Godrej harnesses star power

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | April 22, 2013
The latest campaign features Aamir Khan disguised as a woman and also shows the diverse range of the brand's products.

Godrej Industries, one of the oldest brands in the country, has launched a brand campaign that covers its wide portfolio of products. Almost two years after its last umbrella-brand campaign, the latest campaign, 'Zindagi muskuraye', uses actor Aamir Khan as brand ambassador. Khan, who has been in public attention for constantly reinventing his public image along with the roles he plays, masquerades as a woman in the campaign to hold public attention.

Godrej TVC

Godrej TVC

Godrej TVC

Godrej TVC

'Zindagi muskuraye' is conceptualised and created by JWT Mumbai and comprises one teaser and eight product films. The teaser film introduced Khan dressed as a woman, visiting a friend. He introduced himself as Soniya to the wife, who asked him to have some tea.

The revealer shows Khan being invited for lunch, and introduces a product - a dining table with an attached hot plate which constantly keeps the food warm - in the couples' home. The third ad revolves around the brand's power saver AC, while the fourth shows the efficiency of Good Knight, the electronic mosquito repellent. In all films released subsequently, Khan continues to masquerade as a woman, discovering Godrej products in the young couple's house.

The products under the brand Godrej are cleverly yet subtly weaved into the story with an interesting, humour-filled storyline.

Speaking about the campaign and its timing, Shireesh Joshi, head, strategic marketing, Godrej Industries, says that the insight for the campaign came after a survey late last year. "Through consumer discussions, we felt the time was right to come out with a campaign which showed Godrej as a brand that represents modern sensibilities through the innovative range of products that we have come out with in the last few years," he says.

The approach was adopted as the brand had enough products to talk about its wide range of portfolios; till now, its campaigns have mostly promoted individual products.

Agreeing with him, Tista Sen, national creative director, JWT Mumbai, says, "The strategy was to bring alive the two pillars of brand Godrej - progression and empathy. The brand needed to up the imagery and be perceived distinctively and uniquely in the mind of the consumer. Designing products with ideas that help make life brighter and better."

The campaign covers consumer durables as well as FMCG products of the brand. While the campaign shows a young modern couple, Joshi quickly adds that Godrej's products cater across age groups. However, future and young couples are at the core of the brand's communication, he says.

Shireesh Joshi

Interestingly, Joshi reveals that this is the first time in his long career that a conglomerate brand has approved, executed and launched an entire campaign - from ideation to TVC - within a span of four months.

As for the idea of showing Khan dressed as a woman, Sen says that saliency was key, since they were doing many films. "Aamir played a woman, as he is researching a role and himself, as a buddy. That helped us in writing multiple films and kept the intrigue going," Sen explains. However, the casts were equally critical for the campaign to pull off the intrigue. "We needed a couple, who represented the young urban Indian. The woman was smart and held her own. The husband needed to be non starry. He is Aamir's friend and equally a loyal husband. They needed to be real and believable," she says, adding that considering each film had to be a standalone story and needed to have elements of charm and fun, it was essential to maintain simplicity while conveying the product message.

The current campaign will continue till the end of May, after which individual businesses will build on it to harness respective product values. The timing, which coincides with the IPL season, was coincidental, claims Joshi. "IPL presented itself as a natural opportunity and so the brand cashed on it. In digital, we released Khan's female look before releasing the teaser film, which got a lot of attention," he states. A short contest, titled 'What will he do next', was also launched on Facebook, along with a trailer of the films released on YouTube.

Drag power

Shiveshwar Raj Singh

Divyapratap Mehta

Shiveshwar Raj Singh, group creative head, Draftfcb Ulka, says that his initial reaction was, "Aamir Khan in drag? Is it Coke? Is it Tata Sky? Hey! Wait a minute mom - it's - Godrej." However, he adds that the old wine sparkles in these newly bottled "ad-coms" (small ads that unfold the same way as soaps do).

"The films are smartly written, wonderfully character-cast (absolutely love Nauheed's South Mumbai act) and nicely paced. And, the use of the brand is surprisingly subtle - a little too subtle, is it? However, they have great repeat value, thanks to the excellent nuances and repartee. And, that is indeed rare in dialogue-led commercials. Hopefully that and, of course, Aamir will help Godrej reinvent itself. We desperately need attempts like these to come off - to pull clients out of the comfort zones and be more experimental," he says.

Divyapratap Mehta, chief strategy officer, Publicis Capital, believes that while the executions are high on engagement with interesting use of celebrity, the idea of Khan dressed as a woman grabs all the attention. "The product proposition or the corporate message of 'ideas that make life brighter' might not be established at all. Teasers generally engage consumers. Aamir being used in an interesting manner is, definitely, attention grabbing but I am not sure if all the stories are strongly weaved around the product advantage. There is a risk that the execution idea is the only thing that gets recalled," he ventures.

Mehta adds that the best way a brand lives its philosophy is to walk the talk through its multiple products. "Those are signs of a truly strong brand. The Godrej campaign is high on execution drama but I am not sure it does justice to or builds the thought of 'ideas that make life brighter'," he opines.

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