover urging consumers to use Birla Wallcare Putty and do 'Papdi ki chutti'.

Kumar Pillai, vice-president, marketing services, Ultratech Cement, says, "We wanted to stand out from the paint category and inform the consumer that the product should be used before painting walls, to protect them from moisture, flaking, and other issues. Years ago, people believed the news that Lord Ganapati was actually drinking the milk offered by devotees. We got our idea from there, as Indians do believe in superstitions and rumours. The parrot added the humour angle."

Arun Iyer, national creative director, Lowe Lintas, explains, "Since this is a low involvement category, the idea was to create something that would lead to maximum discussion amongst consumers. And, the lateral take was to make it interesting."

Leaving a mark

The television commercial is liked by advertising professionals who find the concept an interesting way to portray a low-profile category.

Vivek Dutta, business director and national planning head, Hakuhodo Percept, says, "Interesting take on an otherwise boring category! Strong insight about how flaking walls can be embarrassing for home owners. It is quite refreshing to see that the brand has gone beyond a demonstration for the product being used for a smooth finish on the wall. The TVC is quite intriguing, and keeps the audience guessing till the end."

Ravi Raghavendra, executive creative director, Euro RSCG, remarks, "A parrot with dandruff -- that caught me by surprise. The idea is refreshing for sure! Especially, for the category. However, it seemed a bit rushed. But, it has mass appeal. It should work well for the brand."

Click here to read the storyboard

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