A men's grooming ad with no vanity shots? Marico's Anuradha Aggarwal explains why...

By Sankalp Dikshit , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | June 15, 2017
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A look at Marico's new ad for 'Parachute Advansed Men Hair Cream', a product targeted at men who're too busy to preen.

When was the last time you saw a men's vanity product ad that was devoid of gloss and charming male models flaunting their uber cool good looks? Well, Marico has done just that with its latest ad film for its newly launched product - Parachute Advansed Men Hair Cream. The latest offering is a part of Marico's larger range of Parachute's men grooming products which includes hair gel brand - Set Wet. The hair cream comes in three variants - Classic After-Shower Hair Cream, Anti-Dandruff with Lemon & Neem and Anti-Hair Fall with Almond.

With the new line of products, Parachute marks a foray into a specialised segment that is dominated by key players like the British brand, Brylcreem and the Indian brand, Himalaya. Parachute aims to target men in the twenty-nine plus age bracket with these products.

Anuradha Aggarwal

In order to better understand the campaign's pitch, afaqs! decided to speak to the lady at the helm of Marico's marketing affairs. Anuradha Aggarwal, chief marketing officer, Marico tells us, "The brand is a representation of men who take little or no care of themselves as they prioritise their duty or work over their look. Indian men usually use a combination of water and hair oils or creams for styling after a shower in the morning. We felt the need to create a brand for men's hair, which forms an integral part of their look. It was important to introduce a brand to those men who neglect their looks, one that will take care of them while they take care of their duties. Hence, functionality was only limited to the digital platform, and was not showcased in the TVC."

"It was important to introduce a brand to those men who neglect their looks, one that will take care of them while they take care of their duties. Hence, functionality was only limited to the digital platform, and was not showcased in the TVC." Anuradha Aggarwal, chief marketing officer, Marico

When a company has two brands competing in similar categories, product differentiation can be tricky, particularly in terms of marketing campaigns. Aggarwal explains, "Set Wet is a brand for a younger age group (19 years to 24 years), looking to make an impact - for it, anonymity is death. Parachute Advansed Men however, believes that men around the age group of 29 plus, often de-prioritise grooming... Hence, through the new array of non-sticky hair products, the brand aims to intervene and protect their hair from the extremities that their lifestyle throws them into. For Marico, the task was to create a second male grooming brand apart from Set Wet. While the Parachute Advansed Aftershower variant has been in existence, the Parachute Advansed Men range is expanding the relevance of the brand, and plans to go across hair nourishment products."

Kainaz Karmakar

Harshad Rajadhyaksha

The minute-long ad film is based on the idea that good men deserve to look good. The TVC was first released by the brand's YouTube channel on June 2, 2017. Crafted and conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather India, the ad film features men in uniform - a sharp contrast to the glossy ad films that one is accustomed to viewing for hair grooming products. The film starts with a male voice-over (VO) that alludes to several hardships that men in uniform have to go through on a daily basis. The VO is accompanied by powerful visuals - a soldier is fighting a war but yet cleans-up well to meet his loved one at a party, a doctor who stays up late taking care of his patients tidies himself to meet his family, and a firefighter who risks his life for people although they are not related to him.

Speaking on the campaign, Kainaz Karmakar, executive creative director, Ogilvy & Mather India tells afaqs!, "Through the film we see the philosophy of 'good men deserve to look good' come alive through various situations. In the last sequence, we see that a fireman saves a life and then when his duty is done, he uses the product and heads out for the evening. This clearly shows the role of the brand and how to use it. The term 'achhai andar se bahar tak', applies to the men in the ad as well as the product."

Harshad Rajadhyaksha, executive creative director, Ogilvy & Mather India, adds, "The consumers don't need to be spoon-fed every detail. They are intelligent individuals who absorb communication and more often than not, take away the correct message. We have no doubt that this piece of work will be received well and the logic and the magic will both be appreciated."

It's gloss vs content, but who wins this battle?

Marico is no stranger to men's grooming products. The brand's hot property, Set Wet is a glaring example of how one markets vanity products for men in a traditional way - Remember Aditya Roy Kapoor and Ranveer Singh teaching you how to make the right impression with the 'Sada Sexy Raho' ad campaign?

Marico's Set Wet's past campaigns featuring glossy visuals

We asked our experts if they felt that the concept driven approach towards marketing this new product works or not. Vibha Desai, director, Vibha Desai Consulting, tells afaqs!, "My first reaction was that it's nice to see a non-glossy film, without everyone preening in the mirror. The attempt is to show good people doing good things and un-apologetically saying that even good people can take a little care to look good sometimes. They seem to be targeting a more rugged audience who feel hair creams as such are sissy and feminine. It's a clear attempt at expanding the market."

Vibha Desai

Paddy Rangappa

Speaking about the execution, Desai says, "... What I feel is that the ad could have done better if it had stronger writing. It tries to go to a higher place but the writing restricts it. The visuals hold together the storyline pretty well."

Upon close scrutiny, one can observe that the ad hardly has any elaborate demo shots that generally dominate the TVCs of almost all rival brands. "It's (demo shots) obviously important but is secondary to a strong storyline. It must be impactful so that it's not overshadowed by the story. In the case of this ad, I think the product has been woven in adequately to register. I think the non-glossy feel to the ad is deliberate and works for the desired objective. It has strong brand communication which is focused and targeted," Desai adds.

Agreeing with Desai, Paddy Rangappa, author of the book Spark - the Insight to Growing Brands, shares with us, "I think this is a bold attempt by Parachute to position a male grooming product against the concept of grooming; i.e. it is for men who don't have time to spend on grooming because they're doing more important things. And the ad is consistent to this messaging, highlighting the lifestyle of such men and showing why they have no time for grooming."

Appreciating the ad quality and declaring it to be highly interesting, Rangappa maintains that the ad could have done wonders if it had stronger emotional connect.


Executive Creative Directors: Harshad Rajadhyaksha and Kainaz Karmakar
Executive Vice President: Abhik Santara
Creative Team: Kumar Suryavanshi, Harshik Suraiya, Harshada Shinde, Jason Samuel, Vikrant Rajan
Account Management: Shivali Nair, Puneet Dewli, Pranav Shetty
Account Planning: Prem Narayan, Vipasha Bhuptani, Nadia Miranda
Production House: Good Morning Films
Director: Afshan Shaikh
Producer: Vikram Kalra, Estelle Lichnowski

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