Greenply: Out of the box

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 21, 2013
The plywood brand brings on board a celebrity for the first time, to convey the core brand promise of durability.

Even in the age of amazing gadgets, a magician and his act holds attention, his wand, wooden chest and hat and cloak appealing to the child in every man. Plywood brand Greenply's new campaign, Forever New, dwells on this quality of magic to promote its brand promise of durability. This is also the first time the brand has used a celebrity, Arjun Rampal, in its commercial.

Created by Ogilvy & Mather, the montage shows the story of an ordinary magician, Shaurya, who attains international acclaim by turning old things new in his wooden box. The TVC opens in sepia tone with a young girl in a small village scared at the prospect of giving her cloth doll to a simply dressed Shaurya (played by Arjun Rampal).

Reassuring her, he places the ragged doll in his wooden magic box, and makes it new with a wave of his hand. Shaurya travels with his box on a bike, his ascent in life marked by change in clothes, audiences and, of course, hairstyle. He is shown doing his act in cities (in colour now), where his magic box breaths life and freshness to old, withered objects. The scene then cuts to Las Vegas, where Shaurya's critics raise doubt about his talent. So, he performs his master act - an old Shaurya entering his own magic box and coming out young.

Anamika Nath, AVP, ply and board division, Greenply Industries, says that the brand aimed the latest campaign to reinforce the core brand promise of durability (a common thread in previous campaigns as well) through an idea that reached out to the end consumers. "We have retained the proposition of durability, which is a category benefit, and with which Greenply Plywood is strongly associated with. The campaign has tried to create a distinct emotional flavour by personifying the brand. The magician and his box together communicate the core promise of timelessness," she says.

But how did the brand come to choose Rampal? Nath explains that they were looking for someone who would appeal across gender and age groups. "We wanted a face which would be believable as a villager as well as an international star, a person with presence, appeal and a wee touch of irreverence. The strategy was to cast a known face, who would be right for the role of the protagonist, rather than appoint a celebrity endorser/brand ambassador. Rampal fitted in beautifully," she states.

Sumanto Chattopadhyay

Agreeing with her, Sumanto Chattopadhyay, executive creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather, says, "Many Indian actors tend to go over the top, something that would have ruined the film."

The five-week campaign is the first campaign created by Ogilvy & Mather after it took over the brand's creative duties in December 2012. Chattopadhyay recalls that soon after Ogilvy was appointed, Greenply briefed it for a new campaign. "It wanted to take its existing brand platform of durability to the level of a brand philosophy. While humour is the genre of earlier communications, in this campaign it aimed to create a brand mystique using elements of drama, intrigue and charm," he says.

Chattopadhyay reveals that the team came up with a script within a week and immediately started the production. Considering that the shoot had to be completed within three days, the team would often traverse from one part of Mumbai to another. "On the last day, thanks to traffic jams, we realised we would not be able to reach the last location on time. So, we recreated the set in the previous location and managed to complete the shoot," he says.

Shiveshwar Raj Singh

Minakshi Achan

The commercial is directed by award-winning New York based director Marc Wilkins and is produced by Joshua Tree.

The second phase of the campaign, to be launched after a gap of three weeks, will span six weeks. The campaign will be supported by radio, cinema, digital and point of sale material.


Shiveshwar Raj Singh, group creative head, Draftfcb Ulka feels the idea is refreshing and the execution impeccable. "Great music, well shot and superbly cast. Greenply has always done something new and different with its advertising right from the very start. The 'Forever new' commercial pushes the boundaries, yet again. And yes, Arjun Rampal works - wooden expression and all. Definitely a couple of notches above the sing-a-long 'Always Hoyenga'," he says.

Minakshi Achan, founder and creative head, Salt Brand Solutions, says that the commercial will definitely appeal to the viewers, as the communication is quite clear. However, she's not convinced with the celebrity value added to the commercial. "The past communication on Greenply has been fantastic and was quite memorable even without a celebrity. I don't see a strong reason for casting Arjun Rampal," she asserts.

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