Centuryply: Lifestyle in mayhem

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | August 31, 2012
The plywood brand makes a comeback on television after four years, as it moves beyond being a commodity brand to an aspirational and lifestyle brand.

Durability is one of the biggest aspects of any plywood brand and keeping this factor in mind, Century Plyboard (Centuryply) launched its campaign, 'Sab sahe mast rahe', in 2008. Now, after a gap of four years, the plywood brand has returned to the television screen. This time, however, it moves beyond just being a commodity brand as it takes up a lifestyle and aspirational position.

Abhra Rajib Banerjee

Arjun Mukherjee

After its brand campaign in 2008, a research conducted by Centuryply revealed that while consumers perceived it as a trustworthy brand, it was not taken to be a glamorous one. The brand lacked a bit of zing. To add a pinch of glamour, the company took a conscious decision to refrain from television advertising and concentrate on strategic brand placement through various tie ups, before returning with its new brand campaign.

Conceptualised by Bates' Kolkata office, the television commercial (TVC) shows how an angry gorilla chases a man all around his house. On the way, the gorilla breaks many objects that come in its way. Petrified, the man locks himself inside an almirah. To everyone's surprise, the gorilla is revealed as the man's wife, who is angry because her husband has forgotten their anniversary. The TVC ends with a voiceover saying, 'Centuryply can endure anything from anger to termite'. It ends with the message, 'Sab sahe mast rahe'.

Abhra Rajib Banerjee, executive business head and vice-president, marketing, Century Plyboards, explains, "While consumers trusted Centuryply as a brand, at the end of the day the job of selecting a ply board for any furniture was still left to the carpenter. Therefore, with the brand campaign, we wanted to create higher value by adding the lifestyle and aspirational aspect to it. And secondly, it was also important to highlight the core message of durability. We achieved that by showing that Centuryply can endure anything, right from anger to termites. "

Arjun Mukherjee, executive creative director, Bates, says, "The pressure was on, tension ran high and everyone was looking for that killer idea. And then it happened. Anger got the better of the team and turned them into growling monsters. It was total mayhem! Everyone started taking it out on the tables, chairs, doors, windows and other furniture. Many kicks and punches later, an idea was born! A basic human emotion was used to demonstrate the immense strength of Centuryply. Finally, the dust settled, the anger evaporated quickly and we had our campaign."

Apart from the television commercial, the company has launched out of home and radio campaigns.

A glamorous return

Chraneeta Mann

Bikram Bindra

Chraneeta Mann, executive creative director and national creative head, special projects, Rediffusion-Y&R, remarks, "I like the fact that the commercial hinges itself on the human insight of how people turn into animals upon losing their temper. The role of the product is fairly sharp as a material strong enough to withstand that physical anger. It stays away from the 'outlasting your life span' space that ply has been appropriating so far, yet conveys the same 'outlasting' quality by using the device of an irate wife."

"Moreover, when you opt for a film high on animation, you always run the risk of it being tackily done. But the gorilla here looks quite convincingly irate. It's a campaign you could do a lot of surround on," she adds.

"The new Centuryply Gorilla TVC packs in a punch for sure! This is the kind of disruptive advertising that forces you to break out of your TV viewing inertia and sit up and notice it. You are caught unaware, waiting for that penny dropping moment when the connect with the brand happens, and figure out 'What the hell just hit me'. It also comes across as a unique treatment for what might otherwise be seen as a rather banal category," says Bikram Bindra, senior account director, planning, BBDO India.

According to Bindra, in terms of strategic thinking, I think the insight of 'Sab sahe mast rahe' is powerful and also manifests itself well through the antics of a crazy Gorilla. "My only apprehension is if this thought gets a little lost with such a strong creative amplifier, and whether the Gorilla ends up hijacking the idea as well. Also, while I think the film is enjoyable, I doubt if it has true stickiness because the emotional connect is a little weak. In my mind, the gold standard in this category is an older Greenply 'Savitri' ad which still brings a smile to the face because of its memorable storyline and some great acting."

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