Macho Cinthol takes a youthful turn

By Raushni Bhagia , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | October 09, 2012
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The new ad campaign for the brand tries to tap the youth, drifting a little away from its earlier macho image. Created by Creativeland Asia, the TVC depicts youngsters enjoying various water bodies using the product at different places and highlights the new tagline, 'Alive is Awesome'.

Bringing an ad campaign after a gap of four years, Godrej's soap brand Cinthol has moved from 24-hour confidence to the recent 'Alive is Awesome'. The brand has always positioned itself in the realm of freshness and depicted machismo. In the current television commercial, however, it appears determined to get into the youth zone with waterfalls, elephant sprinkles and water ponds on the North Pole.

The new Cinthol TVC

The brand's Body Confidence campaign launched in 1985 featured actor Vinod Khanna riding a horse. The 'freshness' positioning was continued through its 'Imran's Freshness Soap' campaign (1987) that featured cricketer Imran Khan. The TVC put together various shots of the cricketer on the field, portraying freshness throughout the day.

In 1991, Cinthol re-visited its macho image through a film that featured Milind Soman. Later, around 1993-94, the brand brought the celebrity couple Shahrukh and Gauri Khan on board to promote its lime-based variant with the positioning, 'Susti mitaye, Chusti lautaye'. This ad film depicted how a bath with Cinthol refreshed the otherwise-tired film star.

To further promote this lime variant, the brand brought in a family-centric Tan Taazaa campaign with the tagline, 'The Slice of Lime'. The Hrithik Roshan-starrer 'Don't Stop' campaign with '24-hour confidence' tagline was launched in 2008.

All through these campaigns, the brand has maintained a positioning that highlighted machismo.

The current campaign tries hard to push the brand into the youth space. Created by Creativeland Asia, the TVC depicts a few youngsters enjoying the product at various water bodies, highlighting the new tagline, 'Alive is Awesome'.

Cinthol claims that the new strategy has three objectives, including a connect to a younger TG (target group), entry into the premium segment of the personal grooming category and delivery of a product experience that makes one feel alive.

Sajan Raj Kurup

Sunil Kataria

Sajan Raj Kurup, founder and creative chairman, Creativeland Asia tells afaqs! that the new campaign is an experiential one which will go beyond traditional media. "Over the years, I have seen Cinthol stand for an invigoratingly cool and alive soap brand. I felt that it's time Cinthol claimed back its standing in the experiential era. It celebrates and recognises a more adventurous and international India. And, a less inhibited and intimidated Indian," he adds.

Thus, the insight behind the campaign was to generate a whole new idea with the 'Alive is Awesome' tagline. The creative team received a brief to bring alive Cinthol and make it relevant to the new Indian mindset of living a more adventurous and experience-led life.

Kurup adds, "We were asked to transition Cinthol from a popular segment brand to a premium segment brand. With a brand like Cinthol that has amazing heritage, it's important to leverage its reach and stature and create something that can 'contemporise' the thinking."

Addressing the change in the positioning of the brand from freshness to youthful, Sunil Kataria, head, sales and marketing, Godrej Consumer Products, says, "Cinthol is still associated with 'Freshness', the entire product range offers premium fresh fragrances. We have built a distinct design identity for the brand which is a reflection of its positioning, 'Alive is Awesome'."

The brand has also revamped the product range and the packaging of Cinthol, making it look more premium and "alive". "The new campaign aims to target the 'youthful explorer' that exists in all of us. "We wanted to communicate this fresh personality of the brand with a proposition," adds Kataria.

Given that today most brands, across product categories, seem to be wooing the youth, isn't Cinthol foraying into an already cluttered space? Kataria responds, "This is a more psychographic definition of youth." He claims the TG comprises all those who are 'young at heart'.

Fresh enough?

The industry feels that though the brand is making an attempt to evolve, the TVC doesn't have too many 'firsts'.

Jitender Dabas

Shivanand Mohanty

According to Jitender Dabas, executive vice-president, planning, McCann Erickson Delhi, the brand's freshness proposition is a limited one. Further, in the execution, the brand has resorted to an over-used tactic -- what with the ad showing different ways in which water can be splashed around! "The proposition is limited by this 'finiteness'," he explains.

Dabas, however, feels that the campaign is a good 're-launch' for Cinthol. "I like 'Alive is Awesome' though I am not sure if they needed to sing it out, especially in the Hindi version where 'awesome' doesn't sound that awesome. That, along with some of the soap usage shots, risk looking a little forced but the way it is sung breaks the clutter and registers with the audience. Another good thing is that it still remains an out and out bathing story," he adds.

Shivanand Mohanty, creative partner, From Here on Communications, says, "The brand itself is trying to evolve, with new identity, packaging and variants. However, the concept of freshness as depicted here uses familiar elements."

Mohanty feels that all the elements executed in the ad have been seen before. He adds, "The new execution certainly has a sense of scale. The Liril girl has already done waterfalls and Iceland. But if they are targeting the youth, maybe the youth don't care. It's just soap, right?"

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