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Bajaj Coolest: Appropriating the 'chill factor'

By , agencyfaqs! | In | April 21, 2003
The new two-ad campaign for Bajaj Coolest is an attempt at long-term branding by driving consumer recall as well as shoring up the confidence of the trade


An old man, reclining on a chair, slowly leafs through a book. A tall, white fridge stands in the background - behind and to the left of the old man. A set of dentures in a glass bowl sits on a table in the foreground.

Sounds familiar? Ah-ha!

Anyway, the old man slowly leafs through the book… when, suddenly, a kind of rattling starts. (Rattling, mind you, not chattering.) Rattle, rattle, rattle.

What the viewer sees - and the old man does not - is that the fridge in the background has begun shaking on its four legs. One by one, things placed on top of the fridge drop to the ground.

Naturally, the old man's ears also pick up the rattling noise and his eyes automatically stray to the bowl on the table. As the rattling increases, he sits up, and peers intently at the dentures in the bowl. Nothing happening there.

Nonplussed, the man turns and stares at the fridge, which is now rocking right down to its foundations. Unable to make any sense out of this new twist in the tale, he casts around aimlessly for an explanation. Suddenly, it dawns on him. He trains his eyes on an air cooler sitting on the floor. 'Bajaj Coolest. Ekdum solid cooling,' announces the voiceover.

This is the first ad of a two-commercial campaign that Leo Burnett India has created for Bajaj Electricals' air cooler brand, Bajaj Coolest. The second spot ('party') is about this building which is on fire. As firemen fight the raging flames, one firefighter rushes down a corridor, looking to evacuate the building. He chances upon a closed door and bangs on it furiously. Getting no response, he backs away, hefts his fire extinguisher and rushes the door to batter it down.

Just when he is about to hit the door, it opens and he careens inside - to find himself in the middle of a fancy-dress party in full swing. Seeing his fireman's getup, he is immediately welcomed by the partying crowd, which is oblivious to the fire gripping the building. 'Baahar chaahe jitnee garmi ho, Bajaj Coolest de ekdum solid cooling,' the voiceover explains, as the fireman looks upon the festivities uncomprehendingly.

While the second ad is interesting and relevant, what makes the first eminently watchable is the manner in which it - without spoofing - cleverly cues the 'dentures' ad for Kelvinator. Without in any way disparaging the Kelvinator ad or its claim, this one simply spells out its 'coolest' proposition by suggestively chilling out 'the coolest one' (as accepted in the universe of Indian advertising and marketing). And the good part is that the idea is not wholly dependent on the viewer having seen the Kelvinator ad… though that helps.

"The idea is to leverage the brand's 'coolest' message and create a lasting impact in the consumer's mind," says R Ramakrishnan, president & chief operating officer, Bajaj Electricals. "We don't have huge spends, so the advertising had to deliver a strong message and get us media weight and GRPs." Explaining the approach to the advertising, he continues, "When it comes to coolers, even category advertising has been fairly lackluster. The usual route has been problem-solution driven, that too non-creative, in most cases. Given the fact that coolers aren't intrinsically an exciting category, we realized if we had to cut through so much advertising clutter, we had to deliver our message in the most refreshing manner, while sticking to our core proposition of being the coolest cooler."

Both client and agency maintain that the Coolest can lay claim to the 'coolest cooler' proposition on account of a 'technological device' that has been incorporated in the product. This device is essentially a 'honeycomb' design, which replaces the traditional 'carpets/mats' found in coolers. Bajaj Electricals claims that laboratory tests have proved that this device - branded ChillTrap technology - creates a drop in ambient temperature which is 45-per cent superior to what other coolers achieve. "ChillTrap, which is essentially a dynamization of technology, was used very effectively to create primary sales (sales to dealers) last year," says Yubaraj Bhattacharya, group account director, Leo Burnett India.

The agency, however, believes that ChillTrap, by itself, can only take the brand forward that much. Which is why it has chosen not to make a song-and-dance about the technology, per se. "ChillTrap is a reason-to-believe and can only aid consumer acceptance," says Bhattacharya. "It cannot be a selling idea. What we wanted to sell is the idea that the Coolest is the best cooler around."

What the advertising actually does is try and extract maximum mileage out of the generic category benefit - cooling. "There is no evolutionary process to the strategy we have employed, and this is because the category advertising itself hasn't evolved," Agnello Dias, executive creative director, Leo Burnett India, points out. "The creative thought here was to dramatize and execute the generic category benefit in as exciting and engaging a manner as possible." Adds Ramakrishnan, "'Ekdum solid cooling' meets the category promise, and we want to own the category."

Interestingly, the two ads mark the Coolest's first attempts at mass brand building at the consumer level. In the past, much of the communication for the brand has been targeted at dealers. And whatever little consumer advertising had happened was limited to press and in-shop. The reason for this is that in this category, marketers usually bank on primary sales, and the onus of selling to consumers rests on the dealers. However, with this round of television advertising, Bajaj is clearly wagering on consumer pull to supplement trade push.

Generating consumer demand and helping the trade liquidate stocks also has long-term implications for branding. Bhattacharya points out that given the season-specific nature of the category - and the fact that the trade pays in advance - there is a strong tendency among dealers to resort to heavy discounting as the cooler season tapers off. "However, in the long-term, trade-led schemes devalue the brand, which impacts branding," he says. "What we are trying to do is attach brand value at both the consumer and trade levels."

This round of advertising is as much about driving consumers recall as it is about co-opting the trade. "Though primary sales may have been achieved, the onus is still on us to sell, as that is the only thing that will translate into market share," says Ramakrishnan. "Plus, we want to gain the confidence of dealers by telling them we are with them, and establish ourselves as a serious player in the category."

Bajaj wants to be taken seriously. And it wants a larger piece of the 7-lakh-units-per-annum pie (of which the organized sector accounts for 3 lakh units). While the domestic cooler market itself is stagnating, there is gravitation from metal-bodied coolers (primarily unbranded) to plastic bodies (the organized players). And while market-leader KenStar and Symphony continue to lead Bajaj in the organized market, Bajaj has been growing steadily (from 11,000 units three years ago to 35,000 units last year to 52,000 units this year) at the expense of both unbranded and branded players (such as Usha and Crompton Greaves). "The attempt is to sell 75,000 units in 2003-04 and become the clear number two in the organized market," says Ramakrishnan. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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