The sight of model Sheetal Malhar prancing sensuously around an old fort grabs attention. As she smiles coquettishly, the camera focuses on a gold pendant dangling down her bare back. Gold earrings adorn a hat she is wearing. She strikes another pose, with gold bangles and bracelets not on her arms, but on her hair. Jewellery worn out-of-the-box, so to say… The commercial ends with the voiceover saying, "Gold so different, you'll wear it differently." The sign-off simply says 'CollectionG', with the slug, 'Glow with gold'.
This is the latest television commercial created by O&M for the World Gold Council (WGC), the global body that monitors and promotes the consumption of gold worldwide. And the ad marks phase two of WGC's attempts to give gold a chic 'with-it' image, and spur consumer demand for the metal.
First, some history. Somewhere during the course of 2001, internationally, WGC began working on creating a strategic shift in consumer perceptions pertaining to the metal through mainline advertising. For WGC, the move was a significant departure from its primary focus on gold as a commodity - where the body played a role in monitoring trade mechanisms, valuation, and commercial promotion and legislation. The reasons behind WGC shifting attention to the end-consumer are simple: international trends demonstrate that the bulk of gold consumption is to happen at the retail level; and gold, as an article of adornment, is losing some of its appeal, especially in European markets.
In India - which is, incidentally, the biggest consumer of gold worldwide, with consumption at 850-plus tons (2000 figures) - there was a parallel effort to directly address the consumer. This saw the genesis of the 'Glow with gold' campaign, created by O&M, which aired on Indian skies towards the end of last year. "Gold was being seen as ostentatious and passé in the West, especially Europe, where the styles are towards minimalism," says Kumar Subramaniam, client services director, O&M. "The larger aim was to bring gold back into the fashion arena."
Of course, in India, the perception problem isn't anywhere as strong as it perhaps is in the west. "Market research done by us showed that gold has a very strong base in India," insists Subramaniam. However, among the higher SECs, there appeared a strong inclination for greater variety. "Consumers here were looking beyond gold because diamond and platinum are available options," he points out.
Again, the reasons are simple to find. One, gold was being seen as a metal to 'flaunt' - a "vulgar display of wealth". In that sense, the choice of diamonds and platinum was reactionary. Another thing that went against gold was the sheer novelty of diamonds and platinum - especially diamonds - in this country. "To the consumer, diamond anyway has intrinsic value, and there was a lot of good work done here, in terms of advertising, to popularize diamonds," admits Subramaniam. "In terms of perception, diamonds have certainly created a buzz."
The task for O&M was clear - make gold more contemporary. "In India, gold jewellery is driven by design, which is traditional, ornate and very conservative," says Subramaniam. "Now this implied that gold jewellery is not for the modern Indian woman. Our job was to bring gold closer to the contemporary Indian woman. And our first campaign attempted to draw parallels between gold and the contemporary Indian woman. Both a extremely malleable, both are mysterious and both are a blend of tradition and modernity." Care was taken not to take on diamonds - that would have been seen as being defensive. "A lot of diamond jewellery in India has a good mix of gold. Plus, diamond consumption, despite the stone's growing popularity, is still very small in terms of value and numbers."
While the first campaign, which was all 'image', has apparently been well received, the CollectionG campaign is an effort to translate 'image' into commodity purchase. CollectionG is, incidentally, a new line of lightweight, 22-carat gold jewellery being retailed at select outlets nationwide. "CollectionG is a collection of 100-odd designs of pendants, bracelets and earrings, priced from as low as Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000," reveals Subramaniam.
"CollectionG is about taking the first campaign a step forward," he continues. "The first campaign was all about making gold contemporary. This one is about creating a tangible difference. CollectionG has designs that borrow from traditional Indian designs, while retaining strong western influences. Previously, if an Indian woman were to wear western outfits, she couldn't wear gold, as the designs were too traditional. CollectionG gives her that option." The collection is clearly aimed at the young consumer. "The target is women in the 18-to-32 age group, from the A and B SECs," says Subramaniam. "College-going girls and young working women."
The communication is true to that task, as far as look and feel goes. The commercial has a very 'couture' feel… faced-paced editing, fleeting shots of jewellery, minimalism. And getting Malhar to model was perhaps the icing. The impish charm, the delicate girl-woman sensuality, the devil-may-care attitude… Just right. Â© 2002 agencyfaqs!