Titan sells French perfume Skinn on the back of French copywriting

By Aditi Srivastava , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | July 20, 2016
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Part of the brand's #BornFrench campaign, this ad film has been created by Ogilvy & Mather.

"Perfume is the most intense form of memory", said renowned perfume maker Jean Paul Guerlain. A good fragrance is believed to directly impact and heighten one's olfactory sense. Hinged upon this insight, Titan, the popular watch brand, has rolled out its first all-French television advertisement #BornFrench, for Skinn, Titan's perfume brand with its range of exquisite French fragrances. The four week-long campaign that has commenced on July 15, will go on until August 11.

The television campaign depicts a flirtatious banter between a man and a woman at a perfume store where each tries to woo the other through the power of French scents (Raw and Sheer fragrances) in an intriguing and mesmerising sort of way. The 30-seconder created by Ogilvy & Mather, Bengaluru, and produced by Good Morning Films, went on air on July 15, and was initially aired without any subtitles. That added to the surprise element even as it tried to establish a French connect. Later, the same TVC was aired as a 50-seconder with English subtitles.

The brand had launched its first TV campaign conceptualised by J Walter Thompson in 2014 with two ad films - Titan Skinn - For Men and For Women, which were 35 second, and 32 second-long, respectively.

Kalpana Rangamani

Commenting on the latest ad film, Kalpana Rangamani, business head, fragrances, Titan, says, "With Skinn, our aim is to make fine French fragrances accessible to men and women with our sweet price point. We have seen that perfumery, as a category, is well accepted among the young, contemporary, and well-travelled audience. By showcasing a witty and flirtatious conversation in the ad film, we are appealing to a category of modern consumers who are confident in their own skin and celebrate the nuances of life. The film establishes the French connect of Skinn fragrances which are crafted by master perfumers and bottled in France, a testament to the product quality."

She adds further, "Through our research on usage in urban India, we've seen that the roles of product formats and categories are all blurred and interchangeable in the minds of Indian consumers. They are using functional products like deodorants (de-odourising products) and anti-perspirants as fragrance. Another barrier for most people to try fine fragrances is an assumption that they are exorbitantly expensive. With Skinn, we aim at making fine French fragrances accessible."

One can also notice that the current ad film focusses only on two variants - Sheer and Raw. When quizzed about it, Rangamani goes on to say, "The choice of variants to be used in the ad was only as per the vision that the production team had for the film. Our aim is to generate an awareness for the brand and category, and not for any particular variant. Moreover, a fragrance is a very personal choice. Our range has been crafted by master perfumers for Indian preferences for which they specifically travelled to India to understand the market. We are certain that each and every one of our variants will find favour with specific consumers based on their liking."

The ads have been shot in Mumbai with a French voiceover artiste having lent his voice to the whole composition, along with the attire and background score which are also French-inspired. The campaign targets males and females in metros and non-metros within the age bracket of 21-25 years, mostly the young, working population, having taken up their first jobs and are driven by an aspirational value in order to smell good and make a good impression on their counterparts. The campaign is also being promoted on the brand's digital platforms in addition to the youth and lifestyle channels like NDTV Good Times on which it is being currently aired.

Priced at Rs 1,140 each for 50 ml, and Rs 1,840 each for 100 ml, the fragrances are available in 1,350 outlets across World of Titan, multi-brand lifestyle and accessories stores such as Shoppers Stop, Central, Pantaloons, Westside, and Lifestyle, online partners, and authorised dealers in India.

Azazul Haque

Azazul Haque, executive creative director, Ogilvy & Mather, adds, "This being Skinn's second major TV campaign, we were keen to break clutter and get noticed by the consumer in this loud market. With this ad film in all French, we believe the brand will evoke the desired intrigue at launch, which will then be followed by a version with English subtitles on TV and online. It is a very bold and gutsy move by the brand to launch an ad film in a foreign language - a decision we are thrilled and excited about."

When asked about the brief, Haque shares, "The brief given to us was to portray Skinn By Titan as an international product that would live up to its image as it stands in competition with international brands." Talking about the biggest challenge while shooting the ad film, Haque adds, "The biggest challenge for us was that the actors being cast ought to look real along with being stylish and have a global appeal simultaneously. Also, their expressions had to come out effectively in keeping with the French theme."

Mesmerising Enough?

Ashish Phatak, executive creative director, DDB Mudra West, finds both ads to be 'quite watchable' as they strongly communicate the 'French perfume' bit, and he likes the idea of 'Letting your fragrance do the talking'.

Ashish Phatak

Ninad Satpute

"The French language angle immediately gets my attention. There's good reason to use French. It's not just an attention-getting gimmick, so that's a good thing," says Phatak.

Comparing the old TVCs with the new one, he shares, "Not that those are great commercials, but they're both charming in their own way. The previous ones have some great shots that try to bring alive the feel of the perfume. I also like the simplicity of the previous ones. Having said that, the new ones have a stronger connect to their French origins, and I suspect that's what the brief was aiming for as well."

On the other hand, Ninad Satpute, vice-president, planning, BBDO India, says, "While there are many Indian deodorant brands which have established themselves, there is no Indian perfume brand which readily comes to mind. What Titan is trying to do is interesting and challenging as it is trying to create a new category."

He further opines, "Perfumes work by creating imaginary worlds around the product and this brand is appropriating the values associated with France in the Indian popular imagination. France stands for romance, glamour, and sophistication, and the brand claims this upfront by saying "Born French". A few Indian brands have successfully tried various associations such as with a place in the past. One such brand is Monte Carlo."

Satpute feels that the use of the (French) language provides tangibility to the abstract notion of 'Being French', and that he is able to connect better with the new commercials."

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