Blind protagonist in new cosmetics ad; a Kaabil-inspired media plan?

By Suraj Ramnath , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | February 01, 2017
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Aravind Laboratories has released a digital ad for cosmetics brand Eyetex Dazller. We asked the agency, SoCheers Infotech, whether the timing has anything to do with the release of the movie Kaabil, in which the lead actors are visually impaired.

Taking some help from a subject like disability to advertise their products is not new brand strategy. Eyetex Dazller, a cosmetic brand from the house of Aravind Laboratories, recently launched its digital film 'Real Cosmetics for Real People' conceptualised by SoCheers Infotech on a similar note.

The ad starts with a beautician helping the bride with her makeup for her wedding. The bride in the ad is none other than Shreya Dhanwanthary, one of the lead actress of popular web-series Ladies Room. As the beautician completes the bride's makeup, the groom comes in and sits next to her, holds her hand and gently kisses it. The bride is surprised but doesn't look in the groom's direction and that's when the audience realises that the bride is blind. The ad completes a message, 'Real Cosmetics for Real People'. Interestingly, there are no dialogues in this ad, only background music and the actors' expressions.

From right to left - Shreya Dhanwanthary and Saba Azad in Ladies Room

The ad has currently got more than five lakh views on Facebook and 10,271 views on YouTube. The brand's target audience is the middle class and a little above middle class female segment. Eyetex Dazller is present all across the south markets and in markets such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

In the past, the brand took the glamour route to communicate with its audience (Eyetex Dazller - Nail Polish & Lipsticks and Eyetex Dazller - Dazzler Girl). SoCheers Infotech won the account in the month of December 2016 and looking at the current ad, we notice a change in the brief.

Mehul Gupta

Talking about the brief, Mehul Gupta, co-founder, SoCheers Infotech, says, "Today, all cosmetic brands are trying to showcase glamour in a western style but we wanted to show glamour in a desi avatar. We wanted to add a little touch of desi, the reason being, we belong to this 'desiness' and the promoters too, are extremely down to earth people. And that was the brief - We want to be desi."

We asked Gupta about the risk of casting Shreya Dhanwanthary considering her role in Ladies Room and her recent Fogg commercial. He says, "We were actually in two minds about choosing not just the actress but the overall crew. It was after a lot of discussion and possibilities that we decided to go with this crew. After the storyboarding was done, and the ad was edited, we found that the message is being conveyed really well. Shreya did a very good job and so did the entire crew."

A still from Bollywood movie Kaabil

Interestingly, Bollywood movie Kaabil starring Hrithik Roshan and Yami Gautam released on January 25 this year. In the movie, both play the role of visually challenged individuals who get married. So we asked Gupta if it was a planned move to launch the ad just before the movie?

He says, "Honestly, zero per cent planning but yes, it did play a very important role in convincing our client. This script has been with us since November as we've been in talks with the client all this while, and by the time we started our activation and came on board it was the first week of December."

He adds, "The client had doubts about how people will perceive the ad and we gave them some references. Kaabil was releasing at about the same time and played a small role in convincing my client in eventually getting this ad rolled out. However, neither me nor my scriptwriter knew about the actress getting married to the actor in the movie."

We asked our digital expert if the ad stands out among brands that have used disability as a subject and whether it runs a risk of women not buying into the brand thinking it's only for disabled persons.

Madhura Haldipur

Madhura Haldipur, creative lead, copy, DigitasLBi, says, "It's a beauty brand, and there's only been a handful of brands in this category that have touched upon disability. That should help it gain some visibility. Whether it stands out for the right reasons is always debatable, especially when you're using disabilities to advertise a product that may not necessarily call for it."

She adds, "I don't think the TG will get confused because the brand has tried to close it with an inclusive tagline. From a communication standpoint, though, there's some dissonance with the theme of the film. As far as masses buying into the brand, this category primarily works on sampling and recommendations, so that's a different battle to fight."

Adding about the execution Haldipur says, "The execution of the film itself is good, but since it's digital, it's missing legs that could help translate it onto social platforms and therefore, limits engagement. In terms of casting, sure, advertising is all about the pretty, made-up faces with supporting spouses, and while they've tried to give it a context here, it's not always the best reflection of what real women are or look like."

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