Aishwarya Ramesh

2020: a busy year for dishwashers and its advertising

Before lockdown, few houses had dishwashers, but the coronavirus pandemic has created marketing activity in an otherwise dormant category.

Everyone's least favourite chore in the house is washing dishes. It was a task largely relegated to the household help, but that changed with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. According to a Times of India report, the demand for dishwashers has jumped by 70-80 per cent this year (2020).

In India, some of the brands that sell dishwashers in India include Bosch, Siemens (both owned by BSH Home Appliances), LG, Whirlpool, IFB, Voltas Beko, Hindware, among others. Google Trends reveals that the search interest in the term 'dishwasher', has shot up between April and June, before declining and eventually increasing again towards the end of October.

After interest in the product rose, these brands began to invest in advertising for dishwashers. The latest dishwasher ad running on television happens to be an old ad for Faber dishwashers. The company which otherwise specialises in selling chimneys saw it fit to push their product at this time, even as India is in phase 6.0 of ‘unlock’.

Also Read: Will dishwasher sales finally take off in India?

The first ad for dishwashers that appeared on television was for dishwashers by Voltbek Home Appliances Private Limited - a JV between the Indian AC brand Voltas and European consumer durables company Arçelik. The digital video commercial (DVC) showcased a new range of dishwashers, and how they can be used during lockdown.

The video, conceptualised by Wunderman Thompson, showcases another reality of lockdown – a group of friends on a video call, ranting about their professional workload, husbands and housework.

India’s first ad for a dishwasher was not well received among the audience. Though the ad seems to stand for a world where housework is divided equally, it’s the slogan at the end that makes the messaging seem regressive.

Also Read: Dishwasher ad gets flak; does copywriting need 'woke' filters?

The claim is that the product has been ‘Tested by real moms’, which is an indirect implication that a ‘real mom’ is the one who’s the most concerned about household duties, such as washing dishes and housework. Besides the slogan, it’s also the absence of men in the ad, beyond the scripted conversation, that seems to have rankled netizens.

Later in August, German conglomerate Bosch launched a series of digital ad films for its dishwasher. Indian consumers previously considered the products a ‘luxury’, but now, circumstances have increased demand for dishwashers.

The ads highlight that the appliance uses water at 70 degree Celsius, ensuring 99 per cent germ-free utensils, the brand has also covered the most important aspects of marketing/advertising in times of Corona – ‘hygiene’ and ‘immunity’.

Also Read: Bosch out with 6 dishwasher spots with husbands, wives, maids, in-laws…

The ads, notably place men in the kitchen (and, of course, the mother-in-law). It appears the brand was trying to be sensitive to the feedback that Voltas Beko received on its campaign - 'Word of Mom!'.

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