Ever since Cyrus Broacha walked into that college some four months ago and was asked 'Khaane walon ko khaane ka bahaana kyon chahiye?', it was clear that Cadbury India was brewing a new communication idea for its flagship chocolate brand, Cadbury Dairy Milk (CDM). For after four years and three commercials of legitimizing mass consumption of chocolate (by providing consumers excuses for eating it), the fourth and last 'bahaana' ad actually stood the 'excuse route' on its head by telling the consumer that you don't, after all, need an excuse to eat chocolates.
That last 'bahaana' ad also laid the foundations for the narration of a new brand story. One that took the CDM brand another step forward from the groundbreaking 'Real Taste of Life' (RTOL) campaign of 1994. Well, that brand story has just broken in the media - in the form of two new television commercials.
The first commercial ('sailor') is about this sailor who is returning home after a considerable time at sea. From snatches of 'flashback', it becomes evident that while answering the call of duty, the sailor had left his sweetheart behind. And that before leaving her, he had told her that when he returned, he would look out for her dupatta tied to a tree as a sign that she was still waiting for him.
As the bus he is in lumbers along, the background score strikes up. 'Kisi din jeet ho/kisi din haar ho/Koi sang meet ho/koi sang yaar ho/Koi bhi baat ho/Koi apna saath ho/Koi apna khaas ho…' The closer the bus draws to his home, the higher his anxiety mounts. He imagines getting off the bus to find a bare tree… Finally, he reaches his destination and dismounts. And sure enough, he sees the tree festooned with colourful dupattas. And peeping out from behind the tree, his beloved, who rushes into his arms… The signoff: 'Saath rahe har pal.'
The second commercial ('tennis match') has a man playing a decisive game in a tennis match. The hitch - he has just conceded an 'advantage' to his opponent. As he focuses on the game, his young son seated in the stands eggs him on, 'C'mon, dad.' The opponent serves. The father returns. The ball slices the air… cannons into the net… and falls back on this side of the court.
Anguished in defeat, the father takes a towel and covers his face. As the background score strikes up, the son gently wipes a tear, makes his way to where his father is seated and gives him a huge hug - as if to say, 'It's okay, it's just a game.' The father smiles and returns the hug. 'Saath rahe har pal.'
"The idea came from an observation of how - or rather, when - chocolate is consumed," reveals Piyush Pandey, group president & national creative director, O&M India. "Typically, we always talk about chocolates being eaten when everyone is happy. And this is something advertising has always mirrored. But we found that chocolates are eaten under diverse conditions and moods - when people are anxious, when they are sad, when happy… a whole range of emotions. Now if you take a distillation of this thought, chocolate is a true soulmate. Someone who is with you through the ups and downs of life, helping you bounce back. And that's what CDM is - a khaas saathi. This is the thought that we have captured through different human-relationship plots. We are just showing the way CDM features in the consumer's life."
When viewed through the prism of market reality, the communication assumes new significance. CDM, as a brand, has been able to extend its consumer base by a fair bit over the past eight years, primarily due to the RTOL and 'bahaana' campaigns. But while the brand has to keep adding new consumers, it also needs to consolidate the relationship it shares with existing consumers. Growing the category is pointless without consolidation.
"RTOL legitimized adult consumption of chocolates by asking people to shed inhibitions, while 'bahaana' legitimized mass consumption by providing a socio-cultural context for eating chocolates," says Simmi Sabhaney, vice-president, O&M India. "But the task here was to get CDM to play the part of a true iconic brand by talking to everyone. And to do that, it had to say something that was true of chocolates - and CDM in particular. So when we saw that CDM consumption can be associated with a spectrum of emotions, we realized that the brand shared a 'true friend's' bond with the consumer. All we needed to do was cement this bond."
Of the two commercials, the first is likely to find greater mass appeal, given the Bollywood-ish storyline and the boy-girl situation. The second ad, on the other hand, "is more evolved", as Pandey puts it. "It's a more natural story of a defeated man and the way his son helps him tackle his trauma. To every child, his or her father is the greatest… is infallible. But here you have the child coping with not just his own disappointment but his father's too." One interesting thing about this ad is the clever role reversal - a young boy consoling an adult. "I think the two ads tell how the idea can carry both victory and defeat equally well," Pandey adds.
The agency settled on two different storylines because each ad appeals to a different set of people. "The advertising is basically an articulation of the relationship CDM has with its consumers - in the way they see it," says Sabhaney. "You will see CDM as a true friend in the context dear to you… either in the father-son context or in the boy-girl one." Pandey adds that within the agency, people are placing equal bets on both ads.
While we're on comparisons, the father-son commercial is natural not only because it has a more 'believable' plot, but also because of the way CDM figures in the ad. The chocolate makes its appearance - that too very naturally - only towards the end of the commercial, which enhances the emotion. In the case of the 'sailor' ad, the pack-shots sometimes appear 'planted', and are, at times, more central than the situation warrants. Â© 2002 agencyfaqs!