Not your average Iodex commercial, this. No twisted-with-pain faces, no heavy-duty agony, no all-over-your-face pack shot (if you excuse the 'mandatory' product window at the very end, that is), no attempt at sustained 'selling' through every frame of the commercial… Not your average pain balm commercial, actually.
The ad under discussion is the latest from Iodex (made by Enterprise Nexus, Delhi), and this is how it goes. The commercial opens on a young couple, presumably newly married, entering a new home. A jingle strikes up in the background. 'Tujhse ghar hai, tum bin makaan…' An obvious reference to the wife, the homemaker.
The commercial then traces the life of the woman (the wife) over a period of time - how she hushes her restive newborn to sleep in the middle of the night; her role as the champion mother of school-going kids; the rushed-off-her-feet but perfect homemaker. '…Tere aanchal se chhota aasmaan/Maa tujhe salaam/Tujhse subah, tujhse shaam/Tune duniya ko rakkha hai thaam/Maa tujhe salaam.'
The commercial ends with the shot of the husband tenderly applying Iodex on the woman's back as she catches her breath at the end of another exhausting day. 'Maa ka nonstop kaam/Iodex dein nonstop aaram/Iodex, lambaa aaram,' says the MVO.
Certainly a departure from the kind of advertising Iodex has a history of dishing out. Of course, the essential ingredients of Iodex communication are very much in place. Traditional woman, colour-coded coordinates… But the difference lies in the tonality of the message, the manner in which the consumer (the woman) has become the focal point of the communication. In the past, Iodex advertising was uniformly product-centric. People going 'ooh-aah-ouch', a generous application of Iodex, people springing back into action. The typical problem-solution approach.
With this commercial, the focus has shifted. Clearly an attempt to strike an 'emotional chord' with the consumer, and take the brand relationship beyond product benefit alone. "At various stages, a mix of rational and emotional advertising has been used (for Iodex)," says a Glaxo SmithKline (GSK) executive. "Moreover, the brand has a very strong heritage, and enjoys a strong emotional relationship with its users. This ad aims at building upon this, and overlaying the product benefit of long-lasting relief."
'Long-lasting relief' maybe at the core of this piece of communication, but it's the idea (of saying 'Maa tujhe salaam') and the treatment of that idea that calls for attention. Why does Iodex need to salute the Indian homemaker at this juncture? "The commercial emphasizes the important role that Iodex plays in helping the woman become an ideal homemaker, and pays tribute to her endeavour," explains the GSK spokesperson. "The commercial highlights the circumstances that lead to pain, and the role that Iodex plays in helping her do what she wants to do. The ad is expected to reinforce the faith of the consumers in their trusted brand."
GSK's need to reinforce consumer faith in Iodex is to be expected, especially in the face of competition from brands such as Moov (which has done a fair job of positioning itself as a 'kamar dard ka specialist') and Back-Aid. Of course, GSK isn't revealing whether Moov has been able to reposition Iodex as a 'balm for joint pains'.
"Iodex has been an age-old brand with usage across pains, and continues to be so. There would be a set of consumers who would be using Iodex for joint pains," is all the GSK executive reveals. "Moov has it's own set of consumers who, perhaps, are more positively inclined to use it for backaches. However, the market is characterized by low levels of loyalty, and multiple brand usage," he adds.
Whatever the market reality, evidence points to the fact that Moov's 'bahu' commercial has had some bearing - perhaps even indirectly - on the advertising route GSK has taken for Iodex. For despite being termed regressive by some (and we're not debating that for the moment), to its credit, the Moov commercial has both established, and acknowledged the role the homemaker. The ad, in a way, says that the bahu/young housewife/homemaker is the true force behind any home. And that Moov is her 'bharosemand saathi'. Even GSK agrees that, "the commercial has good recall levels."
So, by saluting the quintessential, hard-working Indian woman is Iodex 'out-mooving' Moov? Is 'Maa tujhe salaam' an attempt at wooing the same consumer, telling her that Iodex is her 'true saathi'… only this time with more emotion? It seems to be the case here.
"Ultimately, the consumers for all these products are the same, as are also the roles they perform in life." As good an admission as one can get from GSK under the circumstances.
Agency : Enterprise Nexus, Delhi
The Team :
GSK : Sandeep Abraham
Servicing : Sanjay Garg, Sangeeta Marwah
Account Planning : Sundeep Kumar, Sanjay Garg, Sangeeta Marwah
Creative : Neil D'souza
Filmmaker : Annirudha Sen, Shantanu Bagchi
Production House : Illusion Films, Mumbai
Model : Geeta Manekshana
Agency Producer : Sharon Pereira
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