Ashwini Gangal

Kansai Nerolac Paints: Move over beauty; hello eco-friendliness

Shifting focus from cosmetic propositions such as texture and sheen, the new campaign for Kansai Nerolac repositions the brand as an eco-friendly, 'healthy' paint

Kansai Nerolac, a paint brand that has been active on the advertising circuit for quite some time, has rolled out a fresh ad campaign featuring new brand ambassador, actor Shah Rukh Khan. The campaign, which broke around two weeks back, moves beyond the proposition of mere aesthetics and highlights paint-related environmental issues.

Kansai Nerolac Paints: Move over beauty; hello eco-friendliness
It may be recalled that the most recent commercial messages from the brand include the TVCs for Nerolac Impressions. One film featured actor Kay Kay Menon, and another featured actress Mona Singh. The films put forth the 'eco clean' brand proposition of Nerolac and positioned it as a paint that emitted no smell. McCann Erickson had created those ads for the brand.

The current campaign has been created by Publicis Ambience. The agency is now looking to bring uniformity into the ads for this brand, efforts for which are apparent in the two films already on-air -- one brand commercial and one product commercial -- both featuring Khan. The latter also features a pregnant lady, serving to emphasise the paint's non-toxic, 'safe' nature.

Kansai Nerolac Paints: Move over beauty; hello eco-friendliness
Kansai Nerolac Paints: Move over beauty; hello eco-friendliness
The campaign marks a change in the brand's famous song, 'Jab Ghar Ki Raunak Badhani Ho, Deewaron Ko Jab Sajana Ho - Nerolac'. The word 'Deewaron' has been replaced and the line is now 'Duniya Ko Jab Sajana Ho'. The trademark tune of the song, that Ashish Khazanchi, national creative director, Publicis Ambience claims "has a lot of equity", has been retained in this campaign, but "has been given a contemporary twist". This modification is part of the attempt to reposition the brand as one that is mindful of the environment.

"Kansai Nerolac is going through a revolutionary shift -- the product is not just about colours on the wall. They have upped their technology significantly and are manufacturing eco-friendly paints," informs Khazanchi.

The company is using top-notch technology to manufacture low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), lead-free paints, which help enhance the in-home environment. "The market today is ready for much more than aesthetics when it comes to paints; people are ready for more, including 'health of walls'," he adds.

The brand commercial, set in the middle of a busy street, starts with a man spitting crimson 'paan' onto a wall. Khan, sitting on a bench nearby, witnesses this act. His VO says, "Waqt aa gaya hai milke duniya ko badalne ka". After this, he and numerous children dressed in school uniforms run all around the area, jumping effortlessly over obstacles, splashing the walls and homes of the entire neighbourhood with gallons of colourful paint.

Fast-forward shots of buildings with scaffoldings being painted by scores of people are shown; and at one point, Khan is seen entering a home and dancing gracefully with an elderly lady, while the background is a rapidly changing, paint-laden one.

At this point, the VO says, "Nerolac pesh karte hain healthy home paints". The film ends with Khan saying "Nerolac -- kuchh change karein, chalo paint karein".

This brand commercial was shot over a span of four days at Ramoji Filmcity, Hyderabad. The film has been directed by Uzer Khan and the Director of Photography (DoP) is Ravi K. The production house is 30 Seconds of Fame.

Regarding the presence of school children in the film, Sohini Dasgupta, executive creative director, Publicis Ambience tells afaqs! that the use of kids provides a futuristic angle. It's part of a subconscious message in the ad; as today, kids are very aware about environmental issues.

With respect to the visual of the man spitting on the wall and its connection with the brand's message of using environment-friendly paints, Dasgupta explains, "That was done to provide a cinematic cue for things to 'start off' in the ad; after that scene, the ad picks up speed and gets going."

Explaining the evident shift in the band's positioning, she says, "The paints category is very beauty-led. Habit-change is the gain we've tried to put in. It's beyond just trying to beautify the environment -- it goes deeper into health and environmental issues."

While many more TVCs are on the cards, other media channels being put into motion for this campaign include outdoor, print and the retail space.

Does the campaign paint the town red?

The campaign has received both appreciation as well as criticism from industry experts.

Kansai Nerolac Paints: Move over beauty; hello eco-friendliness
Kansai Nerolac Paints: Move over beauty; hello eco-friendliness
Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, national creative director, Bates 141 finds the advertisement charming. "The film with Shah Rukh and all the school kids is very nice, as it has a proper storyline. Moreover, it carries with it an important social message of keeping the environment pure and clean, which is good. The execution is also nice and holds one's attention."

He adds that though this film is well done, the recent series of Asian Paints ads created by Ogilvy India was more impactful.

With respect to whether the eco-friendly, non-toxic positioning works for paint, a category that stresses on beautification, Mahabaleshwarkar says, "In general, this whole trend of conveying a social message is considered fashionable and is a bit overdone. However, in the paint category, the positioning tends to work. We all know how getting our house painted can be a horrible experience -- you have to stay in one room till the entire house is painted -- so the non-toxic angle works for a product like paint."

Rajeev Raja, national creative director, DDB Mudra Group thinks the creativity quotient of the ad is "less than average" as "it doesn't seem to have a strong idea, nor is the execution entirely original".

While he feels the positioning is fine and works for the paint category -- since environmental consciousness is beginning to take root in today's times -- he doesn't think the message comes through loud and clear.

"It seems muddled and hazy," he says, adding that the similarity between the Nerolac film and another two-minute global film -- shot in Brazil, France, London and India -- by paint brand Dulux (Click here to view the film) is too much to be a mere coincidence.

The Dulux film, part of an initiative called 'Let's Colour', shows similar fast-forward shots of a bunch of people painting the entire neighbourhood and transforming it into a colourful delight.

Raja asserts, "There are instances of genuine creative coincidences, but this seems too close for comfort. The Dulux exhortation of 'Let's Colour' seems to be Shah Rukh's message too; even the execution is exactly the same. It almost seems like the Dulux commercial got somebody to sit up and say 'Hey, that's a cool place to be. Let's do the same thing for India; after all Dulux will never run the commercial in India'."

He adds that if the communication were true to the Nerolac brand and attempted to create a tone and personality that was uniquely its own, the impact could have been much more. "As a result of mixing and matching elements from another brand's communication, the spot lacks conviction and clarity in expressing the new position of 'healthy home paints'", he says.

However, Dasgupta good-naturedly refutes the allegation, saying, "This is more of an execution similarity, as both videos -- Dulux and Nerolac -- show 'time-lapse' painting. Nerolac, however, delves much deeper and speaks about creating a healthy environment."

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