Rupa puts Ranveer Singh on the Frontline

By Ashee Sharma , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 20, 2015
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To render a 'cool' quotient to its brand Rupa Frontline, the company has rolled out a TVC that features actor Ranveer Singh in his usual irreverent and crazy avatar as 'Raja Baba'.

Kolkata-based Rupa and Company, one of the earliest brands to get a celebrity endorser on board, has rolled out its new TVC featuring Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh. The film has been conceptualised by Scarecrow Communications for Rupa Frontline, a popular offering from Rupa's brand basket.

Before this, Singh was seen in two similar campaigns, Chings' 'Ranveer Ching' and Durex' 'Do the Rex', which were instant hits. The new Rupa TVC directed by Karan Kapadia, tries to leverage the success of the musical format to put forward its positioning, 'Yeh Aaram ka Mamla Hai'.

In the ad, the actor, as Raja Baba, exemplifies the proposition of comfort by flaunting the innerwear in effortless moves. His exaggerated and mindless antics are complemented by the equally doltish lyrics, peppy music and a beach setting (Rayong, Thailand).

Mukesh Agarwal

With this ad, Mukesh Agarwal, director, Rupa & Co, says the brand aims to target males in the 15-45, SEC A-D category, who aspire to be talented, sexy, fun-loving, cool, successful, reliable and, very importantly, hard working. To reach out to this set of consumers effectively, the campaign will run across TV, print, digital, OOH and also in theaters countrywide. The script of the TVC has been kept flexible to allow editing of the 60-seconder in a way that it fits every medium appropriately, without losing its freshness.

Elaborating on the objective of bringing Singh on board as brand ambassador, Agarwal says, "Rupa Frontline has considerable selection among consumers. It is a major player in the mid-premium innerwear segment with a sizeable share in the mass market. Even when there was no celeb endorsement for the last few years, we were recognised as one of the best brands by ET Best Brands, 2014. However, through this celebrity endorsement, we want to reach male audiences who are trying to be macho and follow an aspirational attitude in their lives. Undoubtedly, introduction of Ranveer Singh is injecting fresh charm in the consumers' mind and will help us in targeting people who now have larger disposable income."

"As the brand and celebrity have many similar characteristics, we wanted our communication to seamlessly marry all of these," he says about the creative brief.

Rupa Frontline has earlier been endorsed by Govinda, Sanjay Dutt, Karan Singh Grover and Anuj Sachdeva. The brand has continuously adapted its communication either to suit the celebrity's style or in a bid to reposition itself. The taglines that have been used by the brand so far include, 'Yeh Aaram Ka Mamla Hai' , Yeh Style Ka Mamla Hai and 'Raho Duniya Se Ek Kadam Aage'. Agarwal informs that, with this ad, the brand wanted to establish that everything is possible in a "cool" manner and hence the tagline "Yeh Aaram ka Mamla Hai" has been reinforced.

The new ad has drawn flak from People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The animal rights organization has accused the brand of showing a defense-less animal being abused by a celebrity. In the TVC, Singh can be seen punching a shark and tossing it into the sky, subsequently. The brand has clarified that the shark shown in the commercial was, in fact, a rubber toy and no animal was used in the shoot. To this effect, a disclaimer will also be added to the TVC.

Thumbs Up 'Aaram Se'?

Jagdeep Kapoor

Jagdeep Kapoor, brand guru and CMD, Samsika Marketing Consultants, believes that while the brand has stuck to its positioning, the execution is "different" and "peppy". He further says, "It has greater enthusiasm, livens up the brand and would be able to get a lot of new young consumers in the consideration set. It has been able to use the product category in different consumption shots which are blatant but impactful."

Speaking on the choice of Singh as the new brand ambassador, he says, "He has put life in the brand and made it contemporary. After all, if a brand is not contemporary, it is temporary."

Pranav Harihar Sharma

However, the ad does not seem to impress Pranav Harihar Sharma, executive creative director, Grey Group. According to him, it is reminiscent of advertising from the 1970s where people were "mesmerised by a brand ambassador."

He states, "The youth, today, wants content that is emotionally engaging, fresh and surprising. It is no more the case of 'Crass is Mass'. There has to be a relevant connect with the brand which the ad fails to establish." According to him, Rupa's previous campaigns with Bollywood celebs were similar, and that when brands plan for a change in their communication, expectations are higher. For him, the ad does not stand out in terms of the idea and execution.

Sharma opines that the brand is being overshadowed by Singh and his usual gigs. "Unlike Ranveer's previous musicals, this one does not even have a memorable jingle. The Chings ad at least had a hook - 'Ranveer Ching'. It had the brand name upfront, right in the catchphrase. But here, the product is not playing any role and is thus reduced to a prop," he infers.

Founded in 1979, Rupa & Company is a leading knitwear brand in India, covering the entire range of knitted garments from innerwear to casual wear for men, women and kids. It has over 25 brands, popular among which are Rupa Frontline, Macroman, Macroman M' Series, Euro, Bumchums, Thermocot, Femmora, Kidline, Softline, Ribline, Jon, Air, and Imoogi. The company sells its products through approximately 1, 18,000 owned retail outlets and dealers.

Currently, the Indian innerwear market is worth Rs. 56.28 billion and is estimated to grow at 18.61 per cent in the next couple of years. This growth is being attributed to the burgeoning young working segment, changing fashion trends, increased awareness about better fits, quality, brands, colours, styling, increasing per capita disposable incomes, rising level of information, media exposure and entry of large number of foreign brands.

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