Adland's new bahu shows tough love with no dialogues in this spot...

By Suraj Ramnath , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | February 28, 2018
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A look at All Out's new ad film #StandByToughMoms, created by BBDO and directed by Shoojit Sircar.

In the past, brands like Hyundai, Surf Excel, Bournvita etc., through their ads, have focused on topics such as tough love or the bond between a mother and child. Now, SC Johnson has launched a new digital campaign - #StandByToughMoms - for its mosquito repellent brand 'All Out'. The ad has been conceptualised by BBDO India (Gurgaon) and directed by Shoojit Sircar.

The three-minute-long film by All Out talks about the importance of families supporting mothers while taking tough parental decisions. The film starts with a joint family having dinner and a lady serving them the meal. As she serves her son his food, he pushes the plate away in anger. This child's "brattish" behaviour continues for a second time due to which the mother takes his plate away. Witnessing this harsh behaviour from the mother, the family members, including her own husband, start reprimanding her saying that the child doesn't deserve such punishment because he had taken Rs 10 from his mother's purse earlier. The lady's father-in-law comes to her rescue by saying she did the right thing because today the child 'stole' the money and is throwing a tantrum by not eating and if not corrected now, he could end up doing far worse things in the future.

In the past, Shoojit Sircar has directed several ad films, the most recent being Mirinda's #ReleaseThePressure. He has also directed ads for TVS Jupiter. We asked him how different it is for him to shoot a film for Jupiter, where he has to focus on Amitabh Bachchan, the brand and the story, compared to this film for All Out.

Shoojit Sircar Shoojit Sircar

He says, "It is absolutely different. In the Jupiter ad films, we are selling the product and in these films, we are raising some hardcore social issues. For Mirinda, it was about comparison pressure. These films (All Out and Mirinda) are a pure reflection of society and you have to pick and present the pure reality of society as convincingly as possible. These have absolutely no connection with the ad films that present the product."

We asked Sircar when he doesn't have to sell a product in the film, how easy does it become for him. He responds, "It gives me a lot of freedom to make the film the way I think because these films are from the director's point of view; so a lot depends on the director's vision and how he wants to present it."

Viewers will notice that the brand, All Out, has nothing to do with the script or the film. The product just appears at the end of the ad. We asked our digital experts to comment on the execution and if the topic of tough love has been overdone by brands?

Richa Goel Richa Goel

Rajavi Shah Rajavi Shah

Richa Goel, senior business director, Isobar India, says, "In my opinion, it is rather the portrayal of a friendly or a forgiving mother that has been overdone. It's important for us to show a more holistic picture of motherhood. For most of us, our mothers were our first teachers and taking the punitive route was purely a way to impart some crucial life-lessons. And on that front, this ad hits a home run with a very fresh and real depiction of motherhood."

She adds, "While a brand is supposed to be the point of origin for its products, it may still have an identity and a story beyond its products. This ad film packs a punch with its extremely relatable message-oriented narrative and in the end, it directly associates with the brand tagline - It's good to be tough. Such an execution has helped them catch the attention of their TG and also take a social stand, in parallel."

Rajavi Shah, account director, FoxyMoron, says, "While multiple brands have already showcased the importance of empowering moms in the past, this video is unique because it breaks the shackles of patriarchy with patriarchal hierarchy itself, just like fighting fire with fire. As the quote goes, 'When you educate a woman, you educate a family', this video brings out an important and meaningful message of, 'When you #standbytoughmoms, you protect the next generation'!"

She adds, "In a country like India, there's no dearth of social stereotypes and there's always room to bring about change. Such impactful campaigns have great potential to engage viewers in meaningful conversation by showcasing important topics. It's excellent that unlike most campaigns, the video is not overtly branded. The viewer would not suspect that it's a branded video, which gives it a surprise element leading to greater recall value."

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