Eveready: All Charged Up

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | July 08, 2014
Retaining the trademark 'Give me Red' tagline, Rediffusion Y&R creates a fresh campaign targeted at Eveready's young consumers.

At a time when technology is leapfrogging and smartphones have singlehandedly pulverised the market for digital cameras and flashlights, how does a once-functional category like dry cell battery stay relevant?

Eveready TVC

Eveready TVC

Eveready TVC

Eveready TVC

Komal Bedi Sohal

Anil Bajaj

Eveready, for one, is not giving up. The brand released its latest campaign, which showcases its new product line (portable Smartphone chargers, LED lights and home lights) targeted at a young consumer.

Executed by Rediffusion Y&R, the 60-seconder is conceptualised as the 'Give Me Red - Gamed Concert'. The campaign opens with Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar initiating a game by flashing a light from his apartment window. He is joined by several others across the city who flash lights using various Eveready products (portable Smartphone chargers, CFLs, home lights and LED lights) and start making patterns resembling a racing car, a rocket being launched and a bunch playing soccer across the skyscrapers of the city. The film ends with the Kumar's message 'Join me at the next level of power - Give Me Red'.

Full power ahead

Speaking about the concept behind the ad, Komal Bedi Sohal, chief creative officer, Rediffusion Y&R says that the campaign aims to communicate that Eveready, as a brand, is not just about batteries and torches. "The campaign presents "give me red" in a brand new avatar and make it relatable to today's youth along with showcasing its new products such as mobile chargers, LED lights and home lights," she says.

Usually, while revamping an old ongoing campaign, agencies tend to chop off the tagline, which is presumed dated. However, Rediffusion Y&R chose to retain the line 'Give Me Red', which dominated the ad scene since early '90s. As a slogan, it defined an attitude and a craving for power to express youthful energy. "That attitude and craving is still very much alive. The gadgets have changed, but the need to power the devices is still there," reasons Sohal.

Lloyd Baptista of Seven Films has directed the campaign. The jingle has been conceptualized and written by Nilanjan Dasgupta, ECD, Rediffusion Y&R, along with lyricist Ashish Biswas. The music director is Prashant Vadhyar. The male singer is Subhajit Mukherjee and the female singer is Wrisha Dutta.

There's life yet

Negating the theory that smartphones have reduced the relevance of batteries in India, Anil Bajaj, vice president - marketing, Eveready Industries highlights that a household still uses 10-12 batteries at any point of time. "Earlier, the usage was in high-drain equipment like a Walkman or a transistor. Today, the growth drivers in the industry are remote operated devices (TV and ACs) and wall clocks," he reasons.

The company's comsumer base ranges from 5 years to 85 years while the communication's TG is youth between 15 and 45 years - the technologically advanced generation. Bajaj says that, for them, the marketing challenge lies in grabbing the consumer's attention from a communication created with a limited media budget.

While its batteries are the backbone of the company, Bajaj believes that growth in flashlights and lighting products is remarkable and calls the segment a "growth driver in coming years". Going forward, the company plans to position itself as a 'complete portable power and lighting solutions provider'. It's major focus, this year, will be to ensure distribution and availability of these lighting products to urban and rural households.

On the marketing front, the company, which traditionally used on-ground rural activations and in-shop branding, aims to go digital. "Today's youth spends its time on the mobile and the internet. So to maximize the impact of the whole campaign, online and digital media is also a part of whole campaign," explains Bajaj.

The portfolio

In 2013, the company launched portable chargers for smartphones and tablets. Available in 2200mAh and 5200mAh capacity known as UM22 and UM52 respectively, these are power backups for all models of smartphones or tablets, which can be used on the go. The chargers are priced at Rs 1,250 (2200mAh) and Rs 2,500 (5200mAh).

Other portable smartphone chargers available in the market are brand specific like Sony USB Mobile Power CP-A2L (Rs 1,990) and Nokia Extra Power DC-11 (Rs 2,400). While there are third party chargers like iBall Portable Power Charger (Rs 2,499), Cooler Master Choiix (Rs 3,680) and Genius Universal Power Pack ECO-U600 (Rs 4,750) which are compatible with all smartphones and tablets.

CFL prices range from Rs 150 per unit to Rs 800 per unit depending upon the wattage. LEDs are priced from Rs 375 per unit to Rs 599 per unit. Portable battery-powered lanterns were first introduced by Eveready. Eveready lanterns are LED based lanterns which operate either with dry cell batteries or with rechargeable batteries. Battery operated lamps range from Rs 225 to Rs 550 while the rechargeable one is available from Rs 699-1,675 per unit. The company also offers solar powered lanterns priced at Rs 2,000 each.

India needs approximately 2.4 billion batteries every year and the growth in this segment is 4-5 per cent annually. The AA-sized batteries - used in remote control devices and wall clocks - account for 70 per cent of the total volume. With miniaturization of the instruments, the AAA size segment is also growing quickly. Eveready Industries is the flagship company of the B.M. Khaitan Group and was incorporated in 1934. Its product portfolio includes batteries, flashlights, lighting products and packet tea. In the dry cell battery segment, Eveready competes with players like Duracell, Nippo, Panasonic and Geep Batteries. It faces competition from players like Phillips, Bajaj, Havells and GE Lighting India in the lighting segment.

The net sales of the company stood at Rs 1152.34 crore in the current financial year ending in April 2014. The battery business sales stood at approximately Rs 700 crores and flashlight sales at Rs 200 crores. While the net sales from Electricals and lighting category (including LED, CFL and General Lighting Services) were Rs 142.66 crore which the company expects will grow in the coming years.

Right plug?

Anand Halve

Jitender Dabas

Anand Halve, co-founder, Chlorophyl points out that a declining category like batteries needs a completely new idea to regain its relevance. He points out how Milkmaid repositioned itself from being 'emergency instant milk' to 'sweet dish ingredient'. "You can't do it by just making the communication trendy," he says.

Halve notes that Eveready should have focused on a smaller group like medical professionals who need powerful, dependable torches to examine patients. "The message that the brand wants to communicate, doesn't come across and it's weird to see Kumar winking in the end," he points out.

Jitender Dabas, EVP-Planning, McCann believes that revisiting the 'Give Me Red' proposition is a good idea. The line is powerful and connects with both the old and the younger generation. "While the storytelling in the campaign is driven by youth insights the execution bit has failed to do justice," he says.

Dabas explains that when a brand is trying to transfer its core equity from old products to new age ones, then the communication should highlight the latter. "The portable Smartphone charger is highly underplayed in the campaign while there were numerous shots of flashlights and LED lights - something which we associate Eveready with almost instantly," he argues.

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