Watch this two and a half minute-long film - the result of an interesting association between these three entities.
Tropicana, the packaged juice brand from the stables of PepsiCo, has recently launched a digital film ‘The Man Who Planted a Forest’. The brief was shared by Tropicana with Mindshare Content+ and the agency brought partners on board that includes 101 India, the digital content company which made this branded content film and 98.3 FM (renamed ‘98.Tree’ for two days) for the #GiftATree campaign.
The film pays a tribute to Padma Shri Awardee Jadav Molai Payeng, also known as the ‘forest man of India’. The inspiring film traces his journey from 1979, when, at the young age of 16, he started planting one sapling a day in the middle of a barren wasteland in Assam. Through his efforts, he has raised an entire forest in over three decades. Shot on location, the film captures the vast 1,360-acre Molai forest located near Kokilamukh of Jorhat, Assam and is named after the ‘forest man’ himself.
It’s only at the end of the film that one would notice the Tropicana logo that appears. We asked Vineet Sharma, brand manager, Tropicana, if it worried him about people not noticing the brand logo since it comes right at the end. He says, “This is just one activity that we have done. We had also partnered with Radio Mirchi to bring alive the thought and the purpose here was more important. The idea was how to build a property around planting more trees over a period of time.”
Brand Tropicana, in general, has nothing to do with trees, as such. We asked Cyrus Oshidar, MD and CCO, 101 India if that was a worry or a challenge for him while making this film. He says, “At the end of the day, you need to find a core that works for your brand. I think there is a certain limitation to being literal. The whole advantage of branded content is that you create stories that fits with the brand first, but not for an ad. An ad film is a 30-second piece of communication where the client wants to say exactly what it wants about the product. A branded content piece, for my money, has to be a story which, in some way, is the best and there are many examples of how direct or indirect it can be.”
He adds, “We (101 India) seem to have a more indirect approach where there are less ads and more content and there is certain believability and that has tremendous value in this jaded communication chain of messaging. It works for Tropicana and it is linked to what they want to do which is #GiftATree, a CSR objective that they had.”
Adding about Mindshare’s role, Oshidar says, “Mindshare came to us with the idea about this man who has built a forest and we liked the idea and decided to do a small inspiring branded content piece on a man who has done something inspiring. It worked very well.”
Commenting on this association, Devendra Deshpande, head, Content+, Mindshare, says in a release, “Trees are as integral to earth as fingers are to a hand. Cutting down a tree in a forest is like cutting off a finger of a hand. Giving back to Mother Nature has always been a core fundamental of our organisation and we hope this campaign reaches a large number of people and encourages them towards this cause. We at Mindshare Content+ are exceptionally happy and feel privileged to work with Tropicana for a campaign which works towards such a great initiative. ”
This is not an ad but a piece of branded content. We asked our expert, Punit Malhotra, head, Dharma 2.0, an ad production house from the stable of Dharma Productions, what differentiates the two from a direction point of view? As a director, how would you approach a brand film differently (ad with pack shots and product features) to that of branded content?
Malhotra says, “Branded content is highly engaging and subtly allows for getting the message across to the audiences and that is exactly what this piece of content by Tropicana achieves. From the direction point of view of a brand film or such content, it is all about indoor shooting vs. outdoors. Brand films are shot in studios where the director has complete control over the lighting, setting and other elements; this allows for wrapping the shoot up within a day or two. This piece of content, shot in the Molai Forest of Assam, has beautiful picturesque shots and would have required more expertise and strategic planning on the part of the director.”
Adding a little bit about his approach towards brand films as compared to that of branded content, Malhotra says, “My approach towards shooting any piece of content or brand film, is first to stay true to the brand ethos and ensure that the core message shines through; while also being strategic and planning well in advance.”