In 2005, Greenply Plywood entertained viewers with its reincarnation-based Sikh Boy ad that showed how the product remains intact for generations. The most recent ad by Greenlam, a decorative laminate brand from the house of Greenply, highlights the product's beauty through a light-hearted musical. The common thread across both campaigns is humour.
According to Alex Joseph, vice president, marketing and communications, Greenlam Laminates, the brand is looking to instil in people the need for a beautiful ambience. "Greenlam Laminates has taken a leap forward from last year's campaign, and goes on to evoke beautiful, positive and refreshing thoughts among the masses."
Talking about his ad, Prasoon Joshi, chairman and chief creative officer, McCann Worldgroup India and president, South Asia, tells afaqs!, it's not about being humorous as much as it is about being satirical. "Given the current atmosphere in India, with the elections and political turmoil, I knew that if I write something topical, that catches the imagination of people and resonates with them, it will make them smile," he says.
Is it fair to assume humour is the only way out for a category as 'dry' and low involvement as laminates? Joshi's response, "It is challenging to come up with something for a segment that people don't think too much about. It's not a 'top of mind' category." Interestingly, he adds that showing a hall being converted into a beautiful place, gave him the opportunity to do a product demo. "I could easily fit the product into the ad and demonstrate its use," he says.
It took a day to shoot the film. In all, there were 35 shots. For Equinox Films' Ram Madhvani, director of the film, the ad is an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist. "The ad is a social statement. Though the film is a satire it is pitched innocently. It's not cynical. It's meant to be charming," he says.
The set, he shares, is a graphically created one. "We built the benches but the walls, ceiling and the structure were done on the computer." The team worked with architect Ratan Batliboi to get all the structural details right. "We had to imagine we were commissioned to build a hall where leaders sit," Madhvani explains.
His team researched many legislatures across India and Asia before zeroing in on the design. He shares, "Every little detail was researched for its aesthetics and colours. The space had to be airy, open and contemporary, almost like the first class lounge in an airport."
Regarding the casting brief, Madhvani adds, "The corrupt politician who says he will not be corrupt anymore needed to look like he was definitely corrupt!
Not only did they have to look real and believable but also innocently funny." A blend of patriotic, contemporary and strident music was selected because it needed to be sincere yet funny.
The campaign was first broken through a roadblock on TV (around 70 channels) and print (national and regional dailies). The media mix also includes radio, digital (including 'Changing India' banners), cinema and radio. The brand has donated all the furniture that was used in the making of the TVC to a school through the NGO, Teach For India.
Nima Namchu, creative head and executive creative director, Cheil Worldwide, India, reminds us that Greenply's previous ads harped on durability.
"Durability, as a proposition has become generic in the laminates category. It has become slightly mundane and 'middleclass'. That's probably why the emphasis in on beauty now," he reasons.
Taking a category perspective, Namchu notes that laminate players seem to have moved from B2B to B2C communication. "When you're talking about beauty, you're definitely not talking to the carpenter," he says.
About the production value of the film, he says, "I like the overall treatment and music. Does it stand out? Yes, but, it looks like it has been shot in a hurry. The art direction could've been made to look more 'real'."