Clean, but clear?

By Shibani Gharat , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | April 02, 2012
The TVC created by Bates India for Hitachi iClean AC highlights its auto-clean feature and emphasises the wishful thought that if only everything in the home could clean itself.

The biggest problem of the contemporary nuclear household is to maintain hygiene and cleanliness. Addressing this issue is an offering by Hitachi, called the iClean AC, which is equipped to clean itself.


The television commercial, created by Bates India, communicates this proposition. It opens with the shot of a painting that starts to vibrate, shedding all the dust it has accumulated. The dust lands on a couch below, which in turn ejects the dust, along with coins and popcorn, by shaking itself vigorously. All these end up on the carpet and it proceeds to dump everything on a dog snoozing on it. Ultimately, the dog shakes off all the dust and dirt outside the house. The commercial ends with a voiceover that says, 'If only everything in your home could clean easily as the Hitachi iClean AC.'

Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar

Sambit Mohanty

Commenting on the campaign, Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, national creative director, Bates India, says, "Breathing life into inanimate objects to make them appear to clean themselves and juxtaposing this against the cleaning ability of the Hitachi iClean was an idea that excited all of us. I'm glad we've delivered a product that'll make everyone sit up and take notice."

In 2011, the commercial for iClean AC featured a robot which could clean itself.

According to Sambit Mohanty, executive creative director, Bates Delhi, the challenge was to effectively highlight the unique cleaning ability of the product. "The idea of things in your home cleaning themselves (including the dog) is something that came across as quirky yet fresh."

Mohanty explains that the idea was to create something different from the commercials of other air conditioners. "Other AC commercials either feature a celebrity or highlight the features of their offering. Here, the celebrity is the AC itself."

The TVC has been directed by Lloyd Baptista and produced by Amol Vaingainkar. The production house is 7 Films. The music is by Kartik, whereas animation and Vfx is managed by Digital Magic, Bangkok.

Ashok Ray, assistant vice-president and sales head, precision AC, Hitachi says that although the product was launched in 2011, the advertising was undertaken aggressively only this year. "This is a 360 degree campaign for this summer, with TV, print, outdoor and BTL activities. We will also concentrate on in-shop marketing."

The campaign is targeted at SEC A and B.

ACs speak about everything but cooling

The ads for various air conditioners these days highlight everything but the effective cooling of the AC. Last year, Samsung ran a campaign on how its AC averts the possibility of H1N1 virus attacks.

Panasonic came up with the proposition of 'eco-navi', a technology that senses human activity in the room and cools accordingly, while Onida offered the option of pre-cooling one's home remotely by sending out a text message to the AC.

Cuts the ice?

Santosh Padhi

Prathap Suthan

Santosh Padhi, chief creative officer and co-founder, Taproot India feels that the whole TVC is a bit subtle. "I had to watch the TVC twice in order to know what's happening. AC is no longer a niche product. It is for the masses. In India, we like something that is out loud," he says.

Overall, Padhi feels that it is an interesting product feature and you do not need to call someone to service your AC. "But, it could have been better had it been more obvious," he adds.

Prathap Suthan (aka Pat), chief creative officer, iYogi and founder, The Advisory thinks that it is a great product story but the creative falls short. "In these days of me-too technology and quick-disappearing product pluses, the iClean is a definite winner. Most of us know what dust choked AC filters can do, both in terms of cooling and the hygiene/pollution angle. I wonder why they kept the creative to just base level work. The 'If only' route is certainly not new, and has been flogged for long."

Suthan opines that the user benefits of this feature could have been a very rich area to dig for stories. "Even if they wanted to keep it in the product story, they could have kept the story more in the real area instead of paintings, couches and carpets coming alive. Our homes are full of stories of how kids drag in all sorts of muck and leave them all around till the mom of the house makes an effort," he explains.

He also does not find the animation too spectacular. Suthan says that for a moment, he thought that he was looking at a Dulux ad. "The old English sheepdog has been associated with Dulux paints for a very long time. Also, since the film began with a painting, somewhere everything connected. Ideally, if they wanted to use a dog, they should not have used a breed even remotely connected to a brand. They wouldn't have used a pug, would they? " asks Suthan.

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