India - a land popular for its cultural dynamism, never fails to surprise one at every walk of life. Right from its festivals to food and the attire worn by its people – everything has a story behind it. Philips India, one of the major players in the lighting category, draws inspiration from this cultural insight in its new campaign, where it shows the special role of light in the life of an Indian.
Interestingly, it took the company a good seven to eight months of research to arrive at the insight. Representatives interviewed various people ranging from a married couple and an old man to children and even youngsters living in urban as well as rural areas. To measure the role of light, people were made to sit in complete darkness first, and then when the lights were switched on, asked what light meant for them.
The company also conducted a usage and attitude research in 2011 to get a first hand impression of how the Indian consumer uses light and his or her thought on light/brightness.
The television commercial, titled 'Zindagi Ki Raunak', shows how light plays a vital role in every Indian's life and Philips, being the manufacturer of various lighting products, acts like a carrier which takes light to the doorstep of every Indian. The TVC captures this multifaceted role played by light through interesting situations and vignettes. It ends with the message, 'Philips – Zindagi Ki Raunak'. The commercial is backed by a humorous and tongue-in-the-cheek narrative. Moreover, it also promotes Philips' promise of providing 20 per cent more brightness.
Vivek Sharma, chief marketing officer, Philips India, says, "After running a successful campaign on saving light for the last two-three years, we wanted to return with an idea that would talk about the functional aspect of the products and at the same time, create a strong emotional bond with our consumers. We thought nothing could be better than talking light/brightness as in India we worship the god of light – Sun, we celebrate the festival of light, 'Diwali', and also people have names after light. With the communication, we wished to highlight the deeper meaning of brightness."
According to Sumit Joshi, senior director, marketing, Philips Lighting India, the company banked on the platform of energy efficiency. "And, from a consumer's perceptive, energy efficiency is directly linked to compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs. Therefore, we wanted to move beyond energy efficiency and talk to the consumer as a leader in the category which currently has 35 per cent market share," notes Joshi.
Ajay Gahlaut, group creative director, Ogilvy, explains, "Philips is the market leader in the lighting category and therefore it was important to convey that message with lighting being at the heart of the communication strategy. We did not have to look too far as light plays a very important role in the Indian culture. In India, people name their children after light and we also celebrate 'Diwali', the festival of light. The television campaign highlights the fact that light plays a special role in everybody's life. In one word, the commercial is about what light does to people."
The television commercial is currently on air across various channels. The company will also launch retail and online activations to further promote its lighting products.
A bright idea
According to Sambit Mohanty, executive creative director, Bates, while the television commercial successfully holds attention thanks to the cheeky copy, somewhere it loses the main theme and looks confused. "Instead of being infomercial-ish, this Philips Lighting TV has its funny, tongue-in-cheek moments. That said, I feel the '20 per cent brighter' aspect could have led to edgier ideas but at the end of the day, the idea is overshadowed by a larger generalisation which is about the role of light in our lives," remarks Mohanty.
Divyapratap Mehta, vice-president, planning, Grey, says, "This is a good example of an advertisement doing too many things in one television commercial. I am not sure if the brief is 20 per cent more brightness or to just celebrate light in people's life. I would have at least chosen one of the two as a creative magnifier. Then the question, whether a brand should celebrate a generic like light or build some sort of differentiator? While it can be argued that celebrating the category is a leader's stance, I still feel consumers today are looking for reassurances beyond just bringing alive the generic role of lighting in their lives. Also, they may find the situations endearing but this may not aid brand recall."
Mehta opines that brightness is a powerful promise which has not been well exploited in the ad. "It almost looks like an afterthought in the film and may not even get registered by consumers," he adds.