Prachi Srivastava

Godrej Aer: Dogs, Pigeons And Trees Persuade Humans

Through a digital campaign launched on National Pollution Control Day, Godrej Aer urges people to #ChangeTheAir by renewing the PUC certificates of their smoke-spewing vehicles. The brand gets Mother Nature herself to convey the eco-friendly message.

Ever wonder what dogs, pigeon, and trees would say if they could talk to us? No, it's not a trick question. It's the thought Creativeland Asia's new ad campaign for Godrej Aer, marketer of home and car fragrances, is based on.

Godrej Aer: Dogs, Pigeons And Trees Persuade Humans
Godrej Aer: Dogs, Pigeons And Trees Persuade Humans
Godrej Aer: Dogs, Pigeons And Trees Persuade Humans
Godrej Aer: Dogs, Pigeons And Trees Persuade Humans
Godrej Aer: Dogs, Pigeons And Trees Persuade Humans
The objective is to get people to renew the Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates of their vehicles, on time, and not wait till their cars start emitting dangerous fumes. The brand has also created a hashtag #ChangeTheAir to this end.

Launched on National Pollution Control Day (December 2), the digital campaign includes three films that are essentially monologues of a dog, a pigeon and a tree. Each 'character' reprimands us humans for polluting their air with our toxic car fumes. They urge us to behave more responsibly. And these aren't requests; the tone of all three characters is of the 'Do it, or else', kind.

In one film, a tree talks about how hard he and his fellow trees work to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, and warns humans that if they don't renew their PUC certificates on time, he'll fling heavy branches on their cars. No points for guessing what the pigeon - a rather stylish, sophisticated one, we must add - threatens to do to penalise irresponsible humans. The third film is from the point of view of a dog named Pinto who lets us in on why dogs really chase cars - it is a reaction to the pollution they emit, it turns out.

The films have been produced by Supari Studios.

Godrej Aer: Dogs, Pigeons And Trees Persuade Humans
Godrej Aer: Dogs, Pigeons And Trees Persuade Humans
Interestingly, it is only towards the fag end of the films that the brand makes its presence felt. That's when the super on the screen reads - 'Just like Aer can change the air inside your car, you can change the air outside.' Godrej Aer is no stranger to communication of this kind. Recall the brand's #

campaign released around April last year? The campaign was about the social message, and not about Aer's product benefits.

Following the success of its anti-smoking campaign, the Godrej decided to further its efforts to make Aer relevant to people, beyond the functional aspect of freshening up the air inside their homes and cars. Sunil Kataria, chief operating officer, sales and marketing, SAARC, Godrej, says, "This time around, the objective was to create awareness around air pollution among the citizens of India, through an integrated marketing campaign."

The link, between the brand and the whole "cleaning, purifying and freshening of air around us" bit, is a strong one, he points out, insisting that brands craft CSR campaigns to facilitate a positive change in society, "not necessarily for the purpose of monetary or business returns."

Will the absence of human beings in the films hamper the engagement level of the campaign? Anu Joseph, executive creative director, Creativeland Asia, answers, "Given the novelty of execution, we think the interest level should be greater. The quirks, jokes nuances, and overall sincerity, we are hoping, will do the trick."

The shoot, we learn, was a challenging one that took three days to complete. "We had to patiently wait for the dog and the pigeon to move the right way. The trees, fortunately, behaved," smiles Joseph.

Media Mix

The message is being promoted across relevant consumer touchpoints like aircrafts, gyms, corporate parks, petrol pumps, modern trade, and car accessory outlets. Interestingly, Godrej Aer is conducting "olfactory (that is smell-based) marketing initiatives" to drive the message home. This reminds us of the time (September 2012) the brand advertised in Bombay Times ( by surprising readers with a fragrant newspaper.

The brand team will also tie up with six PUC vans, one each in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, and set up kiosks to create awareness around the importance of regular PUC checks.

Other initiatives include a PUC-reminder SMS service and a special microsite for car owners aimed at facilitating timely PUC renewals. On the site, a car owner is required to submit information about the vehicle (date of purchase, date on which the previous PUC renewal was done, and a valid phone number) in order to receive timely reminders.

What's more, for every 10 missed calls consumers place to the number 7878784040, Godrej Aer will plant a tree!

A Purifying Effort?

Godrej Aer: Dogs, Pigeons And Trees Persuade Humans
Godrej Aer: Dogs, Pigeons And Trees Persuade Humans
According to Chraneeta Mann, national creative director (regional), Rediffusion-Y&R, any brand worth its salt ought to have an agenda that goes beyond just selling products.

Brands, she believes, "should have a distinct viewpoint... a stance regarding the world we live in." Godrej Aer's commercials, she says, "are beautifully timed in terms of topicality. They stand out amid the current clutter of ads. The execution is engaging and broad-based."

The use of animals and trees, Mann adds, is "refreshingly different," and works better than "the regular, moral policing kind of communication," that typically accompanies such CSR-led initiatives.

To Punit Malhotra, director, Offroad Films, an ad film production house, the campaign is "unique" and "out of the box".

"Sure, they could have pushed the envelope a little more," he says, but adds that considering the 'limiting conditions' the team had to make do with - we suspect he's referring to the 'actors' - the films are well-directed.

"I love the simplicity, and the little nuances, of the films. I also like the way they come to the point within the first few seconds," says Malhotra.