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Liril: Tuning in with the times

By , agencyfaqs! | In | April 05, 2004
The famed Liril jingle has largely been done away with in the ad for new variant Liril Orange Splash, signaling the near-complete reinvention of Liril advertising


It was back in mid-2001 that Hindustan Lever's (HLL) flagship freshness soap brand, Liril, made its first break from 25 years of history by pulling the 'Liril girl' out of the ubiquitous waterfall. What followed was the much-discussed 'desert' commercial, featuring then Liril girl Tara Sharma cavorting among a bevy of matka-bearing Rajasthani women. Then, in April 2002, the lime-green soap severed another link binding it to the past when HLL launched a blue-coloured variant (Icy Cool Mint) with a menthol-based formulation. The communication for Icy Cool Mint resolutely steered clear of the waterfall, focusing, instead, on the 'icy cool' bathing experience that the variant promised consumers.

Even as Liril underwent some fundamental changes at the product and brand communication levels, one tangible Liril property preserved the thread of continuity between the past and the present - the trademark 'laa-la-la-la-laah' refrain, which has served as one of the most memorable mnemonics of the brand. Of course, the rendition of the refrain was routinely tweaked to match the demands of the creative situation - a husky rendition interspersed with Rajasthani dialect in the 'desert' commercial; a shivery, breath-catching-in-the-throat one for the Icy Cool Mint variant. But the fact that it was the Liril refrain was never in doubt.

However, with the commercial for the brand's latest variant, Liril Orange Splash, the famed refrain has, for the most part, been done away with, signaling the near-complete reinvention of Liril advertising. It's not as if the refrain has no place in the new communication. It does, in the form of the opening and closing bars of the new jingle. But by and large, the stray strands of 'laa-la-la-la-laah' are muted, and serve only in accentuating the effervescence characterized in the new jingle, 'Uff, yummah!'. More on that anon. First, a brief look at the commercial, which goes on air later today.

This film, like the one that first did away with the waterfall, is also set in a parched desert, and opens on the Liril girl (Deepika Padukone) on the dry dunes. However, the woman appears to be right under some magical yet invisible cloudburst, as water rains and splashes all over her as she dances in abandon. Her infectious joy takes an effect over some village urchins who quickly join her in her rain dance - all this interspersed with shots of fresh oranges being squeezed. The jingle, meanwhile, goes, 'Uff, yummah… Uff, yummah!' in the background. The film ends with the girl throwing tossing a Liril Orange Splash to a villager watching her…

"Liril's orange variant is all about freshness and youthful zest, and this was what we had to communicate through the ad," says Balki (R Balakrishnan), executive creative director, Lowe. "What we said is, instead of directly saying that the soap is about freshness, what if we metaphorically showed that the woman who is using Liril is a never-ending supply freshness? This we did by showing her as the source of the rain and joy in the desert. The Liril woman is the freshness that impacts the world." This is the first time that such a thought has been articulated in Liril advertising, it must be added.

Balki reveals that the decision to go with the new Liril jingle was jointly taken by HLL and Lowe. "It was the client who rightly pointed out that if a brand stands for 'freshness', it can't play the same old track back to audiences over and over again," he says. "The old track is not sacrosanct, and as there is a need to infuse freshness, we decided to go with the new track, which has been inspired by an Illayaraja composition. The tune fitted in very well with the imagery that we had created for the orange variant." An HLL spokesperson on the brand points out that the jingle is "not a huge departure" from the old tune. Yet, he admits to the executional change in the music. "The music has evolved, and has been made more modern and contemporary in keeping with the times," he says. "We didn't want to lose the old Liril flavour, which stands for freshness. The new jingle retains a part of the old jingle, and is still a refreshing break from the previous advertising."

The use of the phrase 'Uff, yummah!' in the new jingle is something that immediately catches attention. Although essentially meaningless, 'Uff, yummah!' can stand for any sentiment that borders on surprise or wonder… something of a cross between 'Oh my God!', 'whew!' and 'too much'. "Freshness and taazgi, as words, have been done to death in advertising," remarks Balki. "'Uff, yummah!' captures the feeling of freshness and taazgi, but expresses it in a very different way, which is why we used it. The term is, in a way open, to interpretation."

The spokesperson for HLL adds that 'Uff, yummah!' has connotations of youth and energy, as well as that of the unexpected. "Liril stands for the unexpected and the exciting as much as it stands for freedom and the absence of inhibition," he says. "The objective is to retain the element of the unexpected in Liril advertising, and 'Uff, yummah!' is one such device. We will have to see how we use the phrase in Liril communication as we go along." © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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